National Advocacy Day Attendee Helps Secure New Congressional Supporter

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National Advocacy Day Attendee Helps Secure New Congressional Supporter

South Carolina representative joins the Outpatient Surgery Quality and Access Act as a cosponsor after meeting with the COO of Carolina Interventional Pain Institute

Jennifer Hodge

Jennifer Hodge

Jennifer Hodge, chief operating officer at Carolina Interventional Pain Institute in Columbia, South Carolina, recently traveled to Washington, DC, to participate in National Advocacy Day and met with Representative Joe Wilson (R-SC). Wilson joined the Outpatient Surgery Quality and Access Act of 2023 (H.R. 972/S. 312) as a cosponsor immediately after the meeting.

From February 26–28, 76 participants representing 28 states met with 161 members of Congress and their staff to advocate for the ASC community and discuss the importance of supporting the Outpatient Surgery Quality and Access Act of 2023.

Hodge received a National Advocacy Day Scholarship, which helped offset the rising cost of travel to attend the event. Below is an excerpt from an interview.

Q: What made you decide to come to Washington, DC, to advocate for the ASC community?

Jennifer Hodge (JH): This was my first time attending National Advocacy Day. I participated in the inaugural ASC Administrator Development Program, which proved instrumental in facilitating connections that directly linked me to advocacy efforts. As a result, I became aware of the significant impact of large out-of-pocket copays on my center's patients. This insight motivated me to attend this year's event, particularly to lend my support to the copay cap provision currently under consideration in the legislation.

Q: Tell me about your experience participating in National Advocacy Day.

JH: As an advocate, participating in National Advocacy Day was an incredibly empowering and rewarding experience. It provided a unique opportunity to directly engage with policymakers and advocate for important issues that are close to my heart.

Throughout the day, I had the privilege of meeting with congressional offices to discuss key legislative initiatives and policy proposals. These meetings allowed me to share personal stories, provide data and research, and convey the perspectives of those affected by the issues at hand.

Overall, National Advocacy Day was a powerful reminder of the importance of civic engagement and the impact that individuals can have when they come together to advocate for positive change. It was an inspiring experience that left me feeling motivated and hopeful about the future.

Q: What did you discuss in your meetings?

JH: During our meetings, we delved into real-life patient scenarios, comparing the costs associated with outpatient care at hospitals versus ASCs. We examined specific data points, including infection rates, operational efficiency and staffing levels at our ASCs. These discussions provided concrete evidence of the benefits of ASCs, shedding light on their ability to deliver high-quality care at a fair cost while maintaining stringent safety standards.

Q: You met with the office of Representative Joe Wilson (R-SC), who recently joined the Outpatient Surgery Quality and Access Act of 2023 as a cosponsor. To you, what is the importance of advocacy?

JH: Advocacy plays a crucial role in our democratic process by giving individuals a voice to influence policies and decisions that affect their lives and communities. Meeting with congressional offices, such as Representative Joe Wilson's, allows us to directly engage with lawmakers, educate them on important issues and advocate for legislative changes that can positively impact healthcare and access to essential services.

Representative Wilson's decision to join the Outpatient Surgery Quality and Access Act of 2023 as a cosponsor demonstrates the tangible impact of advocacy efforts. By voicing our concerns and providing lawmakers with information and perspectives, we can effectively shape legislation and policies that address the needs of patients, healthcare providers and communities.

In essence, advocacy empowers individuals and organizations to be proactive agents of change, ensuring that our voices are heard and our priorities are reflected in the decisions made by our elected representatives.

Q: What is one thing you wish all lawmakers knew about surgery centers?

JH: One thing I wish all lawmakers knew about surgery centers is their vital role in providing efficient, high-quality and cost-effective healthcare services to patients. Surgery centers offer a safe and convenient alternative to traditional hospital settings for a wide range of surgical procedures, including outpatient surgeries and minimally invasive treatments.

Lawmakers should understand that surgery centers contribute to reducing healthcare costs by performing procedures at lower rates compared to hospitals, while maintaining rigorous standards of care and patient safety. Additionally, these facilities often provide a more personalized and comfortable experience for patients, leading to higher levels of patient satisfaction.

Recognizing the value of surgery centers and supporting policies that promote their growth and accessibility can help improve healthcare outcomes, increase patient access to care and alleviate the burden on the broader healthcare system.

Write Maia Kunkel, ASCA’s Government Affairs manager, with questions.