How you can help: Send a letter to Congress showing your support.
As we look ahead in 2020, the ACR government affairs team will be tackling several issues:
- Implementing the E/M payment increases for 2021
- Tracking proposals related to drug pricing
- Advancing legislation in the areas of:
- Utilization management, including prior authorization and step therapy;
- Workforce/loan repayment; and
- NIH/DOD funding for rheumatology research.
- Tracking changes to MACRA and the new MIPS Value Pathways (MVPs)
- Addressing issues such as DXA and musculoskeletal ultrasound reimbursement
- Monitoring other legislation that could affect our members, such as congressional proposals to control surprise billing
Advocates for Arthritis
Each year I ask several patients to consider applying for the Advocates for Arthritis meeting so they can see firsthand what it is like to travel to D.C. to advocate. I let them know this meeting will give them the opportunity to speak to members of Congress and congressional aides and share their experiences.
In 2019, I was fortunate to have a physician patient join me, and he was inspired and surprised by what he learned behind the scenes in D.C. He connected the implications of legislation to both his practice of medicine and his experience as a patient. Advocates for Arthritis let him speak to legislators about his personal experience with limited access to and delays in seeing a rheumatologist, his access to biologic medications being restricted by insurance despite his position as a practicing ENT surgeon and knowledge of payer issues, his appreciation of the time spent in the room with me discussing treatment options, and his concern over the rise in price of medications. He learned how to tweet, which was amplified by his social media-savvy daughters.
These Hill visits with him illuminated what the College accomplished in 2019.
Thank you for your time, efforts, enthusiasm and perseverance. I am looking forward to an ongoing conversation about how advocacy and health policy affects you and your patients and how you can help.
Wishing you and yours a Happy New Year!
Blair Solow, MD, is chair of the ACR Government Affairs Committee and an assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Rheumatic Diseases at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.