2014 Advocacy Summit
About the Summit
The Arthritis Foundation’s 16th annual Advocacy Summit was held March 24-26, 2014 in Washington, D.C. The Summit brought together nearly 300 key arthritis advocates from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Advocates met with members of Congress to drive home the pressing needs of people with arthritis.
“The Arthritis Foundation is committed to educating our lawmakers on the devastating toll arthritis takes on our nation’s health and economy,” says Scott Weaver, CEO of the Arthritis Foundation, Great West Region. “The support of the U.S. Congress in improving access to care for the millions of adults and children living with arthritis is critical to alleviating the burden of arthritis in our country.”
The Arthritis Foundation, Great West Region was honored to have a delegation of 32 advocates attend this year’s Summit (pictured, at right), with representation from all Great West Region areas including Alaska, Northern California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
Heard Around the Halls
As arthritis advocates from across the country walked the halls of Congress to meet with their legislators, many powerful stories were overheard.
“Because there are no pediatric rheumatologists in the state of Idaho, we drive 600 miles twice a month to see the closest specialist.” ~ M.K.
“Insurance is supposed to spread the risk in an equitable fashion among everyone who is insured. However, my medication falls under more expensive, specialty tiers, which make it harder for me to afford the drugs I need to manage my arthritis.” ~ I.G.
“I had to retire early because of the osteoarthritis I developed while serving in the military. It’s made life hard, and keeping a job even harder. ~ D.W.
Our Policy Priorities
The Arthritis Foundation’s advocacy priorities for 2014 include:
- supporting legislation that will make medications more affordable for patients with arthritis.
- reauthorizing a pediatric subspecialty loan repayment program to address the critical shortage of pediatric rheumatologists in the U.S.
- including post traumatic osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis research at the Congressionally Directed Medical Research at the Department of Defense.
Major strides were made in 2013 through the work of the Arthritis Foundation’s Public Policy department and its army of grassroots advocates across the country.
- Arthritis advocates successfully fought to maintain $557 million in research funding at the National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Department of Defense.
- Advocates also took on Medicare coverage of infused drugs and successfully convinced the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to demand a reversal of harmful policies.
Join the Movement
While there are many reasons to celebrate, there is more work to be done to give those with arthritis a brighter future. Your story can influence change - whether by a phone call, an email, or a personal visit with a legislator. There are two easy ways to get started - sign up as an Arthritis Advocate or as an Arthritis Ambassador.
As an Arthritis Advocate, you'll receive Action Alerts in your inbox when important arthritis-related issues are debated on Capitol Hill. In 5 minutes or less, you'll be able to write your elected officials and tell them their constituents care about arthritis and how it impacts our communities. Learn more.
Arthritis Ambassadors are volunteers committed to taking part in the democratic process and serve as liaisons between their Congressional District’s Representative and the Arthritis Foundation. Ambassadors are asked to commit 2 hours/month
for at least one year to the program. Learn more.
For more information on the Advocacy Summit or to learn how you can get involved, email Johanna Lindsay at firstname.lastname@example.org, visit www.arthritis.org/advocacy/advocate-news/advocacy-summit, or call the Arthritis Foundation at 888.391.9389.