Brief Update

When we founded UR, we had near term and long term goals.  In the near term, we wanted to use our numbers (now 245!!!) to find value and we have seen many successes. But this was never just about forming a retail organization. The more important goals tied to our long term mission- to work with payers and policy makers – commercial and governmental- for the sake of our patients.
Our advisors have coached us- grow the network, and write our own guidelines. We are now more than 10% of the independent rheumatologists in the USA. We are about to copyright our RA, PSA, AS/SpA, osteoporosis, and knee OA guidelines. The hard work of our staff, and the Medical Policy Committee has gotten us to the point where we are readied for engagement with payers.
Anticipating that this would require the support of very capable and experienced consultants, we very recently announced we have engaged Manatt Health Solutions, a consulting firm with a history of national impact. Ask a Manatt consultant about their history and each has decades experience across health care- working with payers, providers, hospitals, and pharma.
Our timing to engage Manatt couldn’t have been better.  We finalized our agreement to work together on a recent Friday, and the following Tuesday, Manatt brought to our attention an RFP from ICER(Institute for Clinical Effectiveness Research)  they had just received – to draft a submission on rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis. The United Rheumatology submission is attached. We are the only group of practicing rheumatologists to submit.  ICER is influential- payers turn to ICER when making formulary decisions. This establishes UR as a national resource!
Our Board members Andy Laster, Robin Dore, Doug Tardio, Chris Kane and Jon Glaudemans made invaluable contributions working with me  to complete the draft on time, and we owe them a robust thanks.
Some of you have asked: “When will we start to engage the payers?” You now know. It’s not a question for the future- we have begun. We are now moving forward working on several local beta sites to introduce UR to commercial payers.
To me, this validates the premise that our future depends on our working together today. Everyone one of your who has become an active member can feel proud, because your taking a chance on us was essential to our getting to this point.
We are working hard. We are doing a lot more than we have the time to write reports about. Sometimes the reports come in the form of those rebate checks that are a thrill to send you. ICER is a new entity to me, and I think for all of us. That makes grasping the significance of our submission perhaps a challenge.  Google ICER and Google Manatt and share with me my excitement that this is really working, really happening!
See you in Miami in October- you will meet the Manatt team, and learn about everything we are doing.
Max Hamburger

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