AHIMA Advocacy Summit 2021 Summary
Submitted by: Sheila Green-Shook, MHA, RHIA, CHP, FAHIMA, Director of Advocacy for WSHIMA
On May 17 and 18, 2021, AHIMA hosted the 2021 Advocacy Summit virtually. This is an event that usually happens in person in Washington DC in March, but due to the pandemic, the Summit was cancelled in 2020 and this year held virtually. There were four attendees from WSHIMA is year:
- Judi Hofman, BCRT, CHPS, CHP, CHSS, President, WSHIMA
- Cynthia Kelly, RHIT, WSHIMA member (previous President of WSHIMA)
- Debi Primeau, MA, RHIA, FAHIMA, WSHIMA member
- Sheila Green-Shook, MHA, RHIA, CHP, FAHIMA, Director of Advocacy, WSHIMA
Please see the link below to view the Summit’s two day agenda, which was filled with great speakers and an abundance of information. In addition to the educational sessions at the Summit, AHIMA reaches out and schedules meetings with State Senators and Congressional Representative for the area in which the participant lives. In preparation, AHIMA creates summary documents for ‘talking points’ for us to discuss in our group/individual meetings.
This year, there were three bills to discuss:
- HR 366 – Protecting Access to Post-COVID-19 Telehealth Act of 2021
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- S 674 – Public Health Infrastructure Saves Lives Act (this bill is Sponsored by Senator Patty Murray of Washington State)
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- S104/HR 379 – The Improving Social Determinants of Health Act of 2021
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The four of us were supposed to meet with Thomas Eagan, a staffer in Senator Cantwell’s office, but at the last minute, he was unavailable so discussed each of these bills with his alternate, Kevin Chang. AHIMA’s ask is that Senator Cantwell support and co-sponsor these bills. We reminded Kevin that Senator Murray Sponsored S 674 bill. We also offered if there were questions on these or any other healthcare related bills to please reach out as we are more than happy to serve as a resource. At the conclusion of our meeting, I e-mailed Thomas a thank you note and links to the three bills AHIMA is asking for support or co-sponsorship
Unfortunately, we were not able to meet with Senator Murray’s office this year.
Since each of us live in a different area, we were able to meet with four of our Representatives for the State of Washington and each participant has summarized their meeting.
Judi Hofman – Representative Meeting Summary
Judi spoke with Rep. Derek Kilmer from the 6th District in Washington. Rep. Kilmer was very happy to discuss the healthcare issues affecting the residents in his district. Each of the three bills that AHIMA selected to support were discussed, HR 366 Protecting Access to Post COVID-19 Telehealth Act of 2021, S 104/HR 379, Improving Social Determinants and S 674 Public Health Infrastructure Saves Lives Act. Rep. Kilmer reviewed the documentation that had been sent from AHIMA and was aware of each of these Bills prior to our discussion. He agreed to support each of these Bills and will have a further discussion of his support with Senator Patty Murray and Sen. Maria Cantwell. Rep. Kilmer encouraged members of WSHIMA to reach out any time if there are healthcare issues needing his support.
Cynthia Kelly – Representative Meeting Summary
Cynthia met with Representative Kim Schrier. Also in attendance were Legislative Aid, Alicia Bissonnette and AHIMA representative Sue Bowman. Rep Schrier, who represents Washington’s 8th District, was aware that several bills regarding Telehealth have been presented. She had not heard about HR 366 – Protecting Access to Post COVID-19 Telehealth Act of 2021. She stated that she was looking for something that would suggest continuing Telehealth with some guardrails. She wants to assure that patients see a physician when appropriate. We discussed HR 366 and she is going to consider backing it.
She was not aware of Senate Bill 674, Public Health Infrastructure Saves Lives Act that is sponsored by Senator Patty Murray. Sue learned later that this bill was only introduced recently. There has been no movement on that bill in the Senate yet. Rep Schrier, was very interested in the bill and stated that she usually supports Patty Murray. She may decide to sponsor the bill in the House.
We discussed HR 379, Improving Social Determinants of Health Act of 2021 but she showed no interest in that legislation.
Rep Schrier was aware of AHIMA and also has worked with Kittitas Valley Healthcare in the past. She knew the CEO, Julie Petersen. It was a pleasant call and I have hopes of good support coming from her. I sent an email of Thanks to Alicia Bissonnette. I also sent the materials about all three bills. I stated I am available should they need any further information.
FYI: Rep Schrier is a Pediatrician so she is very interested in healthcare legislation. She has been working to give increase vaccine access to children.
Debi Primeau – Representative Meeting Summary
Debi spoke with Kyle Hill, the Legislative Aid for Congresswoman Suzan DelBene who represents Washington’s 1st District. Kyle stated that Rep. DelBene is very active in health legislation and is aware of the two bills we discussed, HR 366 Protecting Access to Post COVID-19 Telehealth Act of 2021 and HR 379, Improving Social Determinants of Health Act of 2021. She is aware of Senate Bill 674, Public Health Infrastructure Saves Lives Act that is sponsored by Senator Patty Murray, however, since this is a senate bill, she is not able to sponsor this further.
Kyle was very engaged and asked excellent questions and expressed that Representative DelBene will be supportive of AHIMA’s position. He also stated that he was very familiar with AHIMA and appreciated all the support the AHIMA staff provided when they sought health information resources in 2019. This call was very positive, and I followed up with Kyle and Representative DelBene thanking them for their time and attention.
Sheila Green-Shook – Representative Meeting Summary
Sheila spoke with Samuel Wilcoxson, Legislative Assistant to Rick Larsen, who is the Representative for Washington’s 2nd Congressional district. Samuel was very engaged, particularly in understanding more about the telehealth bill. He was familiar with the other two bills discussed and did share that Rep Larsen may not sponsor the Public Health Infrastructure bill since he serves on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee which is his priority at this time. Samuel did say Rep Larsen is familiar with the Improving Social Determinants of Health Act of 2021 and would consider supporting. Samuel is interested in learning more about telehealth and asked if I would send him information specific to telehealth that I think is important for him to review. At the conclusion of our meeting, I e-mailed him a thank you note and links to the three bills AHIMA is asking for support or co-sponsorship.
Although meeting virtually is different than meeting in person, as someone who has attended Hill Day in DC, my feet did not miss the walking all over the hill in dress shoes!
Once again, the 2021 AHIMA Advocacy Summit was a great experience and look forward to having on going communication with our State leaders.