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From: The Rheumatologist, February 2010

Don’t Just Watch Health Policy Unfold—Take Action

If you are tired of just watching and reading about health policy decisions that affect you, your patients, and your profession, take action today to help shape the future of healthcare. The ACR offers multiple ways for you to stay informed about legislation affecting rheumatology professionals and can teach you how to influence the decisions made on Capitol Hill. Here are some simple steps to help you become an advocate:

  • Join the Advocacy List Serve

Join over 300 of your colleagues on the ACR advocacy list serve to stay informed about legislative and regulatory issues and to communicate with your fellow rheumatology professionals on these issues. The advocacy list serve provides you with an active discussion on urgent calls to action, bill introductions, congressional and presidential actions, and media coverage.

  • Read RheumWATCH

RheumWATCH is your monthly source for updates on legislative and regulatory issues, grassroots activities, and the ACR’s efforts in Washington, D.C. RheumWATCH is sent to you via e-mail around the 15th of each month.

  • Respond to Calls-to-Action

When issues that need grassroots action arise, the ACR will send you an e-mail advising you on what you can do to affect the outcome of a key debate, vote, or other legislative activity. When you receive the e-mail, take a few minutes to call your elected official using the AMA’s toll-free Grassroots Hotline at (800) 833-6354, or send an e-mail using the ACR’s Legislative Action Center, located at www.capwiz.com/ACR.

  • Meet With Your Member of Congress

An in-person meeting is a valuable tool in building a relationship with your legislator. You can organize a meeting in your district, on Capitol Hill, or during the ACR’s Advocates for Arthritis fly-in held each spring in Washington, D.C. Face-to-face meetings provide the perfect opportunity for you to discuss issues of importance to rheumatology professionals and build relationships with your members of Congress and their staff.

  • Learn About RheumPAC

RheumPAC is the voluntary, nonpartisan Political Action Committee (PAC) of the ACR. It is the only PAC that directly represents the interests of rheumatology professionals on Capitol Hill and works to support and elect pro-rheumatology candidates.

However you decide to get involved, know that you are making a difference for your patients and your profession. Together we can make the voice of rheumatology heard on Capitol Hill. To start your advocacy efforts—and to learn more about the options above—visit www.rheumatology.org.

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