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MN Governor Dayton Signs Legislation for Step Therapy Guardrails

MN Governor Dayton Signs Legislation for Step Therapy Guardrails

On May 19, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton signed HB 3196 into law! Step therapy legislation gives physicians a clear path toward getting their patients the medications they need. Having access to affordable, effective and specialized medication is critical for the 54 million Americans living with doctor-diagnosed arthritis nationwide, including over 900,000 in Minnesota. The Arthritis Foundation thanks the bill’s sponsors and Gov. Dayton for helping provide these patient protections to Minnesotans. Step Therapy is a practice used by insurers that requires people with arthritis to try lower-cost medications before allowing more expensive treatments, despite a physician’s recommendation. Ted Cadwell, Minnesota resident and advocacy chair ...more
TAKE CARE: Advocacy Blog Series

TAKE CARE: Advocacy Blog Series

Short-Term Health Plans We are continuing our advocacy blog series meant to help you take care when it comes to important arthritis health care and coverage issues. If you’re now just tuning into this series, check out previous advocacy blog posts here. Our last take care blog kicked off a focus on health insurance benefits and open enrollment. Today we explore short-term health plans, a type of insurance that has been on the market for some time but is receiving attention due to new actions taken by the administration. Read on to learn about these plans and why they are an ...more
Four Steps to Grill Safely and Prevent Accidents

Four Steps to Grill Safely and Prevent Accidents

Cookouts are popular summer and national holiday celebrations. But each year, nearly 17,000 people go to the emergency room because of a grilling accident, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Stay safe with these tips:  Set the Stage Place your grill away from overhanging objects and foot traffic, says Lisa Braxon, a public education specialist with the National Fire Protection Association. If you have a propane grill, check for leaks at least once a year: Sponge or spray the hose with soapy water; if you see bubbles, turn off the tank and grill. A local retailer or handyman can help with ...more
Exercise: It’s Just What Your Doctor Should Order

Exercise: It’s Just What Your Doctor Should Order

Doctors should routinely talk to all arthritis patients about the importance of physical activity and exercise, according to new recommendations from the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR). The recommendations, which received near-unanimous approval from an international team of experts, were published in July in Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases. In EULAR’s broad definition, physical activity includes exercise, sports, physical labor and ordinary chores like washing the car or gardening. According to the task force, physical activity is safe and effective for people with every type of arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis (RA), spondyloarthritis (SpA), and hip and knee osteoarthritis (OA) and should ...more
From Washington State to Washington DC, the 2018 National Juvenile Arthritis Conference Welcomed Over 1,800 Participants

From Washington State to Washington DC, the 2018 National Juvenile Arthritis Conference Welcomed Over 1,800 Participants

Each summer as school lets out and the weather starts to get warmer, there’s an excitement in the air felt all the way from Long Beach, California to the shores of Long Island, New York. There are always good reasons to be excited for some time off, but for many children, teens, young adults and their families affected by juvenile arthritis and related rheumatic diseases – the Arthritis Foundation’s National Juvenile Arthritis Conference has become the summer event to look forward to. Over two long weekends in late June and early August, more than 1,800 attendees made their way to Seattle, ...more
Relieve Arthritis Stress With Expressive Writing

Relieve Arthritis Stress With Expressive Writing

While living with arthritis can create stresses most people might not even think about, a technique called expressive writing may bring relief, both mentally and physically. For example, maybe you’re angry because pain is keeping you from joining friends on a shopping trip or playing with your kids – again. You may be stuck in anger. “But in addition to anger, you probably also feel grief, loss and a lack of control over the circumstances,” says clinical psychologist Mark Lumley, PhD, psychology professor at Wayne State University in Detroit. “Expressive writing can help bring forward those less-accessible feelings besides anger that ...more
Essential Oils: What You Should Know

Essential Oils: What You Should Know

Aromatherapy won’t cure your arthritis, but it may ease certain symptoms and help you feel better. For example, lavender is sometimes used to relieve anxiety and promote sleep. Some research shows aromatherapy may even have benefits for pain. Two small studies found aromatherapy massage with lavender or ginger and orange oils led to short-term relief of knee pain. “It doesn’t work for everyone, but some have good outcomes,” says Sue Cutshall, a Mayo Clinic integrative health clinical nurse specialist. However, as with other “natural” treatments, you should exercise caution when using them; in rare cases, they can be hazardous. Essential oils are ...more
TAKE CARE: Advocacy Blog Series

TAKE CARE: Advocacy Blog Series

It’s Never Too Early to Think About Open Enrollment We are continuing our advocacy blog series meant to help you take care when it comes to important arthritis health care and coverage issues. If you are just now tuning into this series, check out our previous blog posts on accumulator adjustment programs, pharmacist gag orders, President Trump’s drug pricing blueprint, drug rebates, premium increases, and an update on the Affordable Care Act. This week, we kick off our focus on health insurance benefits – it’s never too early to think about open enrollment! Whether you receive health insurance through an employer, Medicare, ...more
JA Conference Washington, DC - Kickoff

JA Conference Washington, DC - Kickoff

Superheroes Seen in Washington DC – the 2018 National Juvenile Arthritis Conference Begins Today! Nearly 900 superheroes – kids, teens, young adults and their families – from across the country, have been seen banding together in Washington DC! DC serves as the second location of the Arthritis Foundation’s signature National Juvenile Arthritis (JA) Conference. The JA Conference is a unique opportunity for families, kids, teens and young adults affected by JA and other rheumatic diseases to connect with others and spend the weekend networking, learning, sharing tips and forming friendships. Held at the Grand Hyatt in the heart of Washington DC, superheroes of ...more
Elliptical Machines Go Easy on Your Joints

Elliptical Machines Go Easy on Your Joints

Keep your body moving if you have arthritis. Exercise can reduce joint pain and stiffness as well as improve strength and balance. But what type of exercise is best? An elliptical trainer is a good option. This minimal weight-bearing stationary exercise machine mimics walking with a gliding motion. “The elliptical machine can be a beneficial form of exercise for people with knee and hip arthritis because it provides both strengthening and cardiovascular benefits while exerting less force on the joints,” says Maura Daly Iversen, DPT, MPH, a spokesperson for the American Physical Therapy Association and Associate Dean of Clinical Education, Rehabilitation, and ...more