The National Psoriasis Foundation’s State Government Relations team continues its hard work to improve access to care for people living with psoriatic disease by fighting for the passage of legislation that will stop harmful step therapy practices.
Last week, both the Texas Senate and House of Representatives introduced legislation (SB 680 & HB 1464) that will curb step therapy protocols. In an effort to ensure the passage of this important legislation, NPF and the Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society hosted the 2017 Texas Step Therapy Lobby Day.
On Wednesday, Feb. 1, 18 NPF patients, providers, staff and Board members joined MS Society advocates for our 2017 Texas Step Therapy Lobby Day. The event’s goal was to educate Texas state officials on the impact of step therapy and “fail first” insurance policies, and to endorse our 2017 step therapy legislation.
Events kicked off with an issue training and dinner the evening of Tuesday, Jan. 31. The robust discussion and networking opportunity left our advocates well informed and eager to meet with their legislators about the importance of curbing step therapy.
A press conference with our two bill sponsors, Senator Kelly Hancock and Representative Greg Bonnen, as well as NPF Board of Directors Chair Colby Evans, M.D., started our Wednesday Lobby Day activities.
Following a quick training refresher and lunch at the Capitol, our advocates organized into six separate groups to meet with a total of 25 legislators and/or their staff. In additional to scheduled meetings, NPF groups dropped off packets of materials to 37 separate legislator offices — many of which resulted in sit-down meetings.
We are very excited to include Texas leadership as part of these 62 direct outreach efforts. Junior Ambassador Michael Wood (shown above), along with his mother, Jodi Wood, led meetings with Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick and Speaker of the House Joe Straus. NPF President and CEO Randy Beranek and Director of State Government Relations Patrick Stone led a meeting with the staff of Governor Greg Abbott.
Michael, like his fellow advocates, used the opportunity to share with Speaker Straus and Lt. Governor Patrick how step therapy forced him to try and fail on medications as a teen with psoriatic arthritis and how that process negatively impacted his health. “Meeting with legislators to discuss harmful step therapy practices was an amazing experience,” explained Wood. “It was fulfilling to use my personal struggles to make a positive impact on others.”
At the culmination of this event, all of those involved walked away knowing the Lobby Day was successful in raising awareness of step therapy. Most importantly, we helped many members of the Texas State Legislator understand what happens to those patients who are unfairly subjected to step therapy protocols. NPF Board of Directors member Matthew Kiselica expressed his excitement: “An impressive day with positive responses from our representatives. These bills should receive broad bipartisan support and will benefit every Texan!”
We will continue to keep an open dialogue with these offices and continue growing new relationships that will allow us to encourage the successful passage of step therapy bills SB 680 and HB 1464.
Ready to help support our efforts to reduce step therapy in your state? Please contact our State Government Relations Manager, Amy Prentice, at [email protected] to learn how you can get involved!
Driving discovery, creating community
For more than 50 years, we’ve been driving efforts to cure psoriatic disease and improve the lives of those affected. But there’s still plenty to do! Learn how you can help our advocacy team shape the laws and policies that affect people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis – in your state and across the country. Help us raise funds to support research by joining Team NPF, where you can walk, run, cycle, play bingo or create your own fundraising event. If you or someone you love needs free, personalized support for living a healthier life with psoriatic disease, contact our Patient Navigation Center. And keep the National Psoriasis Foundation going strong by making a donation today. Together, we will find a cure.