Patrice Johnson, Platinum Ambassador, CA
California State Advocacy Committee Member | Live Yes! Online Community Forum Moderator

The COVID-19 pandemic has radically affected all our lives. On the advocacy front, Arthritis Foundation Advocates and Ambassadors were concerned that we could not meet in person with our legislators to advocate for our priorities, especially as the pandemic made legislative changes even more necessary. Many of us came to the solution of meeting virtually. Continue reading Advocating During a Pandemic: Advocacy and Arthritis Go Hand in Hand

The Arthritis Foundation is pleased to announce that Gov. John Bel Edwards has signed HB 263 into law as Act 181. This law strengthens protections for Louisianans who are living with arthritis and cements Louisiana as having one of the strongest step therapy laws in the country.

Act 181 was prioritized and passed during the COVID-19 pandemic and will improve the state’s existing step therapy law. Also known as “fail first,” step therapy is a process that forces patients to try and fail drugs insurance companies choose, before the patient gets to use the medication their doctor originally prescribed. This may occur even if you are already taking a medication and doing well on it.

Our Advocates’ stories powered this success and will help Louisianans like the Floyd family — who have endured burdensome step therapy requirements for the treatment of their daughter, Emily, who was diagnosed with systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis at the age of 9.

Emily and Maria Floyd, Arthritis Foundation state advocacy chair from Lafourche Parish

“I want to thank State Rep. Mike Huval for the introduction of HB 263 to update Louisiania’s step therapy law. My hope is renewed for my daughter, who suffers from a form of juvenile arthritis, so that she will not have to unnecessarily continue to try and fail on multiple drugs not prescribed by her doctors, which would end up causing her greater joint damage. I know this bill will make a difference for so many families like ours.”

Our Advocates were persistent and informed state legislators about the importance of this measure, which received a unanimous vote in the Senate and a near-unanimous vote in the House. Now that Act 181 has been signed, Louisianans will have timely access to the medications they need, when they need them.

If you are a Louisiana resident, send a letter thanking Gov. Edwards for his support.

If you have experienced step therapy, or “fail first,” we want to hear your story. Share your experience with our Story Bank tool.

Advocacy Champions joined Advocacy staff online for the first Virtual Advocacy Leadership Retreat on March 10, 2020. Volunteers developed the entire program before COVID-19 made an in-person event unsafe. They designed keynotes, breakout sessions and “how to” advocacy posters in order to teach one another about advocacy leadership. Keeping programming true to the volunteer leaders’ plans while switching to a staff-run webcast was a unique challenge. Continue reading 2020 Virtual Advocacy Leadership Retreat: Key Takeaways From 20 Years of Advocacy

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I was full of nerves and excitement a year ago when my son and I traveled to Washington, D.C. to attend an Advocacy Summit. My son decided to become an Arthritis Foundation Junior Ambassador, and to support him I signed up as an Ambassador. I had no idea what to expect, but I was hoping to help my son find his voice. The funny thing was, I found mine. Continue reading 2020 Virtual Advocacy Leadership Retreat : The Power of Presence

Earlier this week, nearly 100 of the Arthritis Foundation’s most committed Advocates and Ambassadors tuned in to our Virtual Advocacy Leadership Retreat. Coronavirus stopped us from gathering in person. But it couldn’t stop us from unleashing the power of our Advocates to influence members of Congress from afar. Continue reading 2020 Arthritis Advocacy Leadership Retreat: What It Means for You

Advocacy in Action. What a great day spent with the Arthritis Foundation at the Tennessee State Capitol! On Tuesday, February 4th, my girls and I participated in our first Arthritis Advocacy event. We were there to talk about the TN Step Therapy Reform bills, HB 1866 and SB 1935. This was a great experience for me and I’m so glad I was able to share the experience with my kids. We are already looking forward to returning to the capitol in the future to continue educating and sharing the experiences of arthritis patients with our Representatives!

Continue reading The Fight for Step Therapy Reform is Personal

surprise medical billing

When it comes to medical billing, transparency is vital. Individuals undergoing an emergency procedure or surgery often face heavy financial burdens through co-payments and deductibles alone; the stress and anxiety of recovering both physically and mentally from a medical issue already takes a tremendous toll. The last thing a patient needs or wants to deal with when recovering is an unexpected medical bill. Continue reading People Before Politics: Congress Must Solve Surprise Medical Billing

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