So I was a newbie today. Actually, the three people from my delegation were newbies.
But was it fun!
Now, I think it has a lot to do with the fact that we’re from Alabama. I mean, good ole Southern boys are not only fun to talk to, but they have no interest in being politically correct. They tell it like it is.
Our first stop was with Congressman Bright’s health liason. She was nice and listened to us, but I was hoping to catch the Congressman. You see, he used to be the mayor of my town and my husband is the photo editor of the city’s newspaper. So over the years, he has photographed the Congressman many times.
I thought we were out of luck. However, as we were standing in the hall, who should come up the stairs to his office, but Congressman Bright!
“Mayor Bright?” I asked. Apparently, everyone still calls him “Mayor.” I can’t help it.
He looked up from his Blackberry and said, “Yes?”
I introduced myself and said, “My husband is David Bundy, the photo editor of the Montgomery Advertiser.”
“Dave’s your husband?” he asked. “Well, he sure married up! He’s a good guy. Tell him I said hi!”
I pitched our Bill briefly and he said he’d try to help. Gotta follow up on that later.
We met with the senators’ advisers, which was nice and all. They listened, but I’m not sure how much actually got through.
Our next meeting was kind of fun. Congressman Griffith is a freshman from the northern district of Alabama. He’s also a retired radiation oncologist.
Right away, he put us at ease. He was very straight forward and asked us our opinions on health care reform.
We began to discuss the importance of the AEMSA, and began to bring up our problems with on-call specialist coverage.
The Congressman said, in his wonderful Southern drawl, “Them neurosurgeons in North Alabama… They only want to do elective cases! They don’t want to take call! Well, that’s BULLS**T!”
My mouth dropped open. And here is how we found our way in. A fellow physician who was familiar with our workforce issue, and a Congressman who knew about some of our colleagues “dark underbellies” as he put it. That some people don’t want to take care of patients (or, certain patients). We showed him the Report Card, with Alabama’s grade of D+. “Now that’s the ammunition I’m lookin’ for,” he said. “Call me up and I’ll help clear that waiting room. If I had to do it all over again, I’d be an ER doc.” (I know, I know, but I thought it was cool he was willing to get in there and see patients, unlike some of our colleagues in other specialties.)
My attending, Dr. Kathleen Bowen, and I had wonderful meeting with him, and have much to follow up on. But I believe we made a great start.
Well, I’m tired and I will give part 2 of my day tomorrow! Good night!
Author’s note: Apparently I fell asleep typing this at around 3 a.m., literally with my hands on the keyboard. I’m currently in a Starbucks in the Charlotte airport finally posting this. More to come later.
Author’s note on the author’s note: My apologies. This darn thing wouldn’t post earlier. Finally, here it is.