Conference Coverage

CMSC looks to increase advocacy efforts to address looming concerns


As patients with multiple sclerosis and their caregivers face various challenges in the American health care system, the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers (CMSC) is re-energizing its focus on advocacy. The 2018 annual meeting in Nashville, Tenn., will feature programming designed to teach MS professionals and researchers how to speak up and let their voices be heard.

“CMSC has re-engaged in advocacy, in a more focused and energized way, because of mounting concerns that there is inadequate advocacy pressure on some of the critical issues negatively impacting the quality and comprehensive nature of MS care required of people living with MS,” said Lisa Taylor Skutnik, a physical therapist and chief operating officer of the CMSC. “Both people living with MS and the clinicians dedicated to treating them are increasingly frustrated and powerless in attempts to facilitate the right care and resources for people living with MS. Our members are facing significant barriers and obstacles to ensure timely and seamless comprehensive care.”

Lisa Taylor Skutnik, a physical therapist and chief operating officer of the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers

Lisa Taylor Skutnik

Specifically, she said, the MS community is concerned about topics such as “the shortage of health care professionals engaged in MS care; the future of the MS workforce; limited/compromised access to MS neurology clinicians, mental health professionals, and rehabilitation professionals trained in MS care; and drug pricing/utilization management challenges.”

The development of quality measures in MS is also a “huge concern,” she said, referring to the federal government’s efforts to develop new ways to measure whether health professionals are providing high-quality care. Physicians have expressed widespread concern about the measures, which are being linked to reimbursement from Medicare and Medicaid.

Among the highlights of the CMSC meeting will be an educational session that “will focus on the available resources within the MS community for MS professionals and researchers to access advocacy efforts and get involved,” Ms. Skutnik said.

Another educational session “will focus on helping MS clinicians and researchers to understand all of the various stakeholders and their respective perspectives related to access to comprehensive care services for those living with MS,” such as pharmacy benefit managers and insurers, she said.

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