In a conference room overlooking Washington, D.C., nonprofit organizations and other stakeholders gathered around the table and gave U.S. Pain Foundation the opportunity to present ideas and cultivate conversations surrounding patient access issues.

Known as the Keeping Patients Stable on Their Medications Coalition, the group had met in the past to address step therapy and nonmedical switching, two common insurance barriers to medications. Now under the leadership of the U.S. Pain Foundation, the goal is to expand upon the coalition’s initial efforts.

“The kickoff meeting to relaunch this incredible think tank provided U.S. Pain with a roadmap of what each partner organization envisions this initiative will accomplish,” says Shaina Smith, director of state advocacy & alliance development for U.S. Pain. “Sitting down with aligned groups allowed us to capture what our role as patient advocates from national organizations can play, leading into the 2018 legislative session.”

President and Founder of U.S. Pain Paul Gileno described initial goals during the kickoff meeting,including reinvigorating members with an emphasis on collaboration, sharing updates and educational tools related to step therapy and nonmedical switching, identifying strengths of the group, and planning for patient access legislative strategies. The three-hour meeting included participation from groups such as AIMED Alliance, Alliance for Patient Access, Arthritis Foundation, Global Healthy Living Foundation, Lupus and Allied Diseases Association, and National Psoriasis Foundation; a conference line option was made available for those unable to attend in-person.

Participants were shown alternative concepts when looking to present bills in states considering nonmedical switching legislation, survey data demonstrating how limiting patient access and disregarding health outcomes can impact patients, considerations when developing bill language, strategies for advocacy success, and new online tools for state-based coalitions.

“While U.S. Pain is pleased to lead the Keeping Patients Stable on Their Medications endeavor, we truly want the members to be the drivers and navigate this think tank into the upcoming session,” Smith adds. “It’s clear that members agree this group can serve as an entity that organizes and presents updates from other national coalitions focused on step therapy and nonmedical switching while, at the same time, providing support or assistance with strategic planning that state-based grassroots coalitions. Organizations truly want to become more involved with these patient issues, so it’s up to patient advocacy nonprofits like U.S. Pain to streamline those opportunities and share them among allied groups.”

Learn more about U.S. Pain’s advocacy priorities here.