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  • When I met with Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ga., during Congressional Advocacy Day this year, I never imagined our next meeting would occur in my office, just a few weeks later. But advocacy works best through relationships. And during that April discussion in Washington, D.C., Rep. Graves and I realized we shared more than geography.

    The visit focused on issues of interest to ophthalmology, but we also discovered much common ground: the desire to serve in the community, trail running as a way to escape the daily grind, and a love of Athens, Ga. A valuable relationship was formed.

    During the nearly hour-long meeting, we discussed many of the health care challenges facing the country. Rep. Graves generously listened to the impact of increasing federal regulations on small private practices such as Athens Eye Associates, with patient care ultimately positioned to suffer.

    Following our meeting, Rep. Graves paid a visit to Athens Eye. He got a first-hand look and now has a better understanding of the care we provide, the patients we serve and the challenges we face.

    I am committed to continuing as an advocate for ophthalmology and my patients. It isn’t difficult to build relationships with lawmakers – it just takes common ground.

    Michael S. Jacobs, MD, is an ophthalmologist in Athens, Ga.