APMA News - April 2012 - (Page S3)
SUPPLEMENT TO APMA NEWS
YOUR APMA / PAGE 3
YOUNG PHYSICIAN MEETS WITH VA GOVERNOR
Stanley Idiculla, DPM, never imagined when he was growing up in Philadelphia caring for a grandmother with diabetes that his passion for health care would one day bring him in touch with the political elite in his state. Dr. Idiculla, a graduate of the New York College of Podiatric Medicine and a private practitioner for the past five years at the Family Foot and Ankle Center in Northern Virginia, recently had the opportunity to have breakfast with Governor Bob McDonnell (R-VA) and share with him the importance of care by a podiatrist for people with diabetes.
Your APMA spoke to Dr. Idiculla about his meeting with Governor McDonnell and how he believes young physicians can make a difference with their policymakers. Your APMA: The opportunity to meet and speak with your governor in person is pretty rare. How did this meeting come about? Dr. Idiculla: Virginia Delegate David Ramadan (R) is a patient of my mine (and has given me permission to share that information). He first came to me with plantar fasciitis after long hours on the campaign trail. I got to know him as a patient and started building a relationship with him. Delegate Ramadan and the governor are longtime friends and share very similar interests. When Delegate Ramadan invited me to a private breakfast in Richmond, I thought it would be 50 or 60 people. It turned out to be only about 10—very influential—people. Delegate Ramadan introduced me to the governor in person at the breakfast meeting, and I was able to talk to him for about 15 minutes. We had a lot in common—we’re both originally from Philadelphia, and we both have twins. He has been lobbying Indian business owners to bring their business to Virginia, and I’m Indian, so it was great to make that personal connection. Your APMA: How much time did you spend preparing for the meeting? Dr. Idiculla: One week. I immediately called Jean Kirk, executive director of the Virginia Podiatric Medical Association, to notify her. She contacted our lobbyist, who sent talking points for me to address with the governor. Your APMA: What did you share with Governor McDonnell? Dr. Idiculla: I shared information about how much diabetes-related, non-traumatic lower extremity amputations cost Virginia each year ($58.5 million in 2009). I emphasized that if we could prevent just a fraction of those amputations through early detection, we could save tens of millions of dollars. I told him that early detection of just 10 foot ulcers would save Virginia enough money to cover the cost of [including] podiatry in Medicaid, but that eliminating podiatric medicine from Medicaid will only raise health-care costs.
Your APMA: What was his reaction? Dr. Idiculla: He was very receptive and had an open ear to the concerns facing our profession. Your APMA: Why is it so important for every podiatric physician to be involved in the advocacy process? Dr. Idiculla: I never thought I would be involved in politics, but as physicians, we all can make a difference. There are older physicians who have paved the way—I do ankle surgery only because of the people who came before me and fought for scope of practice and hospital privileges. Even as a young physician, I realize how important this type of outreach is, and I can start early to help other members of my profession and our patients. Your APMA: What would you recommend to other young practitioners who may not know how to get involved? Dr. Idiculla: As a young practitioner, it’s important to have resources available to you when you’re “called to duty.” Joining APMA and attending your state component meetings is a start. You will then understand more about the issues that we are facing both in your area and nationally. As you attend more meetings, you will meet podiatrists within the group who can mentor you. You can also join committees or attend events that support podiatry as a profession. Go to APMA’s website and click the eAdvocacy link for up-to-date information concerning podiatric issues. Having the opportunity to meet with the governor and relay my message and emphasize the importance of continuing support for podiatric Medicaid funding came naturally from the passion I have for my profession.
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