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SGO Virtual Fly in Day Covers 19 States, 74 Congressional Districts

Member Update
Oct 8, 2020

Top Center: Allison Saiz, MD, MS, SGO Congressional Ambassador and Leg/Reg member; Bottom L-R: Pierre Désy, MPH, CAE , SGO/FWC CEO and Doug Graham, MD, Health Legislative Assistant for Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL)

The fourth annual SGO Fly-in Day, which was conducted virtually this year on Sept. 23, covered 74 Congressional Districts across 19 states as a total of 44 SGO Congressional Ambassadors and patient advocates met with elected officials and congressional staffers to discuss the most pressing health policy issues that impact the gynecologic cancer subspecialty.

The SGO Congressional Ambassadors and patient advocates discussed several initiatives that are critically important to gynecologic oncologists and the patients they serve. Passage of these legislative priorities will enhance gynecologic cancer research and treatment and improve access to high quality gynecologic cancer care for all patients who require it.

This year’s SGO legislative priorities for Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 are as follows:

  1. Block Medicare Physician Payment Cuts: Waive Medicare budget neutrality requirements/hold harmless non-Evaluation and Management (E/M) codes for office visit payment increases and provide the same payment increases for similar services that are part of the global surgical packages by Jan. 1, 2021.
  2. Support Department of Defense (DoD) Research on Ovarian Cancer and Endometrial Cancer: Prioritize endometrial cancer research under the DoD Congressionally Directed Peer Reviewed Cancer Research Program in the final FY 2021 Defense Appropriations bill.
  3. Support National Cancer Institute (NCI) Research on Disparities in Endometrial Cancer: The House-passed FY 2021 Labor-HHS Appropriations bill includes report language that directs the National Cancer Institute to prioritize studies on the disparities related to endometrial cancer and to report back to Congress about progress made in incidence and survival rates by ethnicity for endometrial cancer.
  4. Co-Sponsor H.R. 913, The Clinical Treatment Act: This is bipartisan legislation introduced by Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) that would guarantee coverage of routine care costs of clinical trial participation for Medicaid enrollees with a life-threatening condition. SGO Fly-in day was instrumental in having a Senate version of this legislation (number S.4742) introduced by Senators Richard Burr (R-NC) and Ben Cardin (D-MD).

Emily Hill, MD, SGO Congressional Ambassador

“I found this to be a very educational, motivating and empowering opportunity,” said Paola Gehrig, MD, SGO Congressional Ambassador and member of the Future of Physician Payment Reform Subcommittee. “The individuals who I spoke with were all respectful, interested and knowledgeable. I felt optimistic that they would pass along the information to their Congressmen and they asked for state specific outcomes for women with gynecologic malignancies. I came away from this experience feeling more energized about advocacy.”

SGO Congressional Ambassador Christina Chu, MD, has had the opportunity to participate in a previous SGO Fly-in Day when all of the advocates visited Capitol Hill, as well as the most recent virtual event.
“I have participated in Fly-in Day twice, and I always feel a little nervous going into these meetings, but it is turns out to be a great experience,” she said. “The staffers that we met were really bright and knowledgeable. It is really satisfying to be able to advocate for causes that are important to us and to our patients. I’d recommend that all of our members get involved with this effort next year.”