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multidisciplinarycare

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Position Statement on Multidisciplinary Care

Subject

Multidisciplinary Care for Patients with Rheumatic and Musculoskeletal Diseases

Presented By

American College of Rheumatology
Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals

For Distrubution To

Members of the American College of Rheumatology
Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals
Medical Societies
Managed Care Organizations/Third Party Carriers
Members of Congress

Background

Rheumatic diseases are often complex and affect many aspects of a person’s life. Effective management and best outcomes require access to a diverse group of health professionals. Appropriate multidisciplinary care provides a coordinated program of medical management, education, physical and occupational therapy, counseling and vocational support, and possibly surgery to manage the disease, relieve pain, and maintain optimal quality of life.

Best outcomes occur when the rheumatologist, other health professionals, and the patient assess the patient’s status and responses to treatment, and update the management plan on a regular basis. The role of the rheumatologist in this care is to provide a diagnosis, develop a treatment plan, and take an active role with other health professionals to manage the patient’s physical, psychological, and social functioning. Multidisciplinary care addresses comprehensive therapeutic goals that are meaningful to the patient. Because rheumatic diseases are chronic, patients require education to effectively self-manage and have access to services as needed.

The arthritis care team may include the rheumatologist, primary physician, nurse, nurse practitioner, physician assistant, physical therapist, occupational therapist, physiatrist, psychiatrist, psychologist, orthopedic surgeon, social worker, registered dietician, vocational counselor, and others. Timely and ongoing access by the person with arthritis to health care professionals in a number of disciplines is necessary to effectively manage the disease, promote health, and reduce disability.

Position

The American College of Rheumatology and the Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals, a division of the American College of Rheumatology, support timely and affordable access to multidisciplinary care and rehabilitation services for patients with rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases. Appropriate care from a variety of disciplines is efficacious in achieving outcomes and reducing disability.

The American College of Rheumatology and the Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals are opposed to efforts to restrict rheumatic diseases patients’ access to rheumatologists and other health care professionals.

Approval Dates:  3/7/03, 8/16/07