The Arthritis Foundation Applauds the Cancellation of the Medicare Part B Demonstration

Advocates and Members of Congress Praised for Their Support of Access to Care.

ATLANTA (December 20, 2016) – The Arthritis Foundation, along with its network of more than 135,000 Advocates, is celebrating a massive victory today with the cancellation of the Medicare Part B Demonstration proposed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) aimed at changing medication reimbursement.  The proposed demonstration would change how Medicare providers are paid for provider-administered drugs, making it unfeasible for many physicians to offer in-office treatments, such as biologic infusions that help many of the 50 million Americans living with arthritis manage their pain and mobility limitations.  

If the Medicare Part B Demonstration passed, participation would have been mandatory for many physicians and affected approximately 75 percent of the Medicare population. Hindering access to care, many Medicare patients would have been forced to travel far distances to hospitals or medical centers for provider-administered drugs and charged more per treatment, as hospitals often cost patients more. In addition, there was concern that this demonstration could have had an impact beyond Part B and ultimately affected patient access to Part D drugs. 

“Today is a victory because our Advocates, along with members of Congress and other like-minded organizations, heard our plea and partnered together to cancel the Medicare Part B Demonstration proposal,” said Sandie Preiss, national vice president for the Foundation’s Advocacy & Access program. “It is important that we fight for people with chronic diseases, including arthritis, to ensure patients have access to the medical care and drugs that make it possible for them to live their best life possible.”

Since its announcement earlier this year, the Arthritis Foundation and its Advocates spearheaded a campaign, similar to many other like-minded organizations, to stop the implementation of this CMS demonstration. Foundation Advocates from around the country penned more than 1,700 letters to Congress as well as made in-person visits to discuss the devastating effects of the proposal. Through their letters and visits, Advocates helped obtain more than 240 signatures from members of Congress on a congressional letter opposing the proposal, influencing President Obama to cancel the demonstration.

In addition to rallying its network of Advocates, the Arthritis Foundation led a patient-provider letter-signing campaign that was supported by more than two dozen groups and co-authored an op-ed article with the American College of Rheumatology. Together with its Advocates, other concerned groups and members of Congress, the Arthritis Foundation praises President Obama’s cancellation of the proposed demonstration. 

About the Arthritis Foundation:

The Arthritis Foundation (arthritis.org) is the Champion of Yes. Leading the fight for the arthritis community, the Foundation helps conquer everyday battles through life-changing information and resources, access to optimal care, advancements in science and community connections. The Arthritis Foundation’s goal is to chart a winning course, guiding families in developing personalized plans for living a full life – and making each day another stride towards a cure. The Foundation also publishes Arthritis Today, the award-winning magazine that reaches 4 million readers per issue.

Press Contact:
Claire Villines
(404) 965-7558
cvillines@arthritis.org