2011 Information and Resources
A significant amount of time at the Conference will be spent briefing attendees on ASA priority issues. Attendees will be provided information on the status of the key issues, points to be made when speaking with lawmakers and their staff, responses to opponent arguments and other helpful information to assure full preparedness during “Hill” meetings. Position papers and supporting documents will also be provided as part of the briefings. Additionally, ASA staff and physician leadership will be available to answer any questions.
Registration - Closes April 15, 2011
Registration for the Legislative Conference is conducted through each individual State Component. Interested individuals must contact their State Component President or staff to determine how and when the state selects its delegation to the Legislative Conference. Each state must submit its registration list accompanied by the required registration fee.
There is no limit on the size of any Component's delegation. Components are free to make any type of arrangements they wish with their delegation so long as ASA receives the appropriate registration fee for each Conference registrant be it from the Component or the individual.
Components do not pay the registration fee for members of their delegation who are also members of the ASA Administrative Council or Conference speakers.
Component Society officers, Legislative Chairs, leaders in academic anesthesiology, “ASA Key Contacts” and residents are strongly encouraged to attend. In particular, Components should try to bring ASA "Key Contacts" for the state’s U.S. Senators and for lawmakers from the state who serve in the Congressional leadership or on key health-related committees - Senate Finance, Health Education Labor and Pensions (HELP), and Commerce Committees and House Ways and Means and Energy and Commerce Committees.
A block of hotel rooms has been reserved for conference registrants at the JW Marriott Hotel, 1331 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC. The block is under the name of the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) and covers rooms from Friday, April 29 through Friday, May 6, 2011. Reservations may be made by calling the hotel directly at 202-393-2000. A special nightly rate of $316 is available until the room block closes on March 25, 2011. Individuals seeking to make their reservation online should go here. Each registrant is responsible for his or her own hotel arrangements.
Once this block is sold out or closed, rooms at the special negotiated rate are no longer available. The ASA Washington office can provide attendees a list of alternate hotels in the vicinity of the JW Marriott; however, there is no room block available at these hotels.
On-site check-in will open at noon on Monday, May 2. The traditional State Issues Forum will begin at 1 p.m. and end at 3 p.m. The Newcomers Session: Advocacy Overview and Capitol Hill Basics will take place from 3-4 p.m. to be followed by the Federal Issues Briefing (CME available) from 4-5 p.m. In past years, the Federal Issues Briefing occurred on Tuesday. Congressional Visit Training will follow the briefing from 5-6 p.m. Tuesday’s program is scheduled to begin with a continental breakfast at 7 a.m. followed by a program of speakers, lunch at noon and additional speakers and programs until 5:45 p.m.
Appointments for Wednesday’s Capitol Hill Visits
Appointments should be made a soon as possible through the lawmaker’s scheduler. Do not wait until arrival in D.C. to attempt to make an appointment with a lawmaker or their staff. Second, it is strongly recommended that attendees work with their fellow attendees from the Component to make assignments for individual lawmakers. If an attendee in the Component knows a particular lawmaker or is the ASA “Key Contact” for that lawmaker, he or she should make the appointment. Otherwise, attendees should make the appointment for the Member of Congress who represents their Congressional District. A State Component leader or appropriate “Key Contact” should be tasked with setting up the meeting with the U.S. Senators.
Asking staff to make appointments is strongly discouraged. Indeed, allowing State Component administrative personnel or group administrative personnel to make appointments only furthers the perception -- however erroneous -- that physicians are aloof and think of themselves as “above” working with Congressional staff.
Individual anesthesiologists should make their own appointments. Attendees should call the scheduler or health aide to request the meeting. They should then perform all the necessary follow-up until the meeting is confirmed.
Remember that Congressional staff can be very transient. Many of today’s senior Congressional staff started off answering phones or sorting mail. The receptionist working in the office this year could very well be someone who is working on his or her Master’s degree in health policy at a nearby university. He or she is simply working as a receptionist to get a “foot in the door” of a Congressional office. Next year, the very same person could be a lawmaker’s health policy aide. Start building a direct relationship with this staffer this year by serving as the primary contact for the office.
Making appointments for visits on days other than Wednesday is strongly discouraged. Past experience tells us that missing important parts of the Tuesday program can adversely impact the quality and effectiveness of the presentations made during the lobbying visit on Wednesday. Important information to use as part of the Hill visits may be missed. Additionally, when our speakers from Congress and the Administration are invited to appear before our group, they are told that they will be speaking in front of nearly 400 anesthesiologists and practice managers. Attending meetings while the Tuesday program is taking place, leaving the meeting for other reasons or even lingering in the foyer reduces the size of our audience and is often upsetting to our speakers. One year, due to attendees leaving during the program, a prominent health care policymaker spoke to less than 150 attendees instead of the promised 400 attendees. The speaker felt misled by ASA staff.
If a Congressional meeting cannot be scheduled for Wednesday, Thursday is the preferred alternative date. The ASA room block includes rooms for individuals departing Thursday and Friday.
Conference Agenda Availability
Because a large part of the Conference program consists of speakers from Congress and the Administration, and such speakers are not able to confirm their schedules more than 3-4 weeks in advance of the meeting, it will be weeks before a final program is available. A tentative schedule is available here. This schedule will be regularly updated as speakers are confirmed.
Political Activity at the Conference
We commend our members for their high level of political involvement including providing financial support to candidates. Providing direct political support to candidates supportive of our specialty is a very important part of advocacy. However, for the purposes of the Legislative Conference “Hill Visits,” making political contributions is best left to another time. The Legislative Conference is a great opportunity to focus specifically on health care policy and legislation and to leave the campaign side of politics for later.
Credits CME credits are available for parts of the program.
Additional information is available from the ASA Washington office at 202-289-2222.