Dr. Cohen is president of the ACR. Contact him via e-mail at [email protected].
- Clayton CP, Battinelli DL, Ladenson PW, AAIM Task Force on Fellowship Recruitment. Halfway toward healing a broken system: Fellowship recruitment in internal medicine. Am J Med. 2004;117:69-71.
The Next Six Months Are Critical to Repealing SGR
This year has proven to be a frustrating year for all of us. We have repeatedly faced the prospect of a steep 21 percent cut to our Medicare payments, and have been anxiously waiting for Congress to take action. Although we finally received a temporary fix, our real work lies before us.
The Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula has been flawed from its inception, but Congress has repeatedly placed temporary patches on the problem and ignored the need for a permanent solution. The price tag to implement a permanent fix has grown to over $210 billion and will continue to rapidly increase. The future of Medicare is at risk. This approach cannot continue.
The ACR has been actively engaged in advocacy efforts for several years, urging Congress to permanently repeal the flawed formula. For several years this has been our top legislative priority during the annual Advocates for Arthritis fly-in in Washington D.C. ACR and ARHP members have been encouraged repeatedly to reach out to their respective members of Congress to ask for a permanent fix. That work will continue.
We have developed Medicare posters and fliers for your offices to help you educate and include your patients in our efforts. We have sent, and will continue to send, independent and coalition letters to Congressional leadership informing them that this “kick-the-can” approach to the SGR is unsustainable. We have submitted, and will continue to submit, articles to major media outlets. Patient organizations will continue to be urged to get involved to ensure that seniors maintain access to their physicians.
As your professional organization, the ACR is doing all that it can, but it is through the grassroots efforts—all rheumatologists, all physicians, all health professionals, and especially all of our patients—that must individually and collectively step up, take action, and demonstrate to Congress that this issue is real and it must be addressed now. Mobilizing millions to make phone calls, write personalized letters, and meet with Congressional members is what is absolutely essential to making a difference.
Rheumatology is a small subspecialty, but we see millions of patients. The ACR is committed to working with the American Medical Association, American College of Physicians, and other medical specialties, as well as patient organizations, to mobilize the masses to ensure that by November 30, Congress will pass a permanent repeal to the SGR and Medicare patients will be comforted knowing they are no longer at risk of losing their physicians.
The growing rheumatologist workforce shortage has loomed over the profession, threatening to undercut the delivery of care to the increasing number of patients with rheumatic conditions. “The workforce shortage is an existential threat to the field of rheumatology and to the care we deliver to our patients,” says ACR President Kenneth Saag, MD, who lauded…
Ten years have elapsed since the ACR conducted its last workforce study, and we know that much has changed. The comprehensive patient-centered, integrative approach to the 2015 ACR/ARHP Workforce Study of Rheumatology Specialists in the United States (now publicly available) describes the character and composition of the current clinical workforce, recognizes demographic and employment trends,…
Tips on getting started, overcoming challenges, maintaining a successful fellowship program
ATLANTA—Every year at its Annual Meeting, the ACR recognizes its members’ outstanding contributions to the field of rheumatology through an awards program. The ACR is proud to announce 20 award recipients for 2019, honored for their accomplishments as clinicians, instructors or researchers who have helped advance rheumatology, for their commitment to inspire others to enter…