Laurel Ries, MD - March 2024 Advocacy Champion - Photo.jpgMarch 2024 MMA Advocacy Champion

Laurel Ries, MD

MMA President
Family Physician, M Health Fairview Clinic

1. Why is being an advocate so important to you?
Advocacy is important to me because there are problems that I can’t fix in my exam room. Our patients need us to speak up for them, especially when they don’t have a voice. And we just speak up for ourselves and work together for the practice of medicine.

2. What health-care related issue(s) have you advocated for over the past year?
In the last month, I’ve had the opportunity to speak to legislators in Washington D.C. about Medicare payment reform and in St. Paul about prior authorization reform. Our seniors deserve to have the best care and access to their physicians. And our patients should be able to get the treatments recommended by their physicians, without the barriers of prior authorization.

3. What advice would you offer to others who are interested in advocacy?
Advocacy gives me joy and energy. It gives me hope that things in medicine can and do get better - with a little work. Advocacy gives me an opportunity to serve my patients and community beyond the exam room.

Advocacy can happen in many different ways. Your calls to your representatives really matter. They pay attention to what their constituents are saying.  You can meet with your representatives at the state capitol or in your home district. Another avenue is to donate to political action committees, such as MEDPAC or AMPAC. The money goes toward getting your voice heard in the places where it’s meaningful. I would strongly encourage those with the inclination to make a difference in healthcare to engage with the MMA on topics of interest. There are also a variety of opportunities for involvement within the MMA, including (but not limited to) serving on a policy committee; voting on a policy issue via The Pulse; attending the MMA’s Physicians’ Day at the Capitol; and advocating for legislation that affects your patients and how you practice via MMA’s Action Alerts.