Advocacy in action

DO Day 2022 participants advocate for loan repayment, telemedicine and stopping Medicare cuts

The osteopathic medical family reunited in person and virtually to advocate for patients and physicians.


During the week of April 23 – 27, 2022, the AOA held its annual DO Day conference, which combined meetings with lawmakers on Capitol Hill with a hybrid health policy conference.

More than 1,000 members of the profession participated in the virtual health policy conference, which highlighted DOs and health policy experts who discussed leadership, advocacy and engagement.

Following this, more than 300 participants from 42 states gathered in Washington, DC, to participate in the in-person advocacy portion of the event and network with affiliates, students, postdoctoral trainees and physicians in practice from their states and across the country. There, they formed delegations to discuss three very important topics with individual legislators and their staff. 

Members of the osteopathic medical profession enjoy DO Day.

The networking

After a formal program introducing attendees to advocacy and legislative meetings, participants attended an awards reception and dinner honoring those who have served the profession through leadership and advocacy. This allowed attendees to mingle and perhaps even create a new mentor/mentee relationship to continue to foster strong advocacy values.

Award recipients included osteopathic students, physicians, staff, affiliates and even Congressional representatives who have championed policies that benefit members of the osteopathic profession and their patients.

The asks

On the last day of the in-person portion of the conference, attendees gathered for a group photo, then trekked down Pennsylvania Ave. toward Capitol Hill. Meetings were scheduled throughout the day, and attendees participated in virtual and in-person meetings with members of Congress and their staff.

DO Day attendees pose for a group photo before heading to Capitol Hill to meet with legislators.

This year’s priority issues included stopping Medicare sequestration, supporting the CONNECT for Health Act (HR 2903/S 1512) and championing the Rural America Health Corps Act (HR 2130/S 924).

The first ask was advocating for Congressional action to prevent the 2% Medicare sequestration cut over the course of the next several months. Though a bill has not yet been drafted to address them, the cuts could result in medical offices being unable to pay for adequate personal protective equipment for staff, expanded technology to meet the demands of telemedicine and other increases in overhead without adequate reimbursement. 

The second issue we discussed was the impact of telemedicine on patients and their families. The DO recently highlighted this issue in depth. In meetings with lawmakers, DO participants focused discussions on HR 2903 and S 1512, the CONNECT for Health Act, which would increase access to care for Medicare beneficiaries by expanding coverage and removing restrictions for telemedicine services on a permanent basis.

DO Day participants meet with Sen. John Boozman (R-Ark.).

Lastly, the third ask involved a bill called the Rural America Health Corps Act (HR 2130 and S 924), which The DO also recently highlighted. The legislation proposes a student loan repayment program for eligible health care professionals, including physicians who agree to work for five years in a rural area deemed to have a shortage of primary, dental or mental health care providers.

Establishment of this program would potentially benefit the osteopathic profession by providing physicians with opportunities to decrease their education debt burden and improve access to care.

The successes

After an outstanding DO Day, the AOA was proud to announce that the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a resolution designating April 18-24 as National Osteopathic Medicine (NOM) Week. Its passage was largely based on the leadership of Senators Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), who sponsored the resolution in an effort to highlight the significant role that osteopathic medical students and physicians play in the nation’s health care system.

Do you know if your senator was a cosponsor?  Check out this list of cosponsors of the NOM Week resolution.

All in all, this was a very successful DO Day and it was great to see so many in the osteopathic family reunited in person to advocate for the profession and our patients! To keep the momentum going, don’t forget that you can continue to take action on important issues via the Osteopathic Advocacy Network.

Editor’s note: The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views of The DO or the AOA.

Related reading:

Bill addresses rural health care access and physicians’ medical school debt

CONNECTions for all: Expanding coverage for telemedicine beyond COVID

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