Three students and Associate Professor Jennifer Snyder from the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences participated in the American Academy of Physician Assistants’ 2012 Capitol Connection March 25-27 in Washington D.C.

COPHS in DCSecond-year physician assistant (PA) students Julianne Frey, Sara Zirnheld and Tara Thornburg joined other Indiana PA students in meetings with legislators and staff on Capitol Hill. The conference also provided interactive learning sessions, leadership building and networking.

Conference participants advocated for lawmakers to allow PAs to provide hospice care to Medicare beneficiaries, to make PAs eligible for Medicaid electronic health record incentives, enable reimbursement for PAs taking care for federal workers injured on the job, and to ensure continued federal support of PA educational programs through Title VII.

The trip wrapped up a two-semester, one-credit hour elective course on healthcare legislation offered by Butler’s PA program

“As healthcare providers, our timing to visit the Capitol could not have been better,” Snyder said, referring to the fact that, that same week, the Supreme Court heard arguments on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act.

“With healthcare reform going before the Supreme Court, all of the buzz about it, and those rallying on both sides of the issue, it was a great reminder of how blessed we are to live with the freedom [of speech] provided by our country,” said Frey.

Thornburg said, “If you are passionate enough to become a professional in any setting, you should also be passionate about advocating for your profession. We have a voice and we also have the choice to utilize it or not. This week we were allowed to utilize our voice.”

Pictured left to right: Richard Ombrembowski of Yale University, Snyder, Thornburg, Zirnheld, Christina Brown of Lincoln Memorial University-DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine , and Frey.

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