The SGR repeal bill—the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA)—sets up an entirely new payment environment that will be further developed and phased in over the next several years. MACRA will change medical practice more than the ACA. Implementation of MACRA is a sea change for academic and hospital-based practices, and it has the potential to be an existential threat to many in private practice. These are just a few examples of what’s at stake. So it’s clear to me we’re in a high-stakes, high-pressure game. We need all fingers pointing in the same direction. Here’s what we can do.
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Explore This IssueSeptember 2015
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Our Team Playbook
There are a number of tactics and strategies we can employ to succeed together. We have to be effective on both sides of the court.
1) Reach out—Get known by your representatives
Each of us should know our lawmakers in Congress and state legislatures. Lawmakers listen to whom they know. How does each of us on the rheumatology team develop a meaningful relationship with lawmakers and get our message across?
We show up—our No. 1 tactic. When the game is on the line, we show up in Washington, D.C., as part of the ACR’s main fly-in, Advocates for Arthritis, and meet with lawmakers and their staff. I can tell you that the staff and lawmakers recognize us as we walk into their office wearing our Simple Tasks bent fork pins. We can also show up at our state capitols in the same way, where a lot of critical policy making takes place.
We show up at the local offices of members of Congress. These district offices are staffed with people whose jobs are to communicate with their constituents. There is nothing standing in the way of stopping by the local office and developing relationships with your representative or their staff. Another way to engage lawmakers is by inviting them to visit your practice. Most members of Congress are not aware that rheumatologists receive years of additional training to provide expert care to patients with arthritis and rheumatic conditions. What better way to show them the specialized care you provide than by inviting them to your office?
You can find contact information for your representatives at the ACR’s Legislative Action Center. You can also prepare by reviewing and sharing the ACR’s Issue Briefs, available on the ACR website in the advocacy section. Check out tips and resources on the ACR’s website. Feel free to contact ACR Government Affairs staff at 404-633-3777 or firstname.lastname@example.org for help.