The fifth annual SGO Fly-In Day took place on Sept. 21, 2021. Forty-three SGO advocates met virtually with 77 offices to discuss legislation and health care policy items that are important to the care of women with gynecologic cancer with Members of Congress and their staff.
This event is an opportunity for its SGO Congressional Ambassadors and our patient advocate partners to educate Members of Congress on gynecologic cancer, inform them about what is happening in their home state or district, and present solutions to current challenges in gynecologic cancer care.
“A seasoned woman does not mean old and ready to discard. Her health is no less valuable than someone in their reproductive season. Because gyn cancers target our seasoned women, postmenopausal, 55+ we should not shortchange them when it comes to advocacy, access, research and funding,” explains Vanessa L. Hill, a patient advocate representative and founder of Project Nana.
Hill participated in SGO Fly-In Day along with other SGO advocates and shared patient care experiences, thanked offices for breakthroughs and successes made possible by prior year’s research funding, and explained what Congress can do to continue to support progress toward our shared vision of eradicating gynecologic cancers.
Hill explains the importance of amplifying women’s voices and empowering their sense of agency through advocating for policy changes. “The SGO Fly-in provided the opportunity for me to carry the echo of seasoned voices that nourish me and to retell their stories. To humanize statistics and to be able to say seasoned women’s gyn health matters,” says Hill.
The benefits of this year’s Fly-in Day are already being observed through increases in the number of co-sponsors for key bills and the number of Representatives who have signed onto the Bera-Bucshon Dear Colleague Letter to block cuts to Medicare physician payments. Several SGO delegations were able to get same-day signatures. The meetings covered target districts across 16 states, including both Republican and Democratic offices to move these SGO advocacy priorities forward in the 117th Congress.
This year’s SGO Fly-In Day advocacy priorities were as follows:
- Block Medicare Physician Payment Cuts in CY 2022– This year’s payment cut is a -3.75% update to the conversion factor that SGO advocacy persuaded Congress to prevent last year. Additionally, without further congressional action, the 2% sequestration cut and the 4% PAYGO cut triggered by the American Rescue Plan will also be reinstated on Jan. 1, 2022.
- Support Dept. of Defense Funding for Research on Ovarian Cancer and Endometrial Cancer in FY 2022
- Expand National Cancer Institute (NCI) Research on Disparities in Gynecologic Cancers in FY 2022
- Co-Sponsor and Pass the Jeanette Acosta Invest in Women’s Health Act (H.R. 2216/S. 1063) – authorizing programs that will expand access to preventive, lifesaving women’s health screenings, with a focus on breast and gynecological cancer screenings, at safety net and reproductive health care providers
- Co-Sponsor and Pass the Promoting Resources to Expand Vaccination, Education and New Treatments for HPV Cancers Act or the PREVENT HPV Cancers Act (H.R. 1550)
- Co-sponsor and Pass the Improving Seniors’ Timely Access to Care Act (H.R. 3173) – a bipartisan bill that would address key issues impacting patient access to services under Medicare Advantage (MA) plans by standardizing and streamlining the prior authorization process.