As a pediatric trainee, I know very little about osteoporosis, & yet I felt it my duty to fight for better reimbursement. … Why? Because one day my patients will grow older, & steroids, frequently used in the treatment of juvenile rheumatic disease, increase the risk of bone demineralization, which can lead to osteoporosis over time.
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Explore This IssueNovember 2018
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Additionally, we asked for a line item to be added to the fiscal year 2020 budget that dedicates appropriated DoD research funds to arthritis and for co-sponsorship of the H.R. 1898/S. 3160 bills (https://tinyurl.com/yalbk3o2 and https://tinyurl.com/ybavdtp4) to restore a sustainable Medicare reimbursement for dual energy X-ray absorptiometry scans, thereby preserving access to osteoporosis testing, prevention and treatment services.
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As rheumatologists, we share a common goal: to provide access to quality medical care for our patients with rheumatic disease. Regardless of age, healthcare policy affects all of our patients. Trust me, as a pediatric trainee, I know very little about osteoporosis, and yet I felt it my duty to fight for better reimbursement for a relatively inexpensive screening test seldom used in pediatrics. Why? Because one day my patients will grow older, and steroids, frequently used in the treatment of juvenile rheumatic disease, increase the risk of bone demineralization, which can lead to osteoporosis over time.
I know very little about adult rheumatic diseases, but I was fortunate to have a friend and colleague (Amanda Schnell, MD, a second-year fellow in adult rheumatology at the University of Alabama, Birmingham) fill in the knowledge gaps. She and I participated in A101 together in 2017 and represented our state, Alabama, again this year. Through A101, we formed both a friendship and professional partnership, thus creating an ideal team dynamic in our advocacy efforts.
Looking back, I am thankful for the knowledge, experience and friendships gained through participation in A101. In addition to the educational experience and the thrill of speaking to Congressional representatives, the event affords an opportunity to meet colleagues from other institutions who share a common passion for improved patient care and encourages mingling with leaders within the ACR, an opportunity rarely available to fellows in training.
I am excited to return to D.C. each year as part of Advocates for Arthritis and continue to advocate for quality medical care for all of our patients. I encourage all trainees to seek out opportunities to get involved with advocacy and continue these efforts as their careers advance.
With enthusiasm and dedication, anyone can fight for a cause. Advocacy 101 molds this passion into a strong, successful advocate. I strongly recommend fellows seize the opportunity to complete A101, with the next session slated for 2019. Information on how you can participate in 2019 will be posted on the ACR’s website (https://www.rheumatology.org/Advocacy/Advocates-for-Arthritis) when available. In the meantime, peruse the ACR’s Legislative Action Center (https://www.rheumatology.org/Advocacy/Legislative-Action-Center) for fact sheets and information on the important topics discussed here and other key issues.