SACRAMENTO, Calif., April 21, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Arthritis, the nation's leading cause of disability, affects more than 5.3 million adults and 38,000 children in California. During the California Arthritis Foundation Council's Advocacy Summit on April 22-23, arthritis advocates of all ages will share their stories with California lawmakers and ask for their support of legislation that provides timely access to arthritis medications (AB 889) as well as availability of vital information needed to make more informed decisions on Covered California health plan options (SB 1052).
California Arthritis Foundation Council Chair, rheumatologist Wesley Mizutani, MD, describes the urgent needs of arthritis constituents: "Despite revolutionary advances in treatments for arthritis, many patients are either unable to obtain such medications or experience prolonged delays in receiving them. Such delays result in irreversible joint damage, condemning patients to disability and chronic, unrelenting pain."
He added, "Prior to making an informed health care coverage decision, Californians living with arthritis and other rheumatic conditions need to know if their prescription drugs are covered by insurance and how much they will cost. For example, a constituent with Ankylosing Spondylitis, a type of systemic arthritis, switched to a Covered California plan that offered her medication. She later discovered that her prescription co-pay increased from $5.00 to $2,000.00 per month. Without this medication, her condition will likely regress and could result in spinal fusion with total spinal immobility, fusion of shoulders and hips, as well as difficulty in breathing."
"Arthritis is a devastating disease," said Mizutani. "By meeting face to face, our advocates will help California lawmakers understand how arthritis and its related conditions directly impact the lives of their constituents."
For more information about the California Arthritis Foundation Council's Advocacy Summit and key issues facing Californians with arthritis, contact Krystin Herr at [email protected].
About the Arthritis Foundation
The Arthritis Foundation (www.arthritis.org) is committed to raising awareness and reducing the impact of arthritis, the nation's leading cause of disability. The Foundation funds life-changing research that has restored mobility in patients for more than six decades; fights for health care policies that improve the lives of the 53 million people who live with arthritis; and provides empowering programs and information.
SOURCE Arthritis Foundation, Pacific Region