The Arthritis Foundation, and more importantly, the arthritis community need your help—before it’s too late. Nationwide funding for Arthritis support programs and research is comparatively lower than other government funded disease support and research. Prior to 2015, CDC Arthritis support and research received $13 million in funding, but, after recent budgetary cuts, those resources have been cut to $9.5 million annually.
A Realistic Look at Numbers
Realistically, the $13 million was only capable of creating funded programs for people living with arthritis in 12 states.
Think about it: 12 out of 50 states—for one of the world’s most prolific diseases—effecting millions of Americans including 300,000 children every year.
Now, take away 30% of the previously allocated funding.
Those 12 out of 50 states now have to cut anywhere from 10-50% of their funded arthritis programs under the provisions of the reduced budgeted funding.
Simply put: less funding for programs means less consistent efforts to improve the lives of people living with arthritis, less progressive improvement for people living with arthritis who can take advantage of the programs, less progressive improvement means lower standards of quality of living for people with arthritis and related illnesses.
Lack of Consistency→ Lack of Improvement→ Decrease in Quality of Life
Each and every one of the 12 states featuring funded programming for improving the lives of people battling arthritis deserves our urgent support.
Existing State Funded Programs
To give you an idea of what sorts of programs could be cut or underfunded as a result of this, here are a few examples of the programs this $13 million helps out:
- The New York State Department of Health Arthritis Program collaborated with other state programs to develop a Partner Portal to improve accessibility to self-management programs; the online portal is a catalog for all available courses and permits course registration for a variety of audiences, including potential participants—increasing the number of workshops ten-fold and doubling the number of health systems delivering workshops.
- The Rhode Island Arthritis Program developed a Community Health Network that connects the healthcare system to localized programs centered in communities across the state which will allow 340,000 people to access programs in the coming year—the programs which rely on instructors will see an additional 127 new instructors further increasing accessibility to programs state-wide.
- The Michigan Arthritis Program (MAP) has helped partners across the state to offer quality programs proven to help people with arthritis and other chronic conditions by tripling the number of health systems offering the evidence-based self-management programs.
- The California Arthritis Partnership Program (CAPP), along with the leadership of the California Department of Aging (CDA) and Partners in Care Foundation (PICF), played a pivotal role in expanding the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program and guiding the California Healthier Living Coalition; so far, this has aided in the development of 16 Delivery System partners including large health insurers, national drug stores, and local county health departments.
- The Missouri Arthritis & Osteoporosis Program (MAOP) developed a Health System Business Plan for Self-management Program Implementation and has been able to offer more programs in multiple languages, allowing MAOP to offer programs in more communities as well as involving more community agencies as partners.
Whether you ask local rheumatologists, volunteers or people living with arthritis what these programs mean to them, they will all tell you they’re a critical part of the treatment puzzle.
Take Russell Otte, 65, of Edina, Missouri, who participated in the Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program (AFEP); he was inspired to become trained as a leader, a move his doctor supports. “My doctor was really pleased. He sees my life has improved, and tells me to keep on doing the activities.” Otte began a new AFEP in September at the Community Center in Edina.
If you ask Dr. Rebecca Turner from Macon, Missouri, local AFEP events at the Macon Senior Center provide a much-needed outlet for physical activity and community support, “People can benefit from this safe and fun exercise group. There is no cost to participate because of the grant funding assistance. The people who access these programs appreciate the encouragement offered by the group and the time spent with others also made them more mentally alert.”
If CDC funding for arthritis is not restored to $13million in 2016, programs like the ones in Missouri and other funded states will suffer, if not end.
You Are Helping Us Make Headway on This Issue
Since our initial call-for-action, with your help, we’ve made great progress. Nearly 150 legislators have been contacted and nearly 900 letters have been sent to the Hill.
In just a short amount of time, our voice is being heard and our message rings clear: “People with Arthritis Deserve More.”
There’s Still Time
This is where YOU get to use your voice in concert with ours to be a true Champion of Yes in our effort to restore the CDC Arthritis Program to its full funding level of $13 million.
Take action today. It takes 2 minutes to tell your leaders “People with Arthritis Deserve More—Restore Arthritis Funding to $13 Million in 2016.”
The twelve states directly affected by the potential continuance of this funding cut are below:
- New York
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
If you live in one of these states, please instead fill out this targeted request specific to leaders in your area
Your action will help hundreds of thousands of people living with arthritis across the country—it’s not too late!