Did you know that there are more state legislators in this country than practicing rheumatologists? There are more than 7,300 state legislators alone, and each represents tens of thousands of constituents.
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As providers, you have a unique expertise that can be valuable to legislators in making decisions on biosimilars, research funding, insurance reform and a host of other issues that affect you and your patients every day. In the same way that you want to hear about your patients’ symptoms, those 7,300 legislators want to hear from their provider constituents about the issues they are facing. All you need to do is speak up.
This article offers practical ideas to help you more easily connect with those who represent you.
Program Your Elected Officials into Your Contacts List
If someone asked you to call your representatives today, would you have the time to find their contact information and send them a message before your next patient?
An easy solution is to type in your address at the link here and create a contact in your phone for both your state senator and state representative with their capitol phone number and email. The next time you are frustrated that your patient has to endure yet another step therapy protocol because they changed employers, speak up. It will take you less than 5 minutes to write or call your elected officials and explain why, as a constituent, you would like them to support step therapy reform.
As a best practice, you want to keep emails under one page and phone calls to under 5 minutes. Speak clearly and concisely.
Be the Expert Who Speaks Up
As a resident, you can provide comments before legislative committees and explain how an issue, such as prior authorization, affects you. You do not need to be invited by legislators or an official organization to offer public comment. As a best practice, reach out to your state medical association and the ACR advocacy team to let them know that if an issue comes up, you would like to provide comments. The ACR can help you with talking points and brief you on the process.
Request In-District Meetings with Your Representatives
There are more ways to meet with your representatives than traveling to D.C. or your state capitol. They represent you based on your shared geography and, accordingly, live and work in the same areas as you. Your members of Congress and state legislators can meet with you or send staff to meet with you at their district office or your office, or even meet you for coffee somewhere in between.