Alpha-1/COPD Capitol Hill Advocacy Day

May 07, 2014

The Alpha-1 and COPD Foundations want to thank our community for coming together yesterday for the Alpha-1/COPD Capitol Hill Advocacy Day.  Together we were able to further our mission of promoting awareness of COPD on Capitol Hill, and continued our mandate to advocate for quality access to affordable care for patients. 

Fifteen outspoken Alpha-1 and COPD patients, accompanied by Alpha-1 and COPD Foundation senior leadership, flew in from all parts of the country to lobby their elected officials in support of legislation that will improve patient access to quality care, H.R. 460 and H.R. 1239.  The advocates told their congressional representatives about their experience with the disease, the critical need for a national response to COPD and invited them to join the Congressional COPD Caucus, as well as urging support for HR 460 and HR 1239.  By the end of the day, more than 50 meetings with Congressional offices had taken place.

Digital COPD advocates who could not attend the lobby day in Washington, DC played a critical role in getting out our messages.  Numerous advocates sent letters to their elected officials and urged their online social networks to take action.  Individuals in our community, online publications, and industry partners participated in our Virtual Advocacy Day.  Our collective efforts resulted in over 100 letters sent to members of Congress via the COPD Action Center, and 320,000 online impressions.

The day’s activities concluded with the U.S. COPD Coalition Congressional Briefing.  The briefing was well attended by Congressional, staffers, industry partners, advocates and coalition members.  COPD Foundation President and U.S. COPD Coalition Chair, John Walsh, made opening remarks about the state of COPD in public affairs, followed by moving patient accounts by Karen Deitemeyer, patient advocate and Florida State Captain and Karen Erickson, Associate Executive Director, Alpha-1.  Winston Liao, Chronic Disease Epidemiologist presented critical facts about COPD.  The briefing concluded with remarks by Miriam O’Day, Senior Director of Public Policy for Alpha-1 and the COPD Foundation.

The Alpha-1 and COPD Foundations thank all of those who continually do their part for the betterment of the Alpha-1/COPD community.  The work does not stop here.  In the coming weeks, we will build off of this momentum to encourage Senate companion bills for both HR 460 and 1239 with hopes of passage before the end of this year’s session. 

Please join us in our fight for patient access to quality care by joining the COPD Action Network. You may have lost your breath but you have not lost your voice.  Join us now to make a difference for the 30 million Americans with COPD and Alpha-1.