Standing Up For You! – 2015

December

  • Participated in a national tele-townhall meeting on Medicare.
  • Signed a letter to Secretary of Health and Human Services Burwell commenting on the Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters for the 2017 Proposed Rule. Included suggestions for changes that would benefit seniors.

November

  • Held a luncheon for potential RetireSafe activists in the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania area.
  • Submitted a letter on Certificate of Public Need to the Virginia legislature.

October

  • Participated in the stake holders meeting at FDA concerning the re-authorization of the Prescription Drug User Fee Act.
  • Attended a two day discussion on drug innovation at the Pfizer research facility in Cambridge, MA.
  • Invited to and attended the National Consumers League Trumpeter Awards Dinner.
  • Invited to and attended a two day advocacy summit on healthcare and how best to advocate for change.
  • Attended meeting with biologic experts to discuss the impacts of biologics and biosimilars on healthcare.

September

  • Attended and conducted a seminar at the 50+ expo in York, PA.
  • Attended a full Senate Finance committee hearing on the financial situation in Puerto Rico and its possible impact on bonds that are held by many older Americans and retirement funds.
  • Invited to attend and comment at the public meeting on the re-authorization of manufacturer funds for expediting the evaluation and authorization of new drugs.
  • Attended a briefing at the Senate Russell office building titled, “Prescription Drug Costs: Trends and Tradeoffs in the Pipeline from Lab to Market”
  • Visited Senator Grahams (SC) office to discuss the preservation of access and benefits of Medicare Part D.
  • Attended a hearing called by the Senate HELP committee to get a progress report on biosimilar implementation (click here for more information on that hearing)
  • Attended a special presentation at Intel’s Washington office titled, “Big Data, Genome Sequencing & the Future of Personalized Medicine”
  • Visited the House offices of Congressman Tiberi (R-OH 12th District) and Congressman Young (R-IN 9th District) to discuss the support of maintaining the present FICA rule for restaurants and servers.
  • Attended a Hill briefing on the House side concerning the loss of Community based oncology practices (click herefor more information).

August

  • CPI for Seniors bill that was championed by RetireSafe was re-introduced in the House by Congressman John “Jimmy” Duncan (R-TN-2).  The bill, HR 3074, would instruct the Bureau of Labor Statistics to calculate an accurate Consumer Price Index (CPI) for seniors such that the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for Social Security payments would more accurately reflect the actual orice increases experienced by older Americans.  See the actual bill here.
  • Participated in a seminar, sponsored by RetireSafe, at the Florida Council on Aging Conference in Orlando, Florida.  The seminar was a debate on possible solutions to current issues that affect older Americans.

July

  • Met with staff of Representative Joe Pitts and Representative Ben Lujan concerning simplifying and expanding the Medicare Part D appeals process.
  • Attended a briefing detailing the Part D Beneficiary Appeals Fairness Act.
  • Participated in conference call discussing the implications of the King v. Burwell ruling and what’s next for patient advocates.
  • Attended a one day meeting at FDA concerning PDUFA VI, the funding mechanism for expediting the approval of new innovative cures.
  • Participated in a conference to discuss patent legislation and its implications on research and patients.

June

  • Attended the BIO international conference in Philadelphia.
  • Met with the staff of Senator Burr (R – NC), Senator Collins (R – ME), Senator Cassidy (R – LA) and the Senate HELP (Health, Education, Labor and Pensions) Committee FDA Policy Advisor, encouraging them to hold a hearing concerning the FDA’s lack of regulations and guidelines concerning biosimilars.
  • Wrote a letter to Inova Fair Oaks CEO, John Fitzgerald, in response to his commentary in the Fairfax Times in support of Virginia’s COPN law, which has left the state’s patients with an inadequate health care system. RetireSafe further emphasized that Virginia’s outdated COPN law threatens access to high-quality and affordable healthcare for everyone in the state, and that leaders in the Virginia General Assembly must work to reform the law.  (Read RetireSafe’s letter here)
  • RetireSafe workers collected petitions to encourage Virginia law makers to reform the outdated and competition restricting Certificate of Public Need law in their state.

May

  • Attended ASCO (American Society of Clinical Oncology) Conference in Chicago.  Attended seminars focused on future payment models and the closing of community oncology clinics.
  • Met with two different groups to discuss the 21st Century Cures legislation that is coming out of subcommittee.
  • Visited with the staff of Senator Isakson (R, GA), Senator Casey (D, PA) and Senator Nelson (D, FL) to discuss FICA tax issue.

April

  • Reviewed a program that eliminates the need to call in multiple prescription refills, reduces the number of trips to the pharmacy and provides an opportunity for patients to meet one-on-one with their pharmacist on a monthly basis to discuss their medications.  Click here to see a video on this new program. Click here to find out more details about this great program.
  • Attended the fourth annual National Forum on the Future of Health Care organized by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN).
  • Met with staff of Senator Thune (R, SD) and Senator Coats (R, IN) to discuss Medicare rebates and proposed cuts to Medicare Advantage.

March

  • Attended a hearing called by the Energy & Commerce Health Subcommittee concerning drug discounts given to qualified entities in support of indigent and patients without insurance (340B).
  • Sent this letter signed by 20 organizations to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) concerning cuts to Medicare Advantage proposed by CMS.
  • Met with Sean Cavanaugh Deputy Administrator and Director of the Center for Medicare at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and Jefferey Kelman Chief Medical Officer at CMS to discuss continued access to pain medication while discouraging its use by addicts.
  • Met with the following House Member’s staff to discuss preserving Medicare Part D, Representative Lance, Jenkins, Meehan and Collins.
  • Began a project to Preserve Medicare Advantage.  Our first step is to fight CMS on their proposed cuts to Medicare Advantage. (see comments on our Feedback panel on the right side of the web page).
  • Met with Representative Sarbanes and Representative Cardenas staff about 340B and 21st Century Cures. (Representative Cardenas received our Standing Up For America’s Seniors Leadershipaward, see it here).

February

  • Met with the staff director of the Senate Committee on Aging to discuss prompt pay legislation which encourages the maintenance of community based services.
  • Conference call with Congressman Steve Scalise, the House Majority Whip, on the status of the Department of Homeland Security funding and the questions on dealing with immigration.
  • Met with Chairman Upton’s staff on the Energy and Commerce Committee concerning the closing of community oncology practices and their new legislation, 21st Century Cures.
  • Met with health and senior advocates concerning cuts to Medicare Advantage and the impact on older Americans.
  • Met with concerned activists led by the Arthritis Foundation on how to preserve effective communication between the patient, the pharmacist and the doctor when dispensing medication, especially biologics and biosimilars.
  • Presented our “Standing Up for America’s SeniorsLeadership Award” to Senator Cory Gardner (see Senator Gardner’s award here).

January

  • Met with Kim Corbin, Health Counsel for Senator Debbie Stabenow to review Medicare issues.
  • Attended a meet and greet with the House’s youngest member, newly elected Elise Stefanik.
  • Met with Senator Gardner’s and Senator Cassidy’s staff concerning the Prompt Payment legislation.  This legislation that will help retain community access for healthcare. (See Legislationhere)
  • Testified at the FDA’s advisory board hearing concerning an application to manufacture a biosimilar for the drugNEUPOGEN. (See statementhere).