Rheumatology Providers Outline Policies to Improve Access to Arthritis Care and Treatments; Address National Workforce Shortage
The American College of Rheumatology today announced its 2017 health policy priorities, providing detailed policy recommendations to improve access to care and treatments for the 54 million Americans living with arthritis and other rheumatologic diseases.
The policy prescriptions come in the wake of a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report showing arthritis prevalence is at an all-time high. According to the report, 54 million Americans – one in four people – now live with arthritis, and approximately 79 million will have arthritis by the year 2040.
“As the alarming CDC data indicates, now more than ever we need policies that ensure the one-quarter of Americans living with arthritis can access and afford specialized care,” said Sharad Lakhanpal, MD, MBBS, President of the American College of Rheumatology. While the demand for arthritis care is growing, the pool of U.S. rheumatologists – doctors who provide specialized care to Americans living with arthritis and other rheumatologic diseases – is shrinking as more rheumatologists retire from the profession and fewer new doctors enter the rheumatology subspecialty. According to the ACR’s 2015 workforce study, the demand for rheumatology care exceeded the supply by 36 percent for adult rheumatologists and 33 percent for pediatric rheumatologists in 2015 – a gap that is projected to widen to 138 percent and 61 percent respectively by 2030.
The ACR’s policy priorities for 2017 include actions that Congressional and Administration leaders can take to ensure a thriving rheumatology workforce, as well as to address current healthcare access and affordability issues.
The ACR’s policy priorities for 2017 include:
“We look forward to working with Congressional leaders and the Administration to advance policies that ensure access to high-quality, specialized care for the 54 million Americans living with chronic and debilitating rheumatologic diseases,” concluded Lakhanpal.
To view the full text of the ACR 2017 Health Policy Statements, click here (http://www.rheumatology.org/Portals/0/Files/ACR-Health-Policy-Statements.pdf).
About The American College of Rheumatology (ACR)
The American College of Rheumatology (ACR) is the nation's leading advocacy organization for the rheumatology care community, representing more than 9,500 rheumatologists and rheumatology health professionals. As an ethically driven, professional membership organization committed to improving healthcare for Americans living with rheumatic diseases, the ACR advocates for high-quality, high-value policies and reforms that will ensure safe, effective, affordable and accessible rheumatology care.
SOURCE: The American College of Rheumatology (ACR)