With every decade of life, I am increasingly grateful for the advances that research has produced. These advances go much further than microwave ovens and cell phones. We have seen major strides in treatment of patients with rheumatic diseases.
The Rheumatologist: January 2008
The ACR REF/Abbott Health Professional Graduate Student Research Preceptorship introduces students to rheumatology-related healthcare by supporting a graduate student’s full-time research in the broad area of rheumatic disease.
Ann Kunkel, an advocate and healthcare profes- sional, knows the devastation arthritis can cause. All four of her children have some form of arthritis. “My kids have dealt with this disease for more than 20 years,” says Kunkel. The experience of raising four children with arthritis has been a driving force in Kunkel’s advocacy efforts for over 11 years.
Spinal stenosis, or narrowing, is a common condition that occurs when the small spinal canal that contains the nerve roots and spinal cord becomes restricted. This narrowing can squeeze the nerves and the spinal cord, causing lower back and leg pain. People suffering from spinal stenosis have trouble walking any significant distance and frequently must sit or lean forward.
In 1976, a group of rheumatologists convened in Park City, Utah, to discuss the rheumatic diseases of childhood. In many ways, this was the beginning of the pediatric rheumatology subspecialty in the United States.
The ACR consistently urges Congress to support issues relating to rheumatologists, rheumatology health professionals, and patients. The primary advocacy goals are: supporting of the “Arthritis Prevention, Control, and Cure Act of 2007” (H.R.1283/S.626) and the “Access to Medicare Imaging Act of 2007” (H.R.1293/S.1338), finding a permanent solution to the Medicare reimbursement issue, and increasing funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH)—including the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases—and other agencies, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Medical and Prosthetic Research Program.
The size of the rheumatology patient population is projected to increase dramatically over the next decade, and there is an urgent need to recruit and train the next generation of rheumatologists. The ACR Research and Education Foundation (REF) is committed to funding the necessary training and education programs to help combat the negative workforce trend, but it is up to you—today’s academic rheumatologist—to attract and train new clinicians and researchers.
January’s Coding Challenge
January’s Coding Answer
What do you do when a patient misses an appointment? While an opening in the schedule might seem like a good time for staff to take a break or catch up on their to-do lists, missed appointments are a growing problem in physician practices. With today’s need to maximize every dollar, practices should take a closer look at the effect these missed appointments have on their bottom lines.
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