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Treating Rheumatic Diseases

American College of Rheumatology Identifies Bright Spots and Room for Improvement

ast week, the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) released an assessment of the state of rheumatic disease care in the US, with individual evaluations for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The Rheumatic Disease Report Card seeks to provide useful data to policymakers and healthcare consumers via state-by-state scores on the question “How easy is it to live with a rheumatic disease in my state?” Information was collected on access to rheumatology care, affordability of care, and initiative in promoting lifestyle choices that moderate the effects of rheumatic disease. Overall, Maryland earned the highest grade, A, while Oklahoma and Alabama ranked lowest. David Daikh, MD, PhD, ACR president, commented, “This report card is an opportunity for Americans to advocate for themselves and their loved ones by raising awareness and encouraging policymakers to enact policies that improve rheumatic disease care access and affordability.”

Rheumatic diseases, of which there are more than 100 different types, represent a growing public health crisis; some 25% of Americans are diagnosed with rheumatic disease, most commonly osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, and lupus. Medical costs associated with management of the conditions surpass that for cancer care. Dr. Daikh continued: “Rheumatic diseases can be debilitating—but they don’t have to be if a diagnosis is made without delay and appropriate treatment is started. We hope this report will help people understand that they have the power to turn the tide on this public health crisis by taking steps to raise their state’s grade on rheumatic disease care.”

Read about the report.

The Rheumatic Disease Report Card may be viewed here.

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