D.O. Day in Albany

TouroCOM students from Harlem and Middletown campuses advocate for osteopathic medicine on D.O. Day in Albany.

May 01, 2015

This past week, TouroCOM students travelled to Albany for a day of advocacy. The fifth annual D.O. Day, sponsored by the New York State Osteopathic Medical Society (NYSOMS), comes on the heels of their most recent trip to D.C. for D.O. Day on the Hill, and was another chance to present their views to their political representatives, asking for their support on issues relevant to the osteopathic profession. 

Osteopathic medical students from both Harlem and Middletown campuses joined dozens of other D.O.s and students to meet with their legislative representatives: Harlem students with Senator Bill Perkins and Assemblyman Keith Wright, and Middletown students with Senator John Bonacic and Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther.

Students voiced their opinions in favor of several bills, including one that requires healthcare providers to identify their level of training in all advertising and another that supports meningococcal immunization as a required vaccine.

They also asked their senators to vote in favor of a bill that overrides (when necessary) the current Step Therapy policy, which requires physicians to first prescribe generic (vs. brand-name) medications to patients. While Step Therapy was initially established to cut costs, a legislative amendment would allow physicians to prescribe brand-name medications with fewer constraints.

Lastly, students spoke in favor of collective negotiations for physicians that would permit doctors greater flexibility in communicating with health care insurance companies about settling patient fees and covering costs. In the current bill, doctors are offered take-it-or-leave-it contracts that result in burdensome processes and long wait times for receiving pre-authorization to provide needed patient care.

Jonathan Meadows, OMS-I at TouroCOM-Harlem, said he really enjoyed speaking directly to elected officials in the Senate and Assembly and persuading the members to vote in support of NYSOMS issues. “It was especially exciting to go to the Lobbyist area at the entrance of the Assembly chamber and rapidly articulate the talking points to Assemblyman Wright alongside my TouroCOM colleagues,” he said.

TouroCOM-Middletown student J. Devin Stephenson, who also attended the advocacy effort in D.C., agreed. “I’m growing more involved in the political aspects of being a student in medicine and am learning a lot about some of the issues that will affect us in our future careers. I think osteopathic medical students should at least be aware of, if not involved in, the political system and the process of advocating for positions important to us."