Editor’s note: The new Pillar Talk column is developed by the ARHP Executive Committee in an effort to share information about ongoing activities related to our four pillars: Education, Practice, Research and Advocacy.
ARHP volunteers are actively involved in the ACR’s efforts to advocate for the care of our patients and the rheumatology professionals who provide such care. A key area of focus over the past year has been to address changes proposed by the new administration regarding healthcare provision and reimbursement for rheumatology professionals who provide that care. The ACR/ARHP committees at the center of this effort are the Government Affairs Committee (GAC) and RheumPAC. The efforts of the Affiliate Society Council, the Committee on Rheumatologic Care, the Board of Directors and the ACR and ARHP Executive Committees are also critical aspects of our advocacy efforts.
Government Affairs Committee
The GAC members represent the broader membership of ACR and ARHP and liaison with state and federal governmental agencies, congressional members and their staffs, and various organizations concerned with public policy. The GAC has diverse membership representation including volunteers from both the ACR and ARHP, the Fellows-in-Training Work Group, RheumPAC, the Annual Meeting Working Group, division directors, CORC (Committee on Rheumatologic Care) and the Committee on Research.
The ARHP representatives bring a rich mix of experience from a range of disciplines and hail from different areas of the country. Our representatives include Jan Stevens, BA, a practice manager from Michigan; Karla Jones, RN, MS, CPNP, a nurse practitioner from Ohio; Kaleb Michaud, PhD, an epidemiologist and researcher from Nebraska; and Victoria Menzies, PhD, RN, PMHCNS-BC, a nurse researcher and educator with a behavioral health background from Virginia. GAC Chair Angus Worthing, MD, FACR, FACP, works closely with GAC members and the ACR staff, including the new director of regulatory affairs, Kayla Amodeo. Kayla has an office in Washington, D.C., and is well positioned to lead our advocacy efforts.
Members of GAC meet monthly to monitor federal and state legislative issues that affect rheumatology professionals and patients. The committee creates position papers and develops agendas for the legislative efforts of the ACR.
Every year, the ACR/ARHP holds two major advocacy events in Washington, D.C.: the Leadership Conference in March and Advocates for Arthritis in September. During these events, ACR/ARHP volunteers and patients are provided education related to key issues and then make organized visits to legislators and their staff to help raise awareness of critical issues that affect rheumatology patients and the physicians and health professionals who provide their care. These visits are fun, informative and crucial to ensuring that the welfare of our patients and those who care for them are considered.