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Dr. Rami Eltaraboulsi (to right of flag).

More than 100 physicians, advocates and patients recently met with members of Congress, asking them to support bills that would reform insurance practices that can delay patients’ access to medicines.

The attendees educated lawmakers regarding challenges associated with “Step Therapy,” which causes patients to first try medications preferred by their insurance company before the insurer will approve the medication that has been prescribed by the patient’s physician.

In addition, the group updated legislators on the current and increasingly significant shortage of rheumatologists — especially pediatric rheumatologists — and means to help correct the problem.

The group of medical professionals and patients was participating in the American College of Rheumatology’s (ACR) annual “Advocates for Arthritis” meeting, which focuses on patient needs and policy issues affecting patients and their providers.

“It was a privilege to have this unique opportunity to take part in the meetings on Capitol Hill, because we were addressing some of the most important issues affecting the field of rheumatology at this time,” said Dr. Eltaraboulsi, who is a fellow in the UNC Division of Rheumatology, Allergy & Immunology.

For more information, you may wish to read this press release from ACR.