This week, on behalf of those fighting rheumatic diseases, the ACR brought 110 rheumatologists, rheumatology professionals, patients and others affected by rheumatic disease to the nation’s capital for its annual Advocates for Arthritis event.
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Fellows and program directors gathered Sunday to learn about the work the College does in the advocacy and policy arena. All participants joined the conference on Monday for an in-depth, day-long, issues education and training program. In addition to learning best practices for advocacy, participants also reviewed the issues they would discuss with lawmakers during Tuesday’s meetings.
Given the daily challenges patients face, policymakers must be informed of the healthcare challenges associated with rheumatic diseases and urged to take concrete steps to improve the quality and availability of care. During Tuesday’s meetings on the Hill, a total of 117 legislators representing both major political parties were educated on the rheumatology community’s support for legislation that would codify exceptions to step therapy requirements and take measures to boost the rheumatology workforce to meet the demand of U.S. patients. Our framework for addressing drug pricing issues was also left with each office for reference, because policies in this arena continue to develop.
After their meetings, many of the advocates expressed their gratitude toward legislators on social media using #Act4Arthritis.
You can still help us advocate for expanding treatment and reducing barriers to care through the ACR’s Legislative Action Center. There, you can track important legislative initiatives currently being debated in Congress and share your story with legislators. You can also join the fight and show your support for rheumatology advocacy by investing in RheumPAC this week.
United, we can effect significant, long-lasting change for those suffering from rheumatic diseases.