Medical Specialty Groups Call Letter to Congress Misleading

Posted March 22, 2010 at 5:35pm

Updated: 11:12 a.m.

Several physician trade groups are up in arms after an e-mail blast sent by the American Association of Neurological Surgeons urging House Members to vote against the health care reform bill listed their organizations without their permission.

AANS Washington, D.C., director Katie Orrico sent an e-mail Friday afternoon telling House Members to vote “no” on the health care reform bill.

The missive continued to list more than two-dozen surgical and state medical associations, including the American College of Surgeons, the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the Society for Vascular Surgery, among others, as not supporting the House bill.

“Our signature was affixed to the neurological surgeon e-mail without our permission and we would not have given it as the e-mail did not accurately reflect the academy’s position,” said David Parke II, CEO of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

While the American Academy of Ophthalmology was opposed to the Senate bill, which the House voted on on Sunday, the trade group did not ask Members to vote against the bill.

Orrico said that she sent the e-mail after the American Medical Association announced its support for the health care reform bill and that AANS and the Congress of Neurological Surgeons wanted to make sure House Members knew there were plenty of physicians opposed to the legislation.

“In no way, shape or form did the e-mail say the undersigned organizations urge you to vote no,” Orrico said. “The ‘vote no’ message was intended to be from our organization and our organization only.”

“We were just listing the names of the organizations, who had stated publicly either on their Web site or in letters they had sent themselves or in coalitions they are a part of, that had already circulated the Hill stating their opposition to the bill,” she added.