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(Washington, DC: February 15th, 2015) Healthcare continues to be at the center of the national debate, especially after the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, which affects almost everyone in the country. One out of every seven doctors serving in the US is of Indian heritage, providing medical care to over 40 million in the country. Just as their services to the community in the healthcare arena is very vital, so is the need for due representation, to listen to their voices, expressing their concerns and their needs.
“This is the time of the year when we as Members of AAPI are called upon to participate in the democratic process in our organization, and get a glimpse into the future,” says Dr. Ravi Jahagirdar, President of American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI), the largest ethnic organization of physicians, representing over 100,000 physicians of Indian origin, who wants to make their voices heard on Capitol Hill and around the nation, particularly on issues relating to healthcare.
According to Dr. Jahagirdar, “The combined AAPI Legislative Day and Spring Governing Body will be held in the nation’s capital, Washington, DC from Thursday March 26th through Saturday March 28th, 2015. The venue is the coveted Cannon Caucus Room and the attendance by Senators and Congressmen/Congresswomen is expected to be high. Dr. Sudhir Sekhsaria with his Legislative Committee has arranged a wonderful program along with the local Chapter GWAPI.”
“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 Dr. Sudhir Sekhsaria, Chair of AAPI Legislative Affairs Committee. “AAPI is proud to announce its Legislative Day for the year. Dr. Sekhsaria urges AAPI colleagues and everyone interested in or connected with providing health care to attend this event.”
“The Legislative Day will have panel discussions on topics of importance to AAPI members and how they can be part of the process in the implementation of the health care reform in this country,” adds Dr. Ajeet Singhvi, Chair, BOT. “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 urges 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.
“In our continued goals to reach out to US Congress, our Annual Legislative Conference will focus on burning issues like Medicare SGR, Immigration Reform, Implementation Affordable Care and of course on growing US India relations,” Sampat Shivangi, MD, Co-Chair of AAPI Legislative Affairs Committee, says, and adds, “I invite the AAPI community to be part of this exciting event and share their enthusiasm and experience on various issues which promises to be very exciting event.”
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. Seema Jain, President-Elect of AAPI.
Among the many timely and relevant issues, the event addresses, Dr. Ajay Lodha, Vice President of AAPI, says, “AAPI supports Congress providing a permanent fix to the Medicare sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula.” Dr. Gautam Samadder, Secretary of AAPI, 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.”
AAPI urges the US 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,” Dr. Naresh Parikh, Treasurer of AAPI, adds. AAPI physicians will also communicate to the legislators the burden that CMS has imposed with the Meaningful Use and PQR reporting and the constant and dire threats of reimbursement cuts and penalties,
The historic Legislative Policy Meeting will begin at the prestigious Cannon Caucus Room on Capitol Hill on Thursday, from 1 pm to 4 pm and will conclude with a Reception and Dinner 5:30pm to 8:30 pm.A reception and dinner at the Indian Embassy and meeting with Ambassador will make the day a truly memorable one for all the participants. The Governors of Virginia and Maryland have been invited to attend the reception. Also, expected to attend and address the Legislative Day is Dr. Vivek Murthy, America’s Surgeon General.
AAPI Governing Body Meeting will be held on Saturday, from 8 am to 4 pm at the Marriott Gateway Crystal City, VA. The event will conclude at midnight with a Banquet hosted by the Local GWAPI (Greater Washington Association of Physicians of Indian Origin) at Marriott Gateway Crystal City, VA.
Dr. Jahagirdar 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.” For more information on AAPI’s the Legislative Day and to register for a block of Hotel Rooms at special prizes, please visit: http://www.aapiusa.org.