This week I attended the second Annual DFA Leadership Conference. It was such an inspiring experience. It was a treat to be around so many bright physicians and medical students dedicated to making our health care system work in the best way it can. And to hear some truly remarkable speakers who are working to make reform a success and want to empower us to do the same. If you didn't make it this year, I hope you'll come next year.
Here are some take aways I'd like to share:
1. The more I learn about the ACA the more I like it. Among the provisions I learned about at the leadership conference:
- Plain language provision. This provision which will go into effect in the fall means that all insurance companies will have to use similar, understandable language when describing health insurance plans.
- Easier appeals. The ACA allows for better consumer protections, i.e. formalizes the review process for appeals for denied insurance claims and also creates a process for external reviews. This provision is already in place.
2. Its ok to say Obamacare. Apparently I was living under a rock and missed that the administration has embraced this term, to which I say, it’s about time. I'm so proud of the Affordable Care Act and I think President Obama deserves a lot of credit for standing his ground and making it happen. So now I can proudly say, "I Heart Obamacare"
3. You've gotta take action. But you don't have to know everything before you do. Time for me to confess that while I've been pretty involved in DFA, and have even spoken about the ACA, I don't consider myself an expert or even something close. I thought this was my dirty secret. But turns out that to be an effective leader, you can't wait to know everything. So while I am continually impressed with how amazing and knowledgable the people active in this organization and movement are, taking action before you think you're ready is common. Turns out we actually are ready, we just don't always realize it.
4. Tweet = power. I've been reluctant to join twitter. I thought it would take a lot of time or be troublesome. I didn't want to be one of those people who tweets a mile a minute or be the recipient of said tweet volume. But it turns out, you're really in control of who tweets you and that there are tools to make it easier to wrangle, i.e. Tweetdeck and hootsuite. Twitter can open doors to getting your message out that really aren't available anywhere else. And our voices are power, even when they are in a medium whose name sounds a little silly.
5. DFA will take you places you haven't been. For me this includes:
- Sitting 10 feet from Secretary Sebelius and Don Berwick
- Sharing my view with my Senator and Representatives in their DC offices
- Having my voice heard by the president and executive director of a national physician organization