It’s Wednesday, September 23rd and things have been a blur for the past couple of days. It started late Friday afternoon of the 18th when IDF learned that Senator Kerry, our champion in the Senate for patient IVIG access, continued to be our supporter by filing an IVIG access amendment (Kerry C-5) to the new healthcare proposal that was introduced by Senator Max Baucus (D-MT), Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. The amendment incorporated key provisions from Senators Kerry and Alexander’s, S 701, Medicare Patient IVIG Access Act.
The Kerry Amendment C-5 makes “whole” the part B home infusion by adding the items and services that are needed to infuse patients with PIDD in the home setting that are currently excluded from payment. It also requires the Assistant Secretary of Program Evaluation (ASPE) to update its 2007 study on payment problems and make recommendations to Congress as to how to fix any such problems.
IDF is in full support of the amendment. We are busy mobilizing our constituency to garner support for the amendment among Senate Finance committee members. At the close of business on Monday, IDF sent out a special edition of the IDF e-newsletter urging people to use the IDF Action Alert to contact members of the Senate Finance Committee. Within 24 hours, over 300 IDF Action Alert letters were sent to Finance committee members. As of this writing, within 48 hours, a total of over 700 Action Alert letters have been sent. That is extraordinary and attests to the commitment and activism of the IDF community. Keep those Action Alert letters going to Senate Finance committee members!!! They are having an impact!!
IDF has also been working with other patient and medical organizations to support the Kerry Amendment C-5. Seventeen patient and medical organizations, including the American Academy of Asthma, Allergy & Immunology and the Clinical Immunology Society, have sent a joint letter to Finance committee members in support of the amendment. And, each organization has sent hard copies of letters from their respective Action Alerts. We want legislative members and their staffs to know that the email letters they receive are “real”.
As I write this blog, I’m listening to and occasionally watching, on my computer, C-Span as the Finance committee deliberates the over 500 amendments that have been filed. At this point, no one knows how Senator Kerry’s amendment C-5 will fare in the committee. However, one thing is for certain, IDF’s patients, families and friends have been “stepping up” their support for IVIG access. Stay tuned!