On March 6, dozens of ACR leaders walked the halls of Capitol Hill to talk with lawmakers about issues affecting the rheumatology community. Members of the ACR’s Executive, Government Affairs, and RheumPAC Committees, along with the Affiliate Society Council, attended 75 meetings with legislators and their staff. The congressional meetings focused on preserving patient access to rheumatology by repealing the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR), ensuring patient access to treatment by restricting Tier IV co-pays, and continuing the search for cures and advanced treatments for patients with chronic conditions through funding for NIH.
These meetings are critical to advancing awareness of rheumatology and the issues affecting your profession and patients. Lawmakers respond to constituent stories from their districts and home state. It is important for you to communicate to your lawmakers how the continually looming SGR cuts affect your ability to care for Medicare patients, how Tier IV co-pays burden your patients, the vital need for funding for research devoted to finding a cure and effective treatments for rheumatic diseases, and any other issues you are passionate about. Each and every member of Congress needs to recognize the value of specialty care, and your story is the key to that understanding.
Contacting Congress Is Easy
Call your members of Congress using the AMA Grassroots Hotline at (800) 833-6354 or send an e-mail through the ACR Legislative Action Center at www.rheumatology.org/advocacy.
You can also visit your members of Congress at home. Congress is on recess March 31 through April 15, and now is the perfect time to schedule a meeting with your legislators. Face-to-face meetings provide an intimate opportunity for you to discuss issues of importance to the rheumatology community and leave a lasting impression on your members of Congress. Visit the ACR Legislative Action Center at www.rheumatology.org/advocacy to find the district office nearest you or e-mail [email protected] for assistance in scheduling your meeting.
For tips and tools on communicating your message and for information on the ACR’s legislative priorities, check out the Advocacy Toolkit at www.rheumatology.org/advocacy. See also ACR’s Advocacy Toolkit.