Rheumatology providers play a critical role in the well-being of patients. Unfortunately, many of the policy decisions that govern the delivery of rheumatology care are made by lawmakers without our input. So we have a critical responsibility to advocate on behalf of our patients to ensure they have access to rheumatology providers and effective treatments.
You Might Also Like
Explore This IssueApril 2021
Also By This Author
RheumPAC, the ACR’s nonpartisan political action committee (PAC), works to address this problem by educating and supporting federal legislators who are in positions to address the issues that impact rheumatology care providers and their patients. Every single dollar members donate to RheumPAC—no overhead or administration costs—goes directly to carefully chosen campaigns that give us the largest and most effective voice in Washington, D.C.
Read firsthand from your colleagues across the ACR and ARP about why they support RheumPAC and see it as an investment in the future of rheumatology.
Don’t Get Eaten
I donate to RheumPAC, because if you don’t have a seat at the table, you are on the menu!
Advocating for our patients and specialty in Washington, D.C., has shown me the importance of RheumPAC donations. I have been fortunate to participate in meetings with legislators that were made possible by RheumPAC. It opens doors to legislators who can enact beneficial policies for rheumatology professionals and our patients.
I appreciate that RheumPAC offers bipartisan support to vetted lawmakers who, regardless of which side of the aisle they are on, are supportive of our policies to protect and expand high-quality patient access to care.
I am proud that our small specialty has been able to make a difference for our patients through ACR advocacy efforts. Through the hard work of our volunteer leaders and ACR staff, I hope we can continue to grow our influence on Capitol Hill, but the onus is on each member of the ACR and ARP to step up to the plate and make that happen. Recent victories in evaluation and management valuation and fending off the Most Favored Nation CMS buy/bill demonstration project are only possible if we put our money where our collective mouth is.
Sean Fahey, MD
As a physician-scientist in an academic center, I place utmost importance on such issues as research funding and workforce training. My donations to RheumPAC have resulted in discussions between the ACR and our lawmakers on research funding priorities, as well as expansion of workforce training and loan repayment programs, through the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Department of Defense.
Often, lawmakers are unaware of how much rheumatic disease affects Americans and the disparity in research funding for these conditions. Having frequent conversations with lawmakers helps bring awareness, and RheumPAC donations promote those lawmakers who support our issues.
Kristine Kuhn, MD, PhD
University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus
Rheumatologists need to understand that RheumPAC is one of the only mechanisms whereby we can try to influence and affect the opinions of our legislators with regard to issues that are critical to the survival and well-being of all rheumatology providers and their patients.
Although we cannot compare our financial clout to that of the insurance, pharmaceutical and other special interest groups, our voice carries a much louder resonance with lawmakers because of RheumPAC, which can convey to lawmakers the number of constituents affected and the need to take care of their issues.
RheumPAC serves every rheumatologist’s well-being as demonstrated by—among other successes—recent reimbursement changes in our favor and the success of our advocacy showing that the implementation of proposed revisions to reimbursement guidelines for in-office infusion and other treatments would have closed practices.
Keeping RheumPAC well funded is critical and essential to our survival as a specialty.
Norman Gaylis, MD
Arthritis & Rheumatic Disease Specialties
The advocacy work of the College through RheumPAC is essential and offers an opportunity to engage with legislative leaders and discuss issues important to our patients and the entire rheumatology team caring for them.
My time and financial commitment to these efforts provide personal and professional satisfaction, as we strive to improve the lives of our patients and our ability to care for them with dignity, equality and respect.
I also appreciate the judicious stewardship decisions of RheumPAC when using my financial contributions to help meet the needs of all College stakeholders.
Hazel Breland, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, CLA
Medical University of South Carolina
I donate to RheumPAC because I have seen firsthand how it creates relationships between the ACR and lawmakers. These relationships allow our advocates to find out what is happening on Capitol Hill and intervene on behalf of our profession and our patients. This year, for example, CMS raised reimbursement for the care we provide and paused the latest ill-conceived demonstration project that would have cut infusion services we provide—all as a result of tireless advocacy of many people.
Even the most well-meaning government officials will always require our input about the complex nature of our work in the context of the larger U.S. medical system. RheumPAC helps us provide that critical input.
My medical practice also prioritizes annual donations to the RheumPAC Advocacy Fund because we know that advocacy protects our ability to provide the best quality care and treatments to our patients. Corporate donations like these allow the ACR to better advocate on our behalf.
Angus Worthing, MD
Arthritis & Rheumatism Associates, PC
Below are just a few examples of legislators supported by RheumPAC. These champions have been instrumental in advancing step therapy and prior authorization improvements, reauthorizing the Pediatric Subspecialty Loan Repayment Program, supporting access to telehealth, addressing workforce shortage issues and supporting appropriate Medicare reimbursement rates for healthcare providers.
Sen. Bill Cassidy, MD (R-La.)
Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minn.)
Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.)
Rep. David McKinley (R-W.Va)
Rep. Raul Ruiz, MD (D-Calif.)
Rep. Kim Schrier, MD (D-Wash.)
Rep. Brad Wenstrup, DPM (R-Ohio)
For a full list of campaigns supported, all donations made by RheumPAC are publicly disclosed at www.fec.gov/data.