ACOOG Advocacy Update 
Jodi Benett, DO

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The ACOOG Government Affairs committee had a fabulous weekend at the ACOG-Congressional Leadership Conference (CLC) in Washington, DC,  March 10-12, 2019.   Attendees included the Government Affairs Chair, Dr. Tom Dardarian, Dr. Jodi Benett, Dr. Brandon Reynolds, Ob/Gyn residents Dr. Harika Kantamneni and Dr. Angel Lightner, and ACOOG Executive Director Valerie Bakies Lile.

Congratulations to Dr. Kantamneni for being chosen as Gelhaus Fellow!  It is a great honor to have an osteopathic resident participating in this prestigious health policy fellowship.

The CLC is the annual conference to advocate for women’s health care issues to improve women’s health care nationwide.  The theme of this year’s conference was “ACOG IS ACCESS”.  During the 3 days, there were lectures by US Senators and Representatives and notable individuals emphasizing steps to end preventable maternal mortality and insurance coverage denial.  The keynote lecture was Andy Slavitt, Acting Administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services 2015-2017.

We learned how to access Congress and on the final day of this conference, all attendees set out to speak to the US Senators and Representatives in the state where they live:

ASK 1: END PREVENTABLE MATERNAL DEATHS (pass the MOMIBUS) act.   Thank you to the 115th Congress for passing the Preventing Maternal Deaths Act, December 2018, last year’s ask. However, it is important to continue this legislation, with further bills to insure Medicaid coverage for 12 months postpartum. Each state will have the power to implement Maternal Mortality Review Committees, Perinatal Quality Collaboratives and Participate with Alliance for Innovation on Maternal Health (AIM).

ASK 2: DON’T TURN BACK THE CLOCK ON WOMEN’S HEALTH
Continue the landmark patient protections of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and not give up coverage for preexisting conditions and continue to cover maternity care. Also to oppose short-term, limited duration insurance policies, which do not have the same coverage as plans ACA.

Each delegation asked their congressional members to co-sponsor the bills presented to them, with a discussion of why each bill is important. Many shared stories from their districts about how the above has adversely affected patients.