Eyeworld

DEC 2012

EyeWorld is the official news magazine of the American Society of Cataract & Refractive Surgery.

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14 December 2012 EW NEWS & OPINION When continued from page 13 can influence. Oftentimes, our issues fly under the national political radar���for example, meaningful use criteria/EMR, PQRS, regulatory reforms, SGR, etc. In addition, we can play a great ���inside��� game with our organized medical societies (ASCRS and eyePAC, AAO and OPHTHPAC, etc.), and a great ���outside��� game when local physicians call or visit their member���s office. Remember, physicians are highly regarded in the community, not to mention that a private practice is an important small business and employer in the district. If there���s an issue that might cause a local employer to go out of business or lay off workers, you can bet that the member will be very interested to hear about it. Dr. Chang: Do personal visits from constituents make a difference? www.ascrsfoundation.org Dr. Parekh: Absolutely, but I want to stress that you don���t have to travel all the way to Washington for a visit. In fact, I would argue that it is more effective (though less glamorous) to visit the local district office. The member feels more at home there and is therefore more relaxed, less pressed for time, more open to discussion and new ideas, etc. In addition, a local visit is much easier for us as physicians���less time away from the office, less cost in terms of travel, etc. Recently, we had Congressman Glenn Thompson visit our office and ASC. He spent almost 2 hours with us���we toured the office and ASC, introduced him to one of my DSEK patients, and had the chance, oneon-one, to discuss the importance of fee for service medicine, and how factors such as the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) and SGR threaten our practice. I think it���s incredibly compelling for a member to come to your office, meet the people you employ, and see how you go out of your way to provide compassionate care to your patients. That���s a great way to build a relationship, and as we all get more involved through the efforts of groups like ASCRS and AAO, that���s the way we���ll have our voice heard in Washington. Dr. Chang: What types of discussions have the greatest impact? Dr. Parekh: This comes back to the earlier point about the decisionmaking process. In medicine, as doctors and scientists, we like to think that we make rational decisions based on hard evidence���a randomized trial or at least some data. In politics, however, it is a different world���you have to stand out and have an emotional impact to make your point. The best anecdote wins, not the best data. The squeaky, memorable wheel gets the grease. So, for example, rather than saying that medical assistance pays too little for you to do corneal transplants, tell the anecdote of your patient who suffered with poor vision and couldn���t see her daughter���s wedding because of poor eyesight. Talk about how many letters you wrote to appeal, and how you finally convinced the local eye bank to donate the tissue, and now the patient enjoys playing ball with her toddler grandson. Then, you close with: ���I have 10 other cases just like this!��� To go one step further, you can convince a few of your colleagues to call the member and share their stories as well. Numbers do matter, either as multiple anecdotes or as data to back up your anecdote, but the vivid story must come first. Think of this another way. Imagine you are the staffer or the senator. You spend your entire day listening to how X teachers are losing their job, or Y percent taxes are too high, or Z farmers need more subsidies. Your mind is numb with statistics and data. At the end of the day, you won���t even remember if it was Z jobs or X farmers, or vice

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