The ACR Needs YOU to Get in the Game
Recent Congressional actions have significantly affected rheumatology. The sequester, which took effect on March 1, cut Medicare physician payments by 2% and funding for research by nearly 5%. As we deal with the effects of these changes, one thing is clear: we must make advocacy efforts on behalf of ourselves, our patients, and our profession a priority. If we are not willing to stand up for rheumatology, no one else will.
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Explore This IssueMay 2013
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We all know it is not enough to simply talk to each other about the challenges we face. Each of us must make the personal commitment and the time to reach out to our legislators and educate them. Congress makes decisions on a daily basis that affect the way we practice medicine and get reimbursed. Legislators control how funds are allocated, including funding for NIH research. As they make these important healthcare decisions, it is critical that they know more about rheumatologists and our patients. You can play a leading role in making sure they are informed.
Fortunately, we can all engage and educate lawmakers without traveling to Washington, D.C. Members of Congress have district work periods nearly every month when they meet with constituents. To schedule a meeting, call your member’s closest district office. Another option is to invite your representative to your office where they can see the care you provide to your patients, who are also their constituents. These meetings will give you a chance to discuss the important issues facing rheumatology and lay the foundation for a relationship where you are a valuable resource on future healthcare issues.
You can also advocate for rheumatology by writing to lawmakers. The ACR website contains many examples of letters that have been sent to Congress and the presidential administration. These provide a good starting point and can be personalized to effectively convey your point of view. Another section of the ACR website, the Legislative Action Center, provides a platform for e-mailing Congress. Here, you can use suggested text on ACR legislative priorities or draft your own message to lawmakers.
Motivated advocates are the key to successfully influencing public policy. Will you get in the game and help show our members of Congress the vital role we play in their communities?
If you would like to get involved but are not sure where to start, ACR Government Affairs staff is eager to talk to you. They are able to assist with everything from obtaining contact information to scheduling meetings and providing talking points. Please take the first step to becoming an advocate by reaching out to them at (404) 633-3777 or firstname.lastname@example.org.