AAPI's Legislative Day and Reception on Capitol Hill on March 26th-27th
Article ID: 614549
Released: 4-Mar-2014 10:00 AM EST
Source Newsroom: American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI)
To Be Addressed By Dozens of Key US Lawmakers
Conference will discuss Medicare SGR, Immigration Reform, Combating Obesity, Implementation of Affordable Care and growing US-India Relations
Newswise — (Washington, DC: March 1st, 2014) Healthcare continues to be at the center of the national debate, especially after the start of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, which affects almost everyone in the country. Association of American Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI), the largest ethnic organization of physicians, representing over 100,000 physicians of Indian origin, wants to make their voices heard on Capitol Hill and around the nation, particularly on issues relating to healthcare. .
Indian-Americans constitute less than one percent of the country’s population, but they account for nine percent of the American doctors and physicians. One out of every seven doctors serving in the US is of Indian heritage, providing medical care to over 40 million of US population.
Continuing with its mission and objective, AAPI is organizing its annual Legislative Day on March 26th and 27th at the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, DC. With participation from dozens of key Congressmen and Senators, the event will be a unique opportunity for AAPI to be part of the decision making process on matters related to healthcare,
“AAPI has been seeking to collectively shape the best health care for the people of US, with the physician at the helm, caring for the medically underserved as we have done for several decades when physicians of Indian origin came to the US in larger numbers,” says Dr. Jayesh Shah, president of AAPI. During the annual Legislative Conference, among others, AAPI will “focus on Medicare SGR, Immigration reform, Combating Obesity, Implementation Affordable Care and of course on growing US India relations.”
“AAPI is once again in the forefront in bringing many burning health care issues facing the community at large and bringing this to the Capitol and to the US Congress,” says Sampat Shivangi, Co-chair of AAPI Legislative Affairs Committee. “AAPI is proud to announce its third Legislative event for the year. Referring to the two highly successful events organized by AAPI in the past six months on the Capitol Hill, especially AAPI’s efforts to reach out to US Senators in support of Surgeon General Nominee of President Obama, Dr. Vivek Murthy, Dr. Shivangi, a vetran AAPI states, “Our meeting were very well receive, which had a positive effect in his confirmation hearings earlier last month.” Dr. Shivangi adds. Dr. Shivangi urged AAPI colleagues and everyone interested in or connected with providing health care to attend this event.”
Among the many timely and relevant issues, the event addresses, Dr. Harbhajan Ajrawat, Chair of AAPI Legislative Affairs Committee, says, “AAPI supports Congress providing a permanent fix to the Medicare sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula.”. Referring to the temporary Bill passed in January 2013 by the US Congress, averting a 26.5 percent cut, which expires in 2014, Dr. Ajrawat says, “For more than a decade, Congress has delayed passing a permanent fix. Without such a fix, physicians’ reimbursements will be cut by nearly 27 percent next year, detrimentally affecting physicians’ ability to provide critical health care to patients.” He appealed to Congress to fix the Medicare SGR formula without cuts to physicians’ reimbursements giving certainty to the Medicare system. “AAPI supports the bipartisan “Medicare Physician Payment Innovation Act of 2013,” (H.R. 574) which would bring certainty to the reimbursement system,” he adds.
Among the many US lawmakers who have confirmed their participation addressing the AAPI delegates during the conference on March 27th are: U.S. Congressmen Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman – House Foreign Affairs Committee; Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Ranking member – Health Subcommittee, House Energy and Commerce Committee; Rep. Joe Crowley (D-NY), Co-chairman – Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans; Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL), Co-chairman – Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans; and Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Ranking member, Immigration Subcommittee and House Judiciary Committee. The conference will begin at 9 am on Thursday, March 27th at 2168 Rayburn Bldg.
The Indian Buffet Reception on Capitol Hill on March 26th will be addressed by: Rep. Alan Nunnelee (R-MS); Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA); Rep. Tom Price, MD (R-GA); Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ); Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD); Rep. Phil Gingrey, MD (R-GA); Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA); Rep. Joe Heck, DO (R-NV); Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL); Rep. Gregg Harper (R-MS); and Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA).
“The symposium will have a panel discussion on Immigration Reform and ways for AAPI members to be part of the process in the implementation of the health care reform in this country,” adds Dr. Ravi Jahagirdar, President-elect of AAPI. “While medical school enrollment has climbed 2% annually over the past five years through new schools and expansion of existing schools, the number of residency slots funded by Medicare has been capped at about 100,000 since 1997. Increasing GME position will help to address access issues in United States,” Dr. Jahagirdar adds.
As part of comprehensive immigration reform, AAPI has urged the Congress to include international medical graduates also along with international students graduating with degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) being fast-tracked for Green Cards. This proposal enables highly-skilled workers to remain in the United States after receiving their higher education in America. Among the areas where AAPI had sought US lawmakers to support their agenda included increasing 15,000 more Residency Positions.
Dr. Shah refers to AAPI cosigning two coalition letters to Congress on Tuberculosis prevention in December 2013. The first one supported USAID's international TB prevention work and the second one focused on domestic TB prevention by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
Stating that the US is currently experiencing a physician shortage, which will be exacerbated by retiring baby boomers, affecting thousands of patients’ access to a physician, and ultimately the health care they need, AAPI strongly supports the “Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act of 2013, introduced by U.S. Congressman Joe Crowley (D-NY) (H.R. 1180) and U.S. Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) (S. 577), which would provide an additional 15,000 residency positions in Fiscal Years 2015-2019.
Dr. Shah hopes that “AAPI will discover her own potential to be a player in shaping the health of each patient with a focus on health maintenance than disease intervention. To be a player in crafting the delivery of health care in the most efficient manner. To strive for equality in health globally.”
Picture Caption: Dr. Jayesh Shah, President of AAPI and Dr. Shashi Shah, Chair, Board of Trustees, with Congressman Steny Hoyer, a member of the House Democratic leadership, serving as Democratic Whip, during a recent meeting on capitol Hill. Rep. Hoyer, a long-time supporter of the Indian American community, will provide an update on the legislative agenda for the House during AAPI’s Legislative Day Conference this year on March 27th