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2020-09-18 SSAC ReCap

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Recapping the 2020 State Society Advocacy Conference

Posted: September 18, 2020

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On Saturday, September 12th CSRO hosted its annual State Society Advocacy Conference (SSAC). While this was the 8th iteration of the SSAC, it also marked the first time the conference occurred in a virtual format. Despite the venue changed forced by the pandemic, CSRO was pleased to present an excellent program with strong attendance.

The conference began with a presentation by professor Lawrence Van Horn covering some of the major topics facing rheumatology in America. An expert in health care economics, Professor Van Horn walked through the current economic pressures facing the practice and provision of care in the United States, and touched on discrete issues faced by rheumatology. This set the stage for the conference’s first panel discussion, which delved into the payer relations issues faced by rheumatology practices. Moderated by CSRO President, Dr. Madelaine Feldman, three practice managers shared the strategies they have found successful in navigating the aforementioned issues. Friction between rheumatology and insurers is seemingly destined to increase in the future, and knowing how to successfully navigate those disagreements will be crucial for rheumatology practices moving forward.

The conference then moved into its next panel discussion which focused on changes in the state health care policy environment, and how they were affecting patients and physicians. Kelly Hughes, a health program director for the National Conference of State Legislatures, provided an overview of some of the trends in how states have been responding to the pandemic. This was followed by perspectives from Assemblyman Herb Conaway of New Jersey, State Senator Fred Mills of Louisiana, and Delegate Matt Rohrbach of West Virginia. Discussion ranged from the staying power of telemedicine flexibilities to how state and insurer fiscal pressures will affect physicians.

The penultimate session was centered on the subject of Rutledge v. PCMA, a case before the United State Supreme Court. The case will help define the scope of state regulatory authority over pharmacy benefit managers, which has enormous implications for state policy initiatives to improve transparency and utilization management practices. Moderator Judith Gorsuch of Hart Health Strategies was joined by Senior Assistant Attorney General of Arkansas, Shawn Johnson, and the Solicitor General of Arkansas, Nicholas J. Bronni, to discuss the case.

Finally, attendees were treated to a preview of the 2020 election by election and polling expert Charlie Cook.

Recording of the sessions and the presentations will soon be available on the CSRO website. Registrants will receive an email notification once they are available.

CSRO looks forward to the 2021 SSAC, which we hope will find the rheumatology community together again in person.