As he prepares to take on his newest volunteer role with the ACR, leading the Government Affairs Committee (GAC), Angus Worthing, MD, FACR, FACP, is looking forward to making the most of the opportunities that a unified government can offer the ACR in advocating for rheumatology care.
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“Advocacy is an investment in our profession—regardless of political leaning. A unified government offers great opportunities to get legislation passed that can support our practice and our patient care,” he says.
Advocating in Washington
With Congress signaling an increase in funding to the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Worthing hopes that more funds will be directed toward important research for advancements in rheumatology treatment. In broader efforts to advance research in Washington, he plans to speak up for rheumatology-related research at other federal agencies, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Defense.
He’s also prepared to advance a rheumatology political agenda to other agencies in Washington, D.C. At the Food and Drug Administration, he will advocate for the effective management of biosimilar pharmaceuticals that can positively and cost-effectively affect the lives of rheumatology patients. Signals remain mixed about whether the Medicare Part B demonstration project will go forward, but Dr. Worthing hopes the ACR’s efforts will be fruitful and that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will support coverage of high-cost rheumatology medications; other items he will advocate for include realistic pay structures and payment models and practice support for rheumatologists paving new roads in advanced care.
Advocating for the ACR
Although Dr. Worthing has a passionate and informed message for D.C., he is equally passionate about supporting the internal work of the ACR, which he says is only as strong as its members. “Each of us interfaces with the College in unique ways, and when we do, we not only Advance Rheumatology!, we also form lifelong friendships.”
In fact, it was through the support of friends and mentors that Dr. Worthing became involved with the ACR. He attended his first ACR meeting on Capitol Hill with Sean Whelton, MD, during his training fellowship at Georgetown University Hospital, and he fell in love with the political process. Paul DeMarco, MD, invited Dr. Worthing to a leadership position in the Rheumatism Society of D.C., which led Dr. Worthing to his involvement in the ACR.
He asks ACR members to contact him with questions, comments or concerns; he also encourages them to stay informed by signing up for the ACR advocacy listserv through the ACR Professional Communities webpage, and to get involved by donating to RheumPAC and participating in ACR advocacy campaigns.