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2019 Advocacy Summit – A Busy First Day Readies Advocates for a Day on Capitol Hill

2019 Advocacy Summit – A Busy First Day Readies Advocates for a Day on Capitol Hill

Yesterday, more than 300 Advocates from all parts of the United States came together in Washington, DC, filled with fire as they get ready to voice their personal stories to make real and meaningful changes for the arthritis community.

The Arthritis Foundation’s 2019 Advocacy Summit kicked off on Monday, March 11, 2019, with an exciting welcome by Foundation President and CEO Ann M. Palmer. The day included motivational and educational breakout sessions where Advocates learned about key legislative asks to support top issues affecting the arthritis community’s access to affordable care. They also learned some important tips and tricks for their Capitol Hill meetings and had the opportunity to participate in a Live Yes! Connect Group demonstration.

The intensive day of training and information concluded with the Excellence in Advocacy Awards Dinner. Seventeen-year-old Ethan Berkovitz from Solon, Ohio, was awarded the Emerging Leader in Advocacy Award for his continued efforts to raise awareness of the disease by actively advocating on Capitol Hill and the Ohio Statehouse, as well as being the go-to team captain for the Walk to Cure Arthritis and Jingle Bell Run.

 

Karen Anderson of Santa Barbara, California, was awarded the Edward M. Kennedy Advocacy Leadership Award for her many years of advocacy on behalf of the Arthritis Foundation. Karen is attending her 11th Advocacy Summit and has been a Platinum Ambassador since its inception. She began volunteering for the Arthritis Foundation after her daughter, Kristin, was diagnosed with systemic scleroderma, one of the over 100 forms of arthritis, at the age of 15. Karen’s introduction to the Foundation was at a JA Conference, and since then she has been a passionate volunteer at the local, regional and national levels. She has served as Walk to Cure Arthritis chair, advisory board chair, regional public policy and advocacy chair and as a member of the national public policy committee.

Representatives Brad Wenstrup (R-OH) and Raul Ruiz, MD (D-CA), received the Advocacy Leadership Award for fighting to reform step therapy requirements nationwide and break down barriers to care for people with arthritis.

A record 70 Platinum Ambassadors were also recognized for going above and beyond the call of duty by accomplishing a challenging list of advocacy needs, all while raising funds to support our efforts to conquer and cure arthritis.

At the end of the day, Advocates were preparing themselves for hundreds of meetings they have in store with members of Congress. During these meetings, legislators will be asked to discuss legislative priorities like reforming burdensome step therapy practices and making access to vital treatments easier and more affordable. They will also be urged to support funding for arthritis research at the Department of Defense and to join the Congressional Arthritis Caucus – a group for members of Congress that serves as a clearinghouse for information regarding arthritis and its devastating toll on our population and economy.

Join us on March 12 at 12:00 p.m. ET to help amplify the impact of our in-person meetings with legislators by participating virtually in our #AdvocateforArthritis social media campaign. Print out this sign and, in one sentence, written large and legibly, tell us why you #AdvocateforArthritis!

Take Action to #AdvocateforArthritis

2019 Advocacy Summit Social Campaign

Kerry Wong Platinum Ambassador

Did you know that the Empowered to Live Yes! Advocacy Summit is taking place in Washington, DC this March 11-12? There, our Advocates and Ambassadors will gather together to be the voice for arthritis on Capitol Hill. We’re calling on you to help amplify the impact of our in-person meetings with legislators by participating virtually in our #AdvocateforArthritis social media campaign on Tuesday, March 12.

Staci Penner Platinum Ambassador

On Tuesday, March 12  our 2019 Advocacy Summit participants will be on Capitol Hill to meet their elected officials and their staff in person to discuss legislative priorities like reforming burdensome step therapy practicesbuilding the congressional arthritis caucus, and even securing funding for research for a cure!

You have an important role to play in making sure these messages stand out to our members of Congress—you can help us #AdvocateforArthritis by participating in our social media campaign. With over 97% of Congress using social media platforms like twitter and facebook to connect with their constituents and learn about what is important to them, we have an enormous power to influence our policymakers by uniting online!

You can take action in five easy steps: 
  1. Create your sign: Print out this sign and in one sentence, written large and legible, tell us why you #AdvocateforArthritis!
  2. Take your picture: Hold your sign and snap a picture- it’s important that your words are large and easy to read in the picture. Ask a friend to take your picture so they can help make sure your message is clear!

    Maggie Barrett Junior Ambassador
  3. Set an alarm: Our goal is to flood the internet with our messages of hope and determination at 12:00 pm Eastern Time on March 12. Coordinating our posts will help our hashtag gain traction on social media. Set an alarm on your phone or calendar right now to remind yourself to post your picture online at 12:00 pm eastern on March 12!
  4. Plan your Post:Your post can be simple, just reiterate the reason that you #AdvocateforArthritis! You’ll want to make sure to include the hashtag #AdvocateforArthritis and tag the Arthritis Foundation. You can find us on FacebookTwitter @ArthritisFdn and Instagram @arthritisfoundation.
  5. Send it live: On March 12 at 12:00 pm Eastern Time, your alarm will ring to tell you it’s time to share your story online. You can view all of the posts in our social media aggregator on our Advocate 101 web page.
If you want to take your post to the next level, you can:
  1. Tag your members of Congress. Your post can tell them why you #AdvocateforArthritis and to keep an eye out for our Advocacy Champions on the Hill that day.
  • Example tweet: “I #AdvocateforArthritis with the @ArthritisFdn because patients are the ultimate stakeholders in health care. @ SenatorCantwell& @PattyMurray, look out for our Arthritis Advocates on Capitol Hill this March 12!”

