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2011_01_01

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Press Release

Congressional Leaders Honored for Advancing Rheumatology

Senators Bond and Lincoln receive American College of Rheumatology Award for Public Leadership

ATLANTA— The American College of Rheumatology today announced Senators Christopher Bond (R-Mo.) and Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) as the 2010 recipients of the College's Award for Public Leadership in Rheumatology.

"Senators Bond and Lincoln have been outstanding advocates," says Tim Laing, ACR member and Government Affairs Committee chair. "There are nearly 50 million adults—and 300,000 children—in the United States suffering from arthritis, and the senators' efforts in 2010 helped to prevent, treat and care for rheumatology patients."

Senators Bond and Lincoln sponsored health care bills that advanced the importance of Rheumatology. Senator Bond was the lead Republican sponsor of the Arthritis Prevention Control and Cure Act, legislation that would have enhanced rheumatic disease research and public awareness. Senator Lincoln was the lead sponsor of the Medicare Fracture Prevention & Osteoporosis Testing Act, a bill created to restore funding for osteoporosis preventive screenings. In addition, Senator Lincoln has been instrumental in supporting the Affordable Care Act, legislation that ensures patient access to bone density scans, which help detect osteoporosis.

Rheumatic diseases such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis often strike people in the prime of life and can be crippling and life-changing. Rheumatologists are devoted to effectively diagnosing, managing, and treating these diseases to help patients avoid serious co-morbidities, disability, and even death.

The American College of Rheumatology is an international professional medical society that represents more than 8,000 rheumatologists and rheumatology health professionals around the world. Its mission is to advance rheumatology. For more information, visit www.rheumatology.org or follow ACR on Twitter at http://twitter.com/acrheum.

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Editor's note:

In addition to partnering with Senators Bond and Lincoln, some additional advocacy accomplishments include:

  • Met with Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Donald Berwick, MD, to discuss the value of specialty care, health care delivery systems and quality.
  • Participated in a roundtable discussion with key Administration officials at the White House regarding health care delivery systems.
  • Partnered with eight patient organizations to coordinate "I Need My Rheumatologist" Call-In Day. The effort flooded Congressional offices with 3,000 calls demanding that Medicare patients have access to rheumatology treatment.
  • Facilitated U.S. Senate sign on letter to ensure Medicare reinstated the consultation codes and quality of care for patients with complex conditions.
  • Met with members of Congress and staff to educate them on issues important to the rheumatology community.

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