Jacob Ormsby, MD, MBA
Hear Ye, Hear Ye: You Are the Voice of Radiology
We all have a voice, and we should make sure we use it, especially about topics we truly believe in. This is what advocacy is — a way to be the voice for our colleagues and patients. Advocacy is something that we can all participate in from the local level to the national level.
My own experience with advocacy began when I was a resident attending the ACR® Annual Meeting every year. I loved Capitol Hill Day and talking to my state’s representatives, many of whom were eager to hear what I had to say and genuinely wanted to make things better. I learned from senior members of my New Mexico State Chapter how to approach topics with politicians and how to phrase our issues in a meaningful way. The first few years, I mainly let others do the talking, but over time, I began to contribute more to the conversation.
I have continued to blossom throughout my career, getting more involved with advocacy, including sending messages on Twitter, contributing to RADPAC® and writing letters to my state representatives. In fact, I recently had a one-on-one conversation with one of my state’s U.S. senators. In this meeting, I expressed how the increase in reimbursement secondary to evaluation and management (E/M) as a means to achieve budget neutrality harms patient care. I told him that overall, radiology revenue decreases much more significantly than other specialties, which leads to fewer radiologists interpreting studies. I knew this through my involvement with the ACR and by attending Capitol Hill Day each year.
The knowledge I’ve gained has made me feel well-equipped to conduct meaningful conversations with my senators, giving him actual numbers and data to return to his colleagues, including members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP). I made sure to leave the door open and told him that if he ever had any healthcare questions, specifically radiology, I’d always be willing to answer his questions as I am a steadfast steward for patients and fellow doctors.
Advocacy is not just for the national stage in a formal meeting. In 2021, I participated in a forum with state legislatures to brainstorm actionable ideas about physician retention with doctors of all specialties and practice environments. The forum occurred in a physician’s backyard over hors d’oeuvres and cocktails, making for a relaxing setting with everyone presenting their ideas to legislators and listening to one another’s concerns. Again, it was a great way to come together and build relationships with our policy makers to discuss appropriate policies.
I have had some amazing advocacy experiences and I think we, as YPS members, should take advantage of advocacy to shape the future we want for healthcare. If we start making our voices heard, the future can continue to change for the better.