What have you found rewarding about getting involved in advocacy efforts?
Advocacy has given me another purpose and way to help my patients—more at a global level. In addition, I have made great friends from across the country that I look forward to seeing every year at Advocates for Arthritis and at ACR Convergence. Physician advocacy may even help reduce burnout.
What if advocacy seems intimidating?
Anyone can participate in advocacy! We as rheumatologists have so much knowledge and expertise to share with our lawmakers to help improve the care of our patients. Simply being able to explain the day-to-day issues you face is all the experience you need. And then, with the tools you learn in the Advocacy 101 program and Advocates for Arthritis, you will be amazed how easy it can be.
What types of issues are raised?
We advocate for issues related to improving the lives of our patients, decreasing health disparities and expanding the rheumatology workforce. These issues include streamlining prior authorization, making telemedicine accessible, eliminating physical therapy caps and much more. Specifically, at this year’s Advocates for Arthritis, we are focusing on prior authorization reform, drug pricing priorities and supporting the medical workforce.
How can prior Advocacy 101 attendees and seasoned advocates get involved?
Help us grow our pool of advocates by talking to your colleagues and even your patients about getting involved. Recruiting others to attend Advocacy 101 or Advocates for Arthritis is a great way to amplify the advocacy work you are already doing.
Outside of attending events like these, you can easily stay connected by signing up for action alerts in the ACR’s Legislative Action Center. This is a simple and quick way to send communications to legislators or editorials to your local paper. Also, a large part of being involved is simply knowing what is going on. Be sure to read through ACR@Work, the ACR’s semi-monthly advocacy e-newsletter, and follow @ACRheumDC on Twitter.