The ACR board of directors met Saturday in conjunction with the 2015 ACR/ARHP Annual Meeting. The following is a summary from the meeting.
Advocating for Rheumatology
Government Affairs Committee Chair William Harvey, MD, provided an update on the ACR’s progress on federal and state issues for rheumatology along with an update on recent changes in leadership (speaker of the house) in Washington, D.C., and how that would affect the ACR. He also discussed recent successes at the ACR Advocates for Arthritis fly-in, including the positive impact of the Advocacy 101 program focused on fellows and program directors. The ACR has engaged Greenberg Traurig, its current lobbying firm, to also assist with the many regulatory issues affecting the rheumatology community.
RheumPAC Chair Ed Herzig, MD, provided an update on RheumPAC activities, including status of fundraising efforts and impacts the ACR has made with lawmakers. He provided details of new strategies the RheumPAC committee is employing, including micro-targeting, campaign-style fundraising efforts, local contribution deliveries by ACR and ARHP members, and a new logo and materials. Dr. Herzig also thanked the Board and committee chairs for their important support and asked for their help in recruiting more colleagues to join RheumPAC.
Gary Bryant, MD, the ACR’s AMA representative, reviewed the importance of the ACR’s participation in the AMA Federation and how the ACR is able to impact policy and issue outcomes through our work in the AMA House of Delegates and other venues (CPT and RUC). He described efforts to increase the number of ACR members who are AMA members so that the ACR can regain a second delegate. He encouraged the Board to take a leadership role in recruiting colleagues to join the AMA to support these efforts. The next formal five-year review of the ACR’s members and seats in the House of Delegates will be based on data from 2016. He also reviewed the resolution the ACR authored to expand AMA efforts to address high and escalating drug prices, which the ACR will take forward in the upcoming November AMA meeting. Among other issues covering a wide range of policy areas, the ACR will also be addressing a report that the AMA drafted in response to the ACR’s resolution from last year calling for the AMA to assist with the issue of Medicare contractors downcoding administration of biologics to the detriment of rheumatologists and patients.
ARHP and Rheumatology Research Foundation Updates
At this year’s Annual Meeting the ARHP is celebrating its 50th anniversary. ARHP President Kam Nola, PharmD, MS, shared a few of the ARHP’s achievements in 2015 and goals for 2016. In her overview of ARHP educational initiatives, she noted updates to the Advanced Rheumatology Course and the plan to launch online eBytes Rheumatology in 2016.
Dr. David Karp, Rheumatology Research Foundation President, presented highlights from the Foundation’s new five-year strategic plan. In addition to the current strategic areas of focus, the plan contains three additional, distinct areas that reflect the Foundation’s mission to advance research and training to improve the health of people with rheumatic disease. He also noted that the applications for Targeted Research Grants are due on Dec. 1 and an e-book detailing all of the Foundation offerings is available on the newly redesigned website, rheumresearch.org.
The Board approved the ACR Research Agenda for 2016-2020, presented by Chair S. Louis Bridges, MD, PhD, and Alexis R. Ogdie-Beatty, MD, MSCE, from the Committee on Research. The research agenda is intended to document important areas for rheumatic disease research and reflects priorities as identified by the rheumatology community at large and will be made available in the coming months at rheumatology.org.
Richard Bucala, MD, PhD, provided his first report as the new Editor-in-Chief of Arthritis & Rheumatology. He reported on submission and acceptance rates, geographic distribution of submissions, and major topics received. Dr. Bucala presented some of the top downloaded articles for 2014, and described A&R’s refocus on the publication of clinical trials.
Arthritis Care & Research Editor-in-Chief Marian T. Hannan, DSc, MPH, reported that the journal has received the highest number of submissions to date and detailed acceptance rates and topical distribution of articles. Dr. Hannan highlighted plans for enhanced readership involvement and reported that AC&R has shown a strong growth trajectory. She expects this trend to continue.
Simon Helfgott, MD, Editor of The Rheumatologist, provided a number of highlights from the past year. October marked the introduction of a complete redesign of the publication and followed a March launch of a re-architected and responsive website, the-rheumatologist.org. In addition, for the sixth consecutive year, The Rheumatologist was honored with an Award for Publication Excellence (APEX).
Importance of Collaboration
The Board received updates from Ann Palmer, Arthritis Foundation CEO, NIAMS Director Stephen Katz, MD, PhD, and James McNamara, MD, Branch Chief of Autoimmunity and Mucosal Immunology Branch of NIAID, about current initiatives that are affecting the rheumatology community.
Salahuddin “Dino” Kazi, MD, gave an update on the RISE Registry, which provides real-time access to data to guide practice decisions. An educational session, RISE Registry: How Is It Impacting Patient Care?, explaining how the RISE Registry can optimize practice performance and patient care, took place Monday, and more information is available in the ACR Discovery Center (in the Exhibit Hall) or by emailing [email protected].
General ACR Business
Joseph Flood, MD, Chair of the Committee on Nominations and Appointments, presented 308 applicants for the Board to approve as new members of the ACR/ARHP, which brings the total ACR/ARHP membership to 9,350. ACR Executive Vice President Mark Andrejeski was approved as an Honorary Member of the College.