On Wednesday, Sept. 23, the ACR held the second installment of its RheumPAC Happy Hour series with a virtual legislative update and Q&A discussion with Rep. Kim Schrier, MD (D-Wash.). These events allow current RheumPAC donors to hear firsthand about the latest happenings in Congress and help alert legislators about important outstanding issues for the rheumatology community.
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RheumPAC Chair Zach Wallace, MD, opened the call by introducing Rep. Schrier, who has the unique perspective of being a former pediatrician and the only woman of the 17 current physicians in Congress. Additionally, through her own experience as a patient living with type 1 diabetes, she understands the importance of patient access to care for those living with pre-existing conditions.
Amidst a busy time in Congress with a possible looming government shutdown, a stalled COVID-19 relief fund package and an opening on the Supreme Court bench, Rep. Schrier gave attendees an insider’s perspective of many healthcare legislative items.
The rest of call was dedicated to a Q&A for attendees. Participant questions touched on a variety of topics, including:
• Congress’s involvement in the updates to evaluation and management code reimbursement;
• The status of medical workforce shortage legislation and what is needed to get funding authorized for the Pediatric Subspecialty Loan Repayment Program;
• General issues with prior authorization and specific problems facing the pediatric rheumatology community;
• The likelihood of more COVID-19 relief funding for healthcare organizations and how to ensure funds get to actual providers;
• The status of drug pricing reform legislation that has stalled in the House;
• Potential implications of Affordable Care Act provisions with a new Supreme Court makeup; and
• How ACR members and physicians in general can be a good resource to their members of Congress year-round.
Overall, the conversation proved informative for both RheumPAC donor attendees and Rep. Schrier.
RheumPAC will continue to find innovative ways to connect with members of Congress and hopes to provide additional opportunities for ACR/ARP members to interact with legislators. Visit www.rheumpac.org to learn about future events, the latest RheumPAC efforts or to make a donation.