2018-01-23 20:48:32 UTC

Tell Congress: Protect the Care of and Research for Digestive Disease Patients

Jan. 23, 2018

Join AGA Virtual Advocacy Day — Thursday, Jan. 25.

In the ever-changing health care research environment, it is up to us to look out for the future of gastroenterology and digestive disease patients. We need to let Congress know that:
  • Patients need access to preventive colorectal cancer screenings.
  • Patients need protections to ensure they receive the treatment that is recommended by their physician in a timely manner.
  • A robust federal research program is vital to continuing advances in digestive disease research and improving patient care.
Sheila Crowe, MD, AGAF, AGA Institute president, will be on Capitol Hill on Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018, asking legislators to cosponsor legislation that is vital for gastroenterologists and their patients, and to increase funding for NIH. 
Let your voice be heard.
Join Dr. Crowe on Thursday, Jan. 25, for AGA’s Virtual Advocacy Day. Follow the easy instructions below to contact your congressional representatives and let them know the importance of this issue to you and the GI community. 
These links will prompt you to a new page with a form and pre-drafted letter. Please feel free to edit and personalize the email based on your professional experiences.

Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening Act (H.R. 1017/ S. 479)

AGA has supported this legislation for years, as it would fix the current Medicare screening colonoscopy coinsurance waiver issue to guarantee patients don’t need to pay coinsurance regardless of the outcome of their colonoscopy. Currently, beneficiaries are responsible for the coinsurance when a polyp or lesion is found and removed, which was never congressional intention when this benefit was included in the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Read more about the issue and how you can explain it to your patients

Restoring the Patient’s Voice Act (H.R. 2077)

This legislation provides physicians and patients a clear, transparent and equitable appeals process when subject to step therapy (also known as “fail first”) protocols. With the increase of infusion therapies and biologics on the market to treat inflammatory bowel disease, this insurance practice is becoming more common for GIs and their patients, and can be detrimental in trying to manage and control their conditions. Read more about the issue

Increase NIH Funding 

Congress has been unable to reach a long-term resolution on the funding bill and has been passing continuing resolutions to keep the government funded and prevent a shutdown. Congressional appropriators have recommended increases for NIH funding, but without a long-term funding bill, there is a risk funding will continue to lag. The $2 billion increase represents the minimum investment necessary to avoid further loss of promising research and to allow the NIH budget to keep pace with inflation. Read more about the issue
Our impact lies in the strength of your involvement. You can help advocate for increased research funding and influence health care policy affecting digestive disease patients by participating in AGA’s Virtual Advocacy Day. Get involved today by contacting your local officials about this important issue. If we don’t speak for patients and our profession, no one will.

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