Advocacy: Targeted, coordinated, and tireless efforts led by Tim Laing, MD, chair of the Government Affairs Committee, Edward Herzig, MD, chair of RheumPAC, Adam Cooper, ACR director of government affairs, and our lobbyists, including former Senator Tim Hutchinson at Dickstein Shapiro, have succeeded in finding support for our key issues, with legislation being introduced to limit coinsurance for Tier IV medications (H.R. 460, The Patients’ Access to Treatments Act of 2013), and to exempt physician-administered drugs from sequester cuts (H.R. 1416). We continue to work with key committees in Congress, as well as with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), to ensure that the Sustainable Growth Rate formula will be repealed and replaced by a menu of options that allow for the appropriate management of patients with chronic, disabling, and life-threatening conditions. Ongoing efforts of the highly successful Simple Tasks campaign facilitate our interactions with Congress, and have worked hand in hand with our robust advocacy efforts. Those of you who know me well have come to expect a healthy dose of skepticism at every turn, but even I am encouraged by the willingness of the staff and leadership of key committees in Congress and CMS to listen to—and even to incorporate—our crucial feedback.
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Explore This IssueOctober 2013
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Quality: We look forward to the implementation of our revolutionary electronic health record–enabled registry, RISE, in early 2014. We expect that our unique registry will play a critical role in the design of the practice and payment interface of the future, while it facilitates improvement in quality of care and advances in our understanding of key clinical questions. Our QOC activities will continue to inform the development of RISE and to set the standards for care in our field—critical to our reputation as the principal professional home and quality standard–setting body for the field of rheumatology.
Education and Publication: While we are navigating the complex waters of the heathcare environment, we maintain an unwavering commitment to excellence in feeding the minds of the lifelong learners in our discipline. Positioned as the premier source of education for rheumatology professionals, our education enterprise embraces a philosophy of continuous quality improvement. Our programming offers a broad range of opportunities to review, renew, and update, with networking opportunities at our signature Annual Meeting, our State-of-the-Art Clinical Symposium, or the smaller, more personal Winter Rheumatology Symposium. We have developed a new certification program for musculoskeletal ultrasound, and are providing training programs for varying levels of skill. Education for Maintenance of Certification (MOC) has a home at the ACR, with original programming designed to meet the full range of needs for our members seeking both CME and MOC credit. Web-based programming continues to grow, so busy schedules, varying educational needs, or even location in the world does not limit access to the best education in the field. As our website and learning management technology is enhanced in the coming year, we will have the capability to expand the range and creativity of the programming that will be available worldwide. Similarly, our journals, Arthritis & Rheumatism and Arthritis Care & Research, continue to attract the best science in our field, and they will renew and grow to meet the changing needs and expectations of our members and of our discipline.