Medicare Settlement-Victory for MS Patients
The Society is pleased to announce the class-action suit in which it entered as plaintiff in 2010 to terminate the application of the Medicare “Improvement Standard,” is on track for settlement. The settlement agreement, when final, will effectively end the improper use of an “Improvement Standard,” by which beneficiaries have been denied coverage for treatment services because they are not improving or have plateaued. This is critical for people with MS as often the goal of therapy services is to prevent decline or support adaptive learning to maximize independence. To read the full news brief, visit www.nationalMSsociety.org/news/news-detail/index.aspx?nid=7036.
Seeking Passage of Convention for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)
The CRPD is the first international treaty to address disability rights and was inspired by the enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act. This treaty will extend the values of the ADA abroad and improve access for Americans with disabilities, including veterans, who live, work, or travel abroad. Over 300 American disability organizations, 21 veterans service organizations, and 26 faith organizations support the CRPD. The National MS Society continues to seek republican senate support to ensure passage by December. We are grateful to Senator Kerry of MA, Senator Snowe of ME, and Senator Brown of MA for their support of this important treaty.
National Family Caregivers Month
Every November is a reminder of the important role of families and The National MS Society’s commitment to support MS caregivers and care partners. The federal Lifespan Respite Care grant and coalition are still active in New Hampshire and Massachusetts with two caregiver conferences scheduled in each state. The chapter is an active stakeholder in each state’s activities and offers programs to support care partners.
MS Congressional Caucus Members
A special thanks to U.S. Representative Frank Guinta from New Hampshire’s First Congressional District, the latest member of the chapter delegation to join the MS caucus. He joins Representatives Capuano (MA), Markey (MA), McGovern (MA), Michaud (ME), Welch (VT), and Senators Collins (ME), Sanders (VT), and Snowe (ME).
Coupon Bill Victory Reminder!
As of July 1, 2012, Massachusetts now joins all other states in permitting use of pharmaceutical assistance programs, discounts, rebates, and co-pay assistance. The type of patient assistance for each non-generic prescription drug depends on availability and eligibility criteria. If you are having a difficult time affording your MS therapies, please contact the patient assistance department of your pharmaceutical company.
Congratulations to State Senator Sally Fox, Chittenden County, and State Representatives Mitzi Johnson and Robert Krebs from South Hero for receiving outstanding leadership awards for their years of support of MS initiatives and key policy changes and fostering awareness and support of the disease of MS.
Vermont State Senator Sally Fox receives Outstanding Leadership Award. (l-r) Volunteer Ralph Montefusco, Senator Sally Fox, Shanna McCabe, Programs Coordinator, Community Programs, and Michelle Dickson, Director of Public Policy, Advocacy.
Advances in the ADA in Burlington
The Vermont GRC led by chair Ralph Montefusco have made tremendous strides in improving accessibility in Burlington this past year by partnering with disability activists to form the Burlington Access Group. Ralph also played an instrumental role to ensure the city has an ADA coordinator to address the public’s concerns and reconstitute the city’s Advisory Committee on Accessibility.
Next Legislative Session
The chapter’s government relations committees are currently determining the next session’s policy agenda and activities as we anticipate the many challenges and victories ahead. More details in the next edition and online at MSnewengland.org.
MS Action Alert Network
Thanks to everyone who signed up for Action Alert at the MS Challenge Walk and Annual Meeting! One link will sign you up to receive federal and state e-alerts to take action and contact your elected officials on key issues impacting people with MS. If you are not registered, or your email has changed and you no longer receive alerts, please re-register at http://www.nationalMSsociety.org/government-affairs-and-advocacy/index.aspx.
|Congratulations to MS Activists /GRC members who were recognized at this year’s MS annual meeting: Board of Trustee member Dr. Linda Buchwald; Board of Trustee member and Maine GRC Chair, Bob Picone; GRC member, John Pierce, and Vermont GRC Chair, Ralph Montefusco. MS Activists rock!|
|Bob Picone receiving the Advocacy Volunteer of the Year in Maine, with Heidi Eastman, Programs Manager, Community Programs|
MS Activist Blog
Check out the latest federal news and share your views!
A Little Time Makes a Big Impact! Become an MS activist and make your mark against MS.
- Visit www.nationalMSsociety.org/get-involved/take-action/index.aspx
- Take Action and sign up to receive federal and state alerts
- Recruit a friend!
Government Relations Committee
Are you a person with MS or do you have a connection to the disease? Do you have professional expertise in the area of law, medicine, disability, fundraising, policy, or community organizing? Do you have a commitment to working towards achieving short and long-term goals? Are you willing to speak before government officials, at public hearings, or with the media? Are you committed to working as a team and working on projects? If any of these describe you, contact Michelle.Dickson@nmss.org.
Health Care Reform Implementation
New health insurance programs are still offering coverage to uninsured individuals with a pre-existing health condition, including MS. Need assistance understanding this new program or advice about health insurance? Call 1-800-344-4867.
Improved Access to Health Care in Rural Areas
Improving access to health care for people with MS in rural and underserved areas is a key emerging priority at the national and chapter level. The Chapter’s Advocacy department is working to identify the needs of rural members in our four states, and to identify ways to collaborate with state rural health care agencies, medical providers, and other partners to begin addressing the need for improved access to care.
Wanted: MS Grass Tops!
Are You a Grass Top?
Do you have:
- A close, personal connection with a local official; a state or federal legislator; an individual serving at a key government agency; or an influential staff person for any of the above figures.
- A relationship that you can leverage on behalf of the National MS Society to facilitate an introduction with Society staff.