Stacey Hughes joined the American Hospital Association in January 2021 as executive vice president for government relations and public policy from The Nickles Group, a Washington, D.C.-based political consulting firm. In her role, she supervises AHA’s legislative, political, regulatory, grassroots and legal advocacy efforts. Ms. Hughes was president and founding partner of The Nickles Group. She is widely recognized for combining her deep understanding of complex healthcare policy with counsel that is specific to client needs. While leading The Nickles Group healthcare team, she ensured that clients had a proactive partner in Washington—one who anticipates opportunities and challenges on legislative and regulatory work, including the complexities of durable medical equipment, Medicare reimbursement and pharma issues, among others. Her work ran the gamut from Fortune 500 companies with broad advocacy goals to small coalitions united to change specific regulatory requirements. She has been recognized as a “Top Lobbyist” by The Hill. Prior to co-founding The Nickles Group in 2004, Ms. Hughes held multiple positions as leadership staff in the Senate, immersing herself in healthcare policy, managing major legislation on the Senate floor, coordinating with various members and offices on both sides of the aisle, and running House-Senate conference committees. She served as deputy staff director for the Senate Budget Committee, senior policy adviser in the assistant Republican leader’s office and lead staff on the Committee on Aging for Sen. William Cohen. Ms. Hughes received her bachelor’s degree from Florida State University.