In Pennsylvania, we’re working on legislation to streamline patient access to care. And we can’t do it alone. On June 5, Arthritis Foundation Advocates traveled to Harrisburg for a state legislative day. They shared their stories with legislators and asked for support on two important bills.
Attendees of the legislative day had a morning training session where they learned about the issues and skills needed for the meetings. They saw how these bills would make a difference for people with arthritis and why it’s important to tell your story to lawmakers. Then they met with elected officials to talk about their personal experiences and why these reforms will improve patients’ lives.
Advocates like Kerry Ferraro and her daughter Abby know the value of sharing their story and taking advocacy into their own hands. “I advocate because it’s important for our family to share our story and be the voice for patients across the state,” Kerry says. “Educating legislators on the effects of arthritis, particularly juvenile arthritis and uveitis, is something we take very seriously. Elected officials need to hear from the people they represent so they can help put patient protections in place.”
People with arthritis face unique barriers to care: high costs of treatment, difficulty accessing medications, scarcity of specialists and more. At the state level, we’re working on legislation that would reform an insurance practice called “utilization management,” an umbrella term that includes processes like step therapy and prior authorization. These reforms make it easier for doctors to ensure timely access to medications and help patients get the treatments they need while streamlining administrative burdens.
We’re also working on a bill that would prohibit insurance companies from making changes to their drug formularies in the middle of a plan year. Currently, there is nothing stopping an insurance company from changing the specialty tier in which a drug is listed. This legislation not only prevents that, but also keeps an insurance provider from dropping the drug altogether.
You don’t have to attend an in-person event to share your story. We have a great story-banking tool that gives you the opportunity to use your voice and let us know why advocating matters to you. When you tell your story, we’re able to pair you with opportunities to engage, like blog posts, op-eds and meetings with legislators. Please share your story with us today!