May 10, 2011 – Thirty Society of Nuclear Medicine (SNM) members visited Capitol Hill on ar IMay 2 to meet with congressional offices on a variety of issues facing the nuclear medicine and molecular imaging community. Forty-eight meetings were held with staff members from key congressional committees and from the local districts of the SNM members.
"Going to Capitol Hill has a profound impact on how members of Congress view the issues," said Robert Atcher, MBA, Ph.D., chair of SNM's Commission on Government Affairs. "According to the Congressional Management Foundation, a visit from a local constituent has a 99 percent rating for ability to influence a member of Congress who has not already arrived at a firm decision on an issue. That's what we hoped to accomplish in our visits to the Hill this week." He continued, "We also encourage everyone who participated, as well as those who could not, to contact their representatives' and senators' offices in their districts or state to reinforce the message regarding the value of nuclear medicine."
In their meetings with congressional staff members, SNM members shared background information on nuclear medicine and molecular imaging. Explaining that most people have a friend or family member who has benefited from nuclear and molecular imaging procedures, they also presented an overview of SNM and the work of the society.
After setting the stage, SNM advocates focused on four specific issues facing the field. Members of Congress were asked to support $15.4 million in funding for nuclear medicine research in the fiscal year (FY) 2011 Department of Energy (DOE) Budget and the FY 2012 Energy and Water Appropriations bill. In addition, they were asked to support the Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency (CARE) Act and the American Medical Isotopes Production Act of 2011, as well as to ensure adequate and appropriate reimbursement for radiopharmaceuticals.
"As a first-time advocate, going up to Capitol Hill and being a part of the political process was a really wonderful experience. Having made a connection with the office of my local congressional representative, I plan to stay in touch and continue to advocate for nuclear medicine and molecular imaging," said Michelle Falance, CNMT, a technologist at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital.
SNM members unable to attend the society's Capitol Hill Day can still make a difference. "We are always looking to grow our network of grassroots support; a letter or a phone call from a constituent can go a long way in the political process," said Sue Bunning, SNM director of health policy and regulatory affairs. Those looking to get involved should e-mail [email protected] for more information.
For more information: www.snm.org