Last week marked the end of a successful America’s Blood Centers-led grassroots campaign, culminating in the submission of two comment letters from ABC within a one week period and a face-to-face meeting with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the blood community delegation. During the past seven days, ABC has commented to CMS in opposition to the proposedcuts in reimbursement for blood and blood products, as well as to the Department of Labor expressing concern about the impact of the proposed increase in the threshold for exempt status and payment of overtime on non-profit organizations like blood centers.
ABC member support through our grassroots initiative has been incredible. Of ABC’s 64 member blood centers, 43 participated in the grassroots initiative by sending letters to their members of Congress, CMS, or both. ABC members rose to the occasion, contacting nearly 130 members of Congress and writing 43 letters to CMS. According to our follow-up, eight members of Congress have contacted CMS expressing the blood community’s concerns. (I should note that these numbers are based off of voluntary reporting and may not represent all CMS contacts.) Thank you ABC members for making your voice heard! Now, we wait for CMS to publish the final rule, around the end of October, at which time the agency will respond in the Federal Register to all comments received during the comment period.
The issues facing the blood community are weighty and sometimes appear to be intentionally challenging. That is where our responsibility for educating legislators and policy makers comes into play. Congressional representatives, as well as government agency staff are truly trying to do what is best for this country based on the available facts, data, and knowledge. They are faced with so many topics to comprehend, that it is a form of public service to educate them on the nuances of the blood industry and the details of the issues that are important to sustaining a safe and adequate blood supply. ABC members took on this challenge and made their voices heard with the recent advocacy effort. ABC is grateful for the support and collaboration of other key organizations in this initiative including AABB, the American Red Cross, and the American Hospital Association.
Looking to the future, ABC is planning a national Virtual Advocacy Week to be held Jan. 18 to 22 during which time we encourage you to meet with your legislators in your home district. Timed in conjunction with the congressional recess, ABC will provide members with all of the necessary tools to effectively reach out and educate their legislators, right in their communities. Stay tuned for more information as we work toward spreading the word about the value that ABC members bring to our communities and to the nation’s public health. And thank you for your brilliant execution of a job well done!
Christine Zambricki, DNAP, CRNA, FAAN; Chief Executive Officer;firstname.lastname@example.org