This week, February 22-28, has officially been declared Family Medicine Week by the House of Representatives–with 32 cosponsors, House Resolution 18 was adopted, and reads, "We support a robust, primary-care based health care system and recognize the key role Family Physicians play in making Michigan healthy." Read the full resolution here.
To kick the week off, nearly 100 Family Physicians, residents and students traveled to Lansing for the Michigan Family Medicine Advocacy Day, which was a joint event sponsored by MAFP and the Michigan Association of Osteopathic Family Physicians (MAOFP). The busy day offered a unique opportunity for advocates of Family Medicine to visit with lawmakers and educate them on the current challenges facing both practicing and aspiring Family Physicians.
Advocacy Day Recap
Michigan Family Medicine Advocacy Day opened with remarks from MAFP CEO Debra McGuire, MAFP President Dr. Tina Tanner (Hesperia), and MAOFP President Dr. Tom Reeths (Flint). During their remarks, each touched on important reasons why advocacy is essential to both the current and future impact of the specialty. Dr. Robert Reneker (Wyoming), former chair of the Family Medicine Political Action Committee (FMPAC), followed up with brief remarks about the role of FMPAC in demonstrating to lawmakers that Family Physicians are “serious,” and he encouraged interested parties to contribute. Advocates were then prepped for their legislative visits with a seminar on advocacy best practices and a review of key issues and talking points. Led by Dr. Tanner and Dr. Loretta Leja (Cheboygan), the best practices session highlighted lessons from their respective past experiences in advocacy with emphasis on the importance of making hometown connections beyond Advocacy Day, whether that be meeting lawmakers in coffee shops or getting their ear at the grocery store.
Christin Nohner, MAFP Director of Government Affairs and Tabitha Zimny from Karoub Associates covered logistics, talking points and messaging to ensure consistency and uniformity throughout the meetings. Topics covered during the legislative visits included Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) scope of practice legislation and team-based care, primary care loan forgiveness, Graduate Medical Education (GME), and the Medicaid Primary Care Fee Uplift.
Participants took part in a number of House visits in the morning and Senate visits in the afternoon. Between the visits, MAFP and MAOFP hosted a ‘Lunch with Legislators’ at Troppo where participants were given additional opportunities to meet and mingle with lawmakers over warm soup and sandwiches.
Despite the freezing temperatures, participants were enthusiastic about the opportunity to make connections with new lawmakers and/or reaffirm existing relationships with returning lawmakers; all in an effort to get the word out that many of the challenges we face in health care today can, in part, be addressed by Family Physicians. We hope even more devoted advocates will join us next year!