“I need my rheumatologist.”

Congress enters its lame-duck session in two weeks. One of the issues our congresscritters (congressmen and senators) vitally need to address before the end of the year  is the Sustainable Growth Rate legislation, which determines at what rate physicians are reimbursed for treating Medicare patients.

If Congress doesn’t act to fix this legislation, on January 1st, 2011, Medicare reimbursement to all physicians will drop by 30 percent.

Such a drastic cut in payments will force many doctors to drop Medicare patients entirely. It could even force some doctors to close their practices. For those of us with rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, lupus, ankylosing spondylitis and other chronic connective tissue syndromes and diseases, this could mean the difference between being able to see the specialist with the best understanding of our conditions–a rheumatologist–or not.

For more information about this very important issue, click here.

Please call your congresscritters* on Nov. 10 and tell them not to let Medicare payments get cut by 30 percent. This matters whether you get your care through Medicare or not; many, many elderly patients on fixed incomes depend solely on Medicare for their treatment, and many of them suffer with RA, lupus, etc. We all grow old. Please help.

*To quickly and easily reach out to lawmakers, dial the AMA Grassroots Hotline at (800) 833-6354. Be sure to begin the conversation with, “I need my rheumatologist (or, “my loved one needs his/her rheumatologist”).” Please fix the SGR before November 30 to ensure access to my doctor.” For more information about the SGR and its impact on rheumatology, visit www.rheumatology.org or call (404) 633-3777.

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