Across America, millions of people living with rheumatic disease are finding it increasingly difficult to afford their treatments and access specialized healthcare. That’s why the American College of Rheumatology and its Simple Tasks public awareness campaign have released a first-of-its-kind Rheumatic Disease Report Card. The report card seeks to answer the question: “How easy is it to live with rheumatic disease in my state?”
Explore this issueOctober 2018
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“The goal is to both inform and empower the public and policymakers to address key healthcare access, affordability and lifestyle issues that impact quality of life for the millions of Americans who live with a doctor-diagnosed rheumatic disease,” says Kelly Weselman, MD, FACR, RMSK, RhMSUS, chair of the ACR’s Communications and Marketing Committee and a rheumatologist with Wellstar Rheumatology, Smyrna, Ga. “With approximately 25% of the U.S. population living with a rheumatic disease, we need to prioritize issues that are limiting the medical care of patients. We cannot afford to ignore this.”
Grading Rheumatology Care
The report card, launched as part of Rheumatic Disease Awareness Month (RDAM), was created by an interdisciplinary ACR task force comprising practicing rheumatologists from the College’s committees on Communications and Marketing, Government Affairs and Rheumatology Care. Task force members, including Dr. Weselman, were responsible for determining the report card grading indicators, methodology and weighting, and key messages.
The report card assigns grades to individual states according to their progress on three important aspects of care: