By: Linda Wilhelm

I want to wish all CAPA members and colleagues a very happy and healthy new year and all the best for 2016! The CAPA Board had a very busy fall with our annual in-person meeting held in conjunction with The Arthritis Alliance of Canada meetings in spectacular Kananaskis, Alberta in late October. You can view our 2016 strategic plan on our website.

CAPA has a long history of engagement with public payers. We have been providing patient input into the Canadian Agency for Drugs in Technology in Health for a number of years. In addition we have provided additional information to various provincial drug programs making the case for access to new therapies for people living with arthritis.

Private payers have been a challenge for patient groups and historically they have not been willing to engage with us. In the past year we have seen a shift in this position. With cost containment measures being implemented by private insurers, the biologic criteria for Rheumatoid Arthritis was successfully negotiated with The Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association to help ensure those who needed access would continue to receive it.

This was followed by CAPA’s engagement with Manulife to clarify their newly instituted Drug Watch Program and how that would impact the arthritis community. I was also invited to present the patient perspective at a private payer session in Moncton in November 2015. It is our hope that we will expand this dialogue in 2016 and increase our collaborative efforts with the private payer world.

We have had the opportunity to participate in an ongoing dialogue with the pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance beginning with an information session for Patients and Caregivers on June 16, 2015. Just prior to this information session (on June 8, 2015), Ontario Minister of Health Eric Hoskins hosted a roundtable on Pharmacare with eight Health Ministers from across Canada participating.

On December 4, 2015, a second session on National Pharmacare was held for patients and caregivers to get our perspective. This built on the health ministers’ round table. There will likely be additional, ongoing meetings throughout 2016 on this important topic. More information can be found here.

In closing, we hope you take the opportunity to introduce yourself to your newly elected Member of Parliament. We hope you take the time to meet with them to discuss your concerns as a Canadian living with arthritis. Anyone can be an advocate!

CAPA at the Arthritis Alliance of Canada (AAC) conference

By: Laurie Proulx

CAPA continues to be a proud supporter of the work of the Arthritis Alliance of Canada (AAC). We have been a member since its inception in 2002 and the CAPA Board of Directors attended the 2015 annual conference in late October. We stayed on for an extra day to continue our work at our annual strategic planning meeting.

A research symposium was held the first day of the conference where presenters highlighted new directions in osteoarthritis research. We heard from a variety of researchers about innovations in osteoarthritis research and care. Of particular interest was a presentation by Dr. Ewa Roos from the University of South Denmark. She highlighted how a program implemented across the country reduced the need for knee replacement surgery and improved patient outcomes. Visit the AAC website to access all of the presentations from the conference.

We also had a poster in the poster session at the conference that provided a history of CAPA’s activities and an overview of how we have paved the way for patient inclusion in health care decision-making in Canada. Don’t forget to check it out on the CAPA website!

That evening, our very own President Linda Wilhelm, received the Qualman-Davies Consumer Community Leadership Award. The Award recognizes a person’s outstanding contributions as a volunteer in the arthritis community and with respect to helping Canadians living with the disease be heard in decision-making processes. Linda has worked tirelessly for many years to ensure the patient voice is heard at the national and provincial levels as well as helping patients in her local community.  A very deserved congratulations to Linda!

Picture: CAPA President, Linda Wilhelm, seated at the head table with Hani El-Gabalaway, Scientific Director, Canadian Institute for Health Research – Institute of Musculoskeletal Health

pic of linda and hani.jpg

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