Another Hill Day is coming – the all-day advocacy event on Capitol Hill is scheduled in conjunction with the Society of Hospital Medicine’s Annual Conference whenever it is held in Washington, DC. In 2019, Hill Day will take place on March 27, the final day of HM19.
This will be the fourth Hill Day, and the last for some time, said Ron Greeno, MD, FCCP, MHM, senior advisor for government affairs at SHM and the society’s immediate past president. For at least the next 5 years, SHM’s annual conferences won’t be held in Washington, so there will not be any opportunities to plan a Hill Day during that time. “Members may want to take advantage of this opportunity,” Dr. Greeno said. “The people who do this never forget it.”
How Hill Day works
Sign up for Hill Day and you’ll spend a day visiting legislators and their health care staffers to educate them on what hospital medicine is, what a hospitalist does, and some of the pressing issues that affect the profession, said Joshua Lenchus, DO, RPh, FACP, SFHM, chair of the SHM Public Policy Committee. “We try to leverage participants’ work and home addresses to pair them up with legislators from that area. Some hospitalists have personal or professional relationships with some of the legislators, and even if they’re not in their area, we’ll try to leverage that. And for people who have expertise in a particular topic, we try to arrange an audience with a member of Congress who may be promoting or sponsoring a bill related to that.”
Hill Day volunteers will attend an orientation to learn more about what the day will look like and what they’ll be talking about in their meetings. “We’ll only have time to cover one or two issues, and we’re in the process now of choosing the issues we want to address. We orient participants on those subjects so everybody is kind of saying the same thing,” Dr. Greeno said. “People shouldn’t be afraid of not being conversant with the issues because we do sufficient orientation that everybody gets comfortable enough to do a good job.”
Registration for Hill Day is happening online now. HM19 attendees can register at https://s1.goeshow.com/shm/annual/2019/registration_form.cfm.
“We beg people: If you sign up, show up, because we have many more people trying to participate than we can accommodate,” Dr. Greeno said. “If you change your mind, that’s fine because we have a waiting list, but please let us know because somebody else wants to take your place.”
The purpose of Hill Day
Educating legislators and their health care staff is the goal of the day, and it’s an important job. “Hospital medicine is still a relatively new field,” Dr. Lenchus said. “There are a fair number of legislators who still don’t know what a hospitalist is or what hospital medicine is. Part of our visits is always to educate them about what we do and what our impact is on the health care landscape of the country.” He added that educating Hill staff about the most pressing issues is another primary goal.