The ACR has had many critical recent advocacy successes—some primarily through our own advocacy efforts, but others due in part to the ACR’s work in broader coalitions. One of the most important of these relationships is with the American Medical Association (AMA), the country’s largest and most visible physician society. Given our relatively small subspecialty, the ACR’s involvement with the AMA provides rheumatology with a megaphone to amplify our voice at both federal and state levels.
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2022 is a particularly critical year for the ACR’s representation in AMA policy bodies and its ability to participate in and influence the AMA’s policy decisions. We are entering our five-year membership review, in which the ACR must demonstrate enough of its members have joined or renewed their AMA membership. We cannot afford to be sidelined and lose rheumatology’s voice with the AMA at this critical juncture. We need all U.S. ACR members’ help by joining or renewing their AMA membership to protect our members and our subspecialty, as well as our patients’ access to care.
This representation allows the ACR to add to AMA official policies and spur AMA action on issues important to our specialty. In recent years, the ACR has authored and led or cosponsored actions on key rheumatology issues, including:
- Pharmacy benefit manager reform;
- Copay accumulator policies;
- Stakeholder engagement in Medicare Administrative Contractor Policy;
- Complex treatment administration and reimbursement;
- Fighting payer financial incentives to patients for switching treatments;
- Stopping mandatory payment models from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Innovation Center and elsewhere;
- Home infusion issues;
- Biosimilar interchangeability;
- Drug pricing issues;
- Private payers and consultation codes;
- Prior authorization and Medicare Advantage; and
- Step therapy reform.
By joining or renewing your AMA membership, you will help rheumatology maintain its seat at the table where key policies are made. The ACR will be able to continue to participate in many areas of the AMA that directly affect you and your patients. Key groups include:
- House of Delegates, the legislative and policy-making body of the AMA. Resolutions have the potential to become official policy of the AMA or directives that determine where the AMA focuses its advocacy and policy efforts as the largest and most visible physician association in the country;
- Relative Update Committee (RUC), which advises Medicare on how to value a physician’s work; and
- Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) Advisory Committee, which determines codes and billing for outpatient and office procedures.
The College’s collaboration with the AMA in these and other areas yields positive results for our members and our patients. In fact, many of the AMA’s stances and actions on issues of importance to the rheumatology community were initiated or influenced by the ACR’s involvement in the AMA’s House of Delegates and other processes.