rikki, don’t lose that number

Wednesday is an important day for arthritis and other patient advocates; it’s “I Need My Rheumatologist” capitol call-in day.

I’m sure by now almost everyone has heard that, unless Congress acts fast to fix the sustainable growth rate (SGR), the formula used to determine payment to doctors, rheumatologists (and all other doctors!) will see a 23-percent cut to Medicare reimbursement payments. (Here’s an interesting commentary on SGR and Medicare.)

This is unacceptable. Everyone has the right to affordable health care. (The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations in 1948, states that “everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of oneself and one’s family, including food, clothing, housing, and medical care.”) How many people will no longer be able to see their rheumatologist—or any rheumatologist—if Congress doesn’t act? How many rheumatology practices will have to close or cut back if they can no longer afford to accept Medicare patients?

Seriously, it seems like a no-brainer, Congress.

Organised by the American College of Rheumatology, numerous patient organisations have jumped on board, including the National Psoriasis Foundation, Arthritis Foundation, Lupus Foundation of America and the Spondylitis Association of America.

So, pick up the phone tomorrow and take 30 seconds to call your representatives. To quickly and easily reach lawmakers, dial the AMA Grassroots Hotline at (800) 833-6354. ACR is recommending we start the conversation with, “I need my rheumatologist (or, “My loved one needs his/her rheumatologist”). Please fix the SGR before Nov. 30 to ensure access to my doctor.”


(P.S.-Feel free to use the button I whipped up.)