By Karen St. Clair, PMD Alliance Advisory Council

Having just returned from the Parkinson’s Forum in Washington, DC, I wanted to give an update on legislation on the Federal level that has the ability to impact each of our lives. Over 150 people attended the Forum. We spent the second day of the conference on Capital Hill visiting with our individual state Senators and Representatives. I had meetings with staff members from Senator Tom Udall, Senator Martin Heinrich, and Congressman Ben Ray Lujan’s offices.

Here are the key issues that we need them to support:

  • Mental Health Access Improvement Act of 2019 (HR 945 and S 286). This bill will add 120,000 Licensed Mental Health Counselors to Medicare reimbursement. Currently these practitioners are not eligible for Medicare reimbursement and must be paid out of pocket. Since the non-motor symptoms of Parkinson’s are just as onerous or more so than the physical symptoms, having access to more mental health counselors will be a win for our Parkinson’s community.
  • Add an out-of-pocket spending cap to Medicare Part D. By adding an out-of-pocket cap people with chronic illness will be better able to plan for the future. New medications come at a huge financial burden to some families. Having this cap will add some peace of mind knowing that the individual financial burden will be limited.
  • Additionally we need more investment in Parkinson’s disease research. A recent study found that the financial burden to the United States for Parkinson’s disease is around $52 billion annually. However, the current level of Federal spending on Parkinson’s research is approximately $108 million. That’s a huge disparity for the fastest growing chronic illness. We need a cure!
  • Here’s how to contact our New Mexico delegation.

    Senator Tom Udall: Click here for contact page or 202-224-6621

    Representative Dab Haaland: Click here for contact page or 202-225-6316

    Senator Martin Heinrich: Click here for contact page or 202-224-5521

    Representative Xochitl Torres Small: Click here for contact page or 202-225-2365

    Representative Ben Ray Lujan: Click here for contact page or 202-225-6190

    Tell your story of why their support of these issues will help you personally. Keep it brief and stay on point. On the contact page, there will be a form to submit with your opinion. Ask for their support!

    Leave a Reply