Affiliate Society Council Reports Successful Advocacy Efforts in Rheumatology

Medical Professionals Report Progress in Advocacy Efforts for Healthcare Legislation

Medical professionals across the US are celebrating a successful year of advocacy for healthcare legislation. The American College of Rheumatology's Affiliate Society Council has reported solid gains in efforts to influence lawmakers on key issues.
ACR's Affiliate Society Council Reports Solid Gains in Advocacy Efforts - The Rheumatologist

State legislators typically meet from January to May each year, with healthcare consistently a top priority. Joseph Cantrell, JD, who tracks patient care legislation for the ACR, reported that several states made significant progress in 2018. This progress was largely due to the dedicated efforts of medical professionals collaborating with patient advocates and other stakeholders.

Medical professionals have been working tirelessly to advocate for their patients and communities. The past year has seen notable progress in expanding access to care, improving affordability, and enhancing the quality of care delivered.

One of the key issues addressed by advocacy efforts was the opioid epidemic. Medical professionals worked with legislators to develop and pass laws that promote safe prescribing practices, increase patient access to addiction treatment, and improve access to naloxone, the overdose reversal drug.

Another area of success was expanding access to telehealth services, which allow doctors to treat patients remotely. Currently, 31 states have laws that require insurers to cover telehealth services, and 16 states have laws that require payment parity for telehealth services.

These advances have been accompanied by a growing recognition of the importance of addressing the social determinants of health. Medical professionals have worked with legislators to implement programs that address issues such as poverty, housing instability, and food insecurity. By addressing these root causes of poor health, medical professionals hope to improve health outcomes and reduce healthcare costs long-term.

Medical professionals have also been at the forefront of efforts to protect patients with pre-existing conditions. They have worked with lawmakers to oppose efforts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, which prohibits insurers from denying coverage or charging higher premiums based on pre-existing conditions.

While medical professionals are pleased with the progress made in healthcare legislation, they recognize that much work remains to be done. Access to affordable healthcare remains a significant challenge, particularly in states that have not expanded Medicaid. Medical professionals will continue to work with legislators to expand access to care and to address the skyrocketing cost of healthcare.

The ACR is a professional organization dedicated to advancing the field of rheumatology and improving patient care. The Affiliate Society Council is composed of representatives from regional rheumatology societies throughout the US. The Council serves as a liaison between these societies and the ACR, working to advance the interests of rheumatologists and their patients.

The successes of the past year demonstrate the importance of advocacy efforts by medical professionals. By working together to influence legislation, medical professionals can improve the health and wellbeing of their patients and their communities. As the 2018 state legislative sessions come to a close, medical professionals can take heart in the progress made, and look forward to continued success in the years ahead.

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