    TheMoschitta family #Advocatesforarthritis
  1. Share a Link to our Action Center. Encourage your friends to take action by your side by sharing a link to org/actioncenter. There they’ll be able to pick an action alert of their choice that will allow them to send a pre-formatted letter to Congress,emphasizing the asks from our Advocacy Summit. This will help us amplify the voices on Capitol Hill an encourage members of Congress to support our arthritis priorities.
  • Example tweet: “I #AdvocateforArthritis with the @ArthritisFdn because patients are the ultimate stakeholders in health care. Take action with me by sharing your story with Congress at arthritis.org/actioncenter
  1. Raise Awareness for your Walk to Cure Arthritis Team Page.By posting your reason to #AdvocateforArthritis with a link to your team or donation page, you have an opportunity to reach new people with your message and motivate them to help contribute to research for a cure.
  • Example tweet, “I #AdvocateforArthritis because I am one of the 300,000 children in the United States with juvenile arthritis. You can support my @ArthritisFdn advocacy by joining or contributing to my Walk to Cure Arthritis Team. [Include a link to your team page]”

Post your pictures with our #AdvocateforArthritis hashtag and we will show the world that we are Empowered to Live Yes!

Here are some sample signs to help you brainstorm:
Heidi Barrett Platinum Ambassador
  • I #AdvocateforArthritis because sharing my story gives me hope and purpose in my daily battle with this disease.
  • I #AdvocateforArthritis because people with arthritis deserve a cure.
  • I #AdvocateforArthritis because my child lives with JA & because of the Arthritis Foundation, she knows she/he is not alone.
  • I #AdvocateforArthritis because I need to protect my access to my medications so that I can continue to walk.
  • I #AdvocateforArthritis because I am the 1 in 3 military veterans that came home with this disease.

Related Resources:

Arthritis 101 Hill Briefing Introduces a New Congress to Arthritis and the Military

On February 13, 2019, dozens of Capitol Hill staffers joined the Arthritis Foundation, the American College of Rheumatology and other patient organizations for a special Arthritis 101 briefing on arthritis and the military. Approximately one in every three U.S. veterans has doctor-diagnosed arthritis, while the general population stands at one in four, about 25 percent. Continue reading Arthritis 101 Hill Briefing Introduces a New Congress to Arthritis and the Military

Importance of Step Therapy Reform

Step therapy, also known as “fail first,” is a tool used by insurers that requires patients to try a less expensive treatment, or series of treatments, before they can access the drug originally prescribed by their physician. Overly burdensome step therapy requirements can jeopardize the patient-provider relationship and unnecessarily prolong ineffective treatment, preventing patients from immediately starting, or in some cases continuing, to access the most appropriate treatment recommended by their doctor. Continue reading Importance of Step Therapy Reform

Connecting | More than Ever Before! Celebrating the Record Breaking 70 Platinum Ambassadors

A record number of individuals achieved the Arthritis Foundation’s highest advocacy honor in 2018 and became Platinum Ambassadors. At the 2019 Advocacy Summit, March 11-12, in Washington, DC, participants will be able to connect with the 2018 cohort of 70 Platinum Ambassadors who will be recognized for their outstanding advocacy achievements on behalf of the arthritis community. Registration for the Advocacy Summit closes on February 4 – register today! Continue reading Connecting | More than Ever Before! Celebrating the Record Breaking 70 Platinum Ambassadors

Step Therapy Reform Moves Ahead in Georgia

On Wednesday, January 23, a group of Georgia Advocates gathered at the state capitol building to talk to legislators about step therapy reform. The event was attended by Advocates from across the state,including a mother and daughter who drove from three hours away to talk about the challenges they’ve faced getting access to their medications. The day included a visit from the bill sponsor, Rep. Sharon Cooper (R-43), a brief overview of current step therapy practices and role playing, as well as meetings with some of Georgia’s legislators.

Our Advocates talked to legislators about step therapy, which is an insurance practice that requires patients to use a lower-cost drug before permitting more expensive treatments, despite a physician’s recommendation. Rep. Cooper shared with our Advocates that her bill will create guardrails, allowing a physician to override a step therapy request if the requested medication will negatively react with a medication the patient is already taking, or if the patient has previously tried and failed that drug.

The bill has just been introduced and will go through the Georgia House and Senate chambers for review and votes. Please take a moment to take action by reaching out to your legislators and asking them to support step therapy reform in Georgia.

 

 

 

 

 

Related Resources:

Take Care Series

TAKE CARE: Advocacy Blog Series Bringing It All Together

We’ve reached the end of our advocacy blog series, and now it really is time to say “take care”!

Throughout this series, we’ve shined a spotlight on some of the hot button issues in health policy that can have an impact on your health care. The blog series was meant to help you take care when it comes to important arthritis care and coverage issues. With open enrollment for Medicare and the health care exchanges closing soon, we wanted to close out the year’s blog series reminding you of those important deadlines for health care. You can check out the year’s Take Care blog posts here. Continue reading TAKE CARE: Advocacy Blog Series Bringing It All Together