As part of its ongoing commitment to advancing the issue of urotrauma and its impact on U.S. veterans returning from service overseas, the AUA – in conjunction with other health and veterans’ advocacy groups – is pleased to announce the formation of the Urotrauma Policy Roundtable. This coalition held its inaugural meeting on Thursday, November 16, and will be working in partnership to educate lawmakers about these devastating injuries and to re-introduce legislation specific to urotrauma. The legislation, authored by lawmakers in conjunction with the AUA, was originally introduced in 2009 and was re-introduced in 2011 by champions Brett Guthrie (R-KY-D), Mike Ross (D-AR-4), Peter King (R-NY-3), Mike McIntyre (D-NC-7) and Steve Stivers (R-OH-15).
The Roundtable was chaired by Dr. Mark T. Edney, MD, FACS, a member of the AUA Legislative Affairs Committee and Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran, and was attended by 25 people, including representatives from the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans, AmVets, Blinded Veterans Association, Vietnam Veterans of America, the Society for Womens’ Health Research, Men’s Health Network, RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association and the Blue Ribbon Advocacy Alliance. Representatives from industry partners and staff from the offices of Rep. Guthrie and Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL-18) were also in attendance. AUA member B. Mayer Grob, MD, and Legislative Affairs Committee Chair Jim Ulchaker, MD, FACS, also participated in the meeting, with Dr. Grob presenting his experiences working in the VA environment to treat wounded veterans.
Discussion centered primarily around the issue of urotrauma and specific needs to address during the 2013 reintroduction, including educational assessments and training programs to prepare physicians in advance of deployment, along with a plan to prepare the VA system to care for veterans with urotraumatic injuries post-discharge.
“This meeting was the first step in what we hope will be a successful push for this important legislation in the 113th Congress,” said AUA Director of Government Relations Sandie Preiss. “We are delighted to be working once again with Congressman Guthrie to champion this cause.”
The urotrauma legislation, introduced during the 112th Congress as H.R. 1612, establishes a National Commission on Urotrauma tasked with conducting a comprehensive study of the current state of knowledge of the prevention, incidence, morbidity and mortality – as well as social and economic impacts – of urotrauma; evaluating public and private facilities and resources for diagnosis and management of these injuries; and identifiying programs in which, and the means by which, improvement in urotrauma management can be accomplished. The Commission is also tasked by the legislation to develop a long-term plan for the use and organization of national resources for these purposes. The bill identifies the U.S. Department of Defense as the lead agency on this initiative, along with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Health and Human Services.