The recent ruling by the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade is a wakeup call for all of us who care about the rights of people being able to make decisions about their own healthcare. No matter your political perspective or leanings, any erosion of the rights for individuals and their loved ones to set the course for their own treatment in consultation with their medical professionals is of great concern.
Unlike most Medicare recipients who need extensive home care and rehabilitative services, people with ALS do not improve, and the intensity of their service needs increase over time. That means standard Medicare cost control approaches don’t work well. I will discuss two examples.
Recent changes to Medicare will enable people with ALS to receive services from speech language pathologists via telehealth through the end of the COVID-19 pandemic. These services include clinical care for swallowing and speech-generating devices - many challenges people living with ALS are faced with every day.
Recent changes at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will enable people with ALS to receive critical services provided by speech therapists, normally provided at in-person visits, via telehealth during the pandemic. These services include clinical care for swallowing and speech-generating devices - many challenges people living with ALS are faced with every day.
Increased access to telehealth has long been a priority for The ALS Association and its advocates, as many people living with the disease have difficulty traveling to multidisciplinary clinics. In fact, many of the policy changes the Association pursued long before the pandemic have been enacted in response to the COVID-19 public health crisis. It is now critical that we fight to make those changes permanent.
With many ALS drugs now in phase II and III clinical trials, The ALS Association is considering strategies that will ensure any new treatments are accessible and affordable. We used our second ALS Roundtable to explore several important questions for our community including: How will these new therapies get paid for? How can people access to them? How long will it take to get access?
The ALS Association and its partners submitted comments to the Food and Drug Administration to further inform the agency’s implementation of the final guidance on the development of drugs and treatments for ALS. The comments underscore the need for urgency and commend the FDA for including voices from our community in its rulemaking process. Click here to view the comments.
The ALS Association fights for people with ALS every day, leading cutting-edge research to discover treatments and a cure for ALS, and serving, advocating for, and empowering people with the disease to live their lives to the fullest. In honor of Throwback Thursday, let’s look back at the advances in our mission areas of Advocacy, Care Services, and Research during 2017.
Barbara Dickinson, whose husband, Brian, lived with ALS for nine years, shared her thoughts and feelings about having a loved one with ALS. Barbara is a former national trustee of The ALS Association and president emeritus of The ALS Association's Rhode Island Chapter. Our thanks and gratitude go to Barbara for agreeing to let us put her words on our web site.