AWIR July Advocacy Newsletter
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Happy summer greetings to all our members and partners! With summer finally upon us and vacations to plan and enjoy it can be hard to focus on other issues. Policy makers create and change rules and laws year round and this year of 2016 continues to be a busy one.  Lots of rules and policies are changing that could greatly impact our practice of medicine and our patient’s access to care. 
Below are five key topics to be informed about. MACRA approaches rapidly with 1/1/2017 starting the first year for reporting that will affect reimbursement in 2019. The opioid crisis continues to take far too many lives daily and in some cases the backlash is affecting some patient’s access to these medications for their chronic pain. Medical marijuana was recently approved in some states where it is legal, and it is being  considered, or pending legislation already introduced in others. Biosimiliars are on the horizon as well with one currently approved and 2 others close behind.

 You are encouraged  all to take a little time to click on the links below and become informed on these issues. Enjoy the long, warm summer days.  AWIR will be hosting  their  East Coast meeting in Hilton Head August 11-14, 2016! An Advocacy Panel will be featured. Here is the link to register:

Did you know that the ACR and CSRO have created learning resource pages and information? Very little will impact your bottom line more than MACRA in the coming years. The ACR is reviewing APMs for rheumatologists as well as options to best prepare and participate in both pathways of MACRA. Click on the links below to start learning and preparing!


Links to more MACRA information from CSRO

Federal and State Advocacy can promote better health for patients.

Partnering with your State society and patient advocacy groups can further the care of our patients as you working together for legislative action in your state or on the Hill.

Below are links examples of  how well advocacy can work. Additionally a link to the Arthritis Foundation webpage relating to advocacy can serve as a resource for you in your efforts.

Links for Additional Information
Biosimiliars are a reality in medicine. Many states have legislation over informing patients and providers if a Biosimiliar is going to be substituted for the originator product. Many states still have no legislation about this. In just a matter of time, these products are going to be on the market and utilized. Understanding what they are and the regulations surrounding them is crucial!

Additional Links for More Information
Medical marijuana is a serious issue and many patients are asking about its use. Knowing your state and federal laws will help you navigate this issue. Some states have already legalized medical marijuana. Many patients will be using this or requesting prescriptions for medical marijuana, so please take time to educate yourself on this important issue.

State Medical Marijuana Laws
The Opioid Crisis is upon us in every state!
 Every day the news reports deaths related to opioids, and nearly as often, calls to the state and federal agencies for tighter legislation governing the prescribing of these medications. Many prescribers fear writing these medications due to the new stringent rules, leaving many patients that struggle with chronic pain suffering. Read more from a
JAMA article discussing this complication and its negative effect on some geriatric patients. The Senate is holding hearings on Medicare Part D beneficiaries and opioid use.

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