The elimination of consultation code services, the repeated battle to avert Medicare cuts, the need for increased research funding, the creation of a loan repayment program for pediatric rheumatologists, and fair costs for drug therapies are all issues that members of Congress have influence over. All of these issues affect the rheumatology profession, whether you are a clinical practitioner, researcher, academic, or health professional.
Often, people wonder what their advocacy efforts will do. Here is a simple answer: ACR and ARHP members’ active engagement in advocacy efforts will increase Congress’ awareness of rheumatology and will have a direct impact on the legislative actions that affect the subspecialty. And, because the ACR will be on Capitol Hill this month, starting your advocacy efforts is easier than ever.
Start with a Phone Call
ACR and ARHP members and patient advocates will visit Capitol Hill Tuesday, March 16, to discuss important issues with Congress. Called Advocates for Arthritis, this visit engages rheumatologists, health professionals, and patients in advocacy efforts. Talking to members of Congress educates legislators and can influence those who make key decisions in health policy. Even if you aren’t able to be on Capitol Hill, make the week of March 15 your week to call your U.S. representative and senators. Simply tell them you are a rheumatologist or rheumatology health professional and educate them on the most important issues affecting your profession. Hundreds of calls from rheumatology professionals coming in the same week that the ACR is on Capitol Hill will make a huge impact.
How Do You Contact Congress? You may contact Congress through the American Medical Association Grassroots Hotline: (800) 833-6354 or through the ACR Legislative Action Center at www.capwiz.com/acr.
Need Assistance Articulating Your Message? ACR staff will guide you in creating the most effective message for your communication. E-mail the government affairs staff at [email protected] for help.
Stay Prepared: Join Advocacy Conversations
Join the ACR’s Advocacy listserve at www.rheumatology.org to join conversations that will keep you informed about the issues and prepared to take action. Advocacy is an important part of advancing rheumatology. Start your efforts this month, and educate those who are making decisions that affect you, your patients, and your profession.