Monday, January 30, 2012

State Success: New Jersey Governor Signs MS Task Force Bill

A bill sponsored by Senator Fred Madden (D-Washington Township) that would establish the New Jersey Multiple Sclerosis Task Force within the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) was signed into law earlier this month. This legislation will establish a 14-member committee, made up health officials, representatives of the Society, and people living with MS, to develop strategies and provide recommendations that will improve the lives of people living with MS in New Jersey.

This is a great victory for the New Jersey Metro and the Greater Delaware Valley chapters of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. These chapters have worked diligently with MS activists to push forward this legislation to address the unmet needs of people with MS in New Jersey. Click here to read the full story.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Neurologists in Short Supply for MS community

This month, the President of the Upper Midwest Chapter of the National MS Society and the CEO of the American Academy of Neurology co-authored a letter to the editor to bring attention to the neurologist shortage we have in this country. This is a significant issue that needs to be addressed given that that one out of six people in the United States — nearly 52 million— has a neurological disorder.  In addition, a study done by ABT Associates found that 72.2% of patients saw a neurologist for usual care of MS. There is also cause for alarm in the military – last March the United States Army issued a memorandum highlighting the shortage and its impact on our troops. Click here to read the memorandum for the United States Army. 

Among other efforts, the National MS Society is supporting legislation that creates 1000 new residencies and a proposal to include neurologists in the Medicare payment incentive program.  The current Medicare payment system creates a disincentive to enter neurology and that needs to be fixed as one part of a broader solution to the shortage issue.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

New York Times Highlights Progress in MS Therapies

Last week, The New York Times ran a story in its Science section on the impressive development of new therapies that have given those living with MS hope and a better quality of life. Today, thanks to research, there are eight FDA-approved disease-modifying drugs that reduce relapses and slow the progression of MS, as well as treatments approved to manage symptoms related to MS.  The Society’s Chief Research Officer Dr. Timothy Coetzee is quoted in the article stating that “We have a disease that’s gone from having no treatments 20 years ago to having multiple treatment options. There is a growing recognition that M.S. is becoming a manageable disease.” This article is a testament to the progress that has been made, as well as a reminder of work remaining that will move us closer to a world free of MS. Click here to read the full story and hear from people with MS who have benefitted from MS therapies, as well as other MS experts, most of whom are affiliated with the Society.

Additionally, ABC News highlights treatment advances for MS.  Click here to check it out.