“Emergency physicians can introduce candidates to the greater house of medicine, because we work with all of the specialties within a hospital,” Dr. Harris said. “It’s pretty profound when an emergency physician can bring cardiologists, gastroenterologists, internists, family doctors, obstetricians/gynecologists, and orthopedists into a room and be the person who leads the candidate’s introduction to these specialties.”
Explore This IssueACEP News: Vol 29 – No 06 – June 2010
Being a member of the 911 Legislative Network and hosting fundraisers can also help an emergency physician gain credibility with members of the House and Senate.
“You become a subject matter expert for them. And they reach out to you and say, ‘Educate me about this. What’s your perspective on this issue?’ ” Dr. Harris said. “Congressional representatives want to do what’s right, and they know that emergency medicine is a white-hat specialty. So, they’ll call and ask you about an issue.”
Supporting Friendly Incumbents
NEMPAC follows a “friendly incumbent” policy, which means the PAC will not contribute campaign funds to a candidate running against an incumbent who has been supportive of ACEP.
As in previous election cycles, this year NEMPAC will direct contributions to friendly incumbents who serve on key committees and subcommittees with jurisdiction over health care issues, who hold positions of leadership, or who have supported ACEP’s key legislative priorities by cosponsoring bills or voting in favor of ACEP-supported legislation.
Incumbents who have a history of working with ACEP members and staff and who have received contributions from NEMPAC in previous election cycles will also be considered for contributions. Candidates who meet criteria in several categories are eligible for more support.
Relating to Candidates
A candidate’s relationship with ACEP leadership, 911 Legislative Network members, staff, and other ACEP members is another factor that’s considered when evaluating contribution requests. If a candidate has a good relationship with someone associated with ACEP, he or she is more likely to take the time to listen to ACEP’s position on a particular issue.
“Our staff and lobbyists in Washington can only do so much on their own. We are a member-driven organization, and the 911 Network volunteers help us communicate our message to legislators,” said Dr. Alex Rosenau, a member of the ACEP Board of Directors. “The staff helps us craft effective messages and target where those messages will best be heard.
“NEMPAC gets our message onto the front burner. It takes emergency medicine issues to a forum in which we can move them toward a conclusion: the U.S. Congress,” he said.