Exciting things are happening here in Washington, D.C.! Not only is September Rheumatic Disease Awareness Month, but also Advocates for Arthritis will bring patient advocates and rheumatology healthcare professionals face-to-face with Members of Congress. Together we will advocate for improvements to patient care – but we need your help.
Step Therapy Delays Needed Treatment
Have you had trouble getting coverage for the treatment your doctor prescribed because of step therapy? This practice places the financial interests of insurers and pharmacy benefits managers (PBMs) above the expertise of healthcare providers by requiring patients first to fail one of the “preferred” therapies before they agree to pay for the one your doctor thinks will work for you. It endangers patient health by lengthening the amount of time it takes to get them on effective treatment. You can make a difference by asking your lawmakers to support The Safe Step Act of 2019. This bill would place reasonable parameters around the use of step therapy.
More Rheumatologists Are Needed
Did you know there is a shortfall of over 1000 adult rheumatologists and 100 pediatric rheumatologists nationwide, and these workforce shortages are growing? A timely diagnosis and treatment for rheumatic disease is critical to prevent permanent disability and avoid costly procedures. However, with our field facing a shortage of clinical providers, there isn’t enough supply to meet the demand. Two bills in the House, the EMPOWER for Health Act (H.R. 2781) and the REDI Act (H.R. 1554), would provide incentives for more medical students and professionals to choose the rheumatology subspecialty. We need your help encouraging representatives to support this bill so patients can get access to the care they need in a timely manner.
Timing is Critical
This event is crucial to amplify our patients’ voices on Capitol Hill. You can follow the activities of our advocates on the Hill during the fly-in using the hashtag #Act4Arthritis.
It is so important that representatives hear from patients like you and know the impact of these issues. Thanks in advance for supporting this year’s Advocates for Arthritis!
Dr. Angus Worthing