dahlia in my garden: Rio Fuego in Coleus leaves

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tuesday-Newsday #47

It’s Tuesday-Newsday but there’s an ALERT for those who live in California. AB 369, the Fail First bill, comes up for a vote this week and your help is desperately needed . PLEASE: it won’t take you more than about 15 minutes to add your voice in the battle to pass a law that will prevent suffering and potentially save lives.

If you live in another state, don’t skip reading about Fail First. Your state could be dealing with the same issue. In the Fail First section below you’ll find a map showing where legislation is pending. If your state has no protection against Fail First, you may want to get busy and lead the charge!

Our other news subjects today are: Rx News and Patient News. The last item is a post by Sue Falkner-Wood called ‘Finding the Heart to Live With Chronic Pain.’

Let Me Know: If you’d like me to watch for articles on your pain condition, just drop me a note in the comments section below.

WARNING:  My goal is to provide the most up-to-date news I can, which you can then take to your personal doctor and debate the merits of before you try it. I do not endorse any of the docs, treatments, info, and meds in anything I post nor can I guarantee they are all effective, especially not for everyone. I always include the citation, source, or website so you know where it came from. As is the case with any health info, ALWAYS get your doctor's opinion first!




by Sue Falkner-Wood 


Fail First (also known as step therapy) is when an insurer requires that other therapies must be tried and must fail before a patient can obtain the medicine originally prescribed by their doctor. This protocol is used as a cost-saving measure, but in the long run it can actually increase costs because creating a delay in care can increase resistance to treatment or cause other health complications. Some patients are required to try up to five different medications or treatments before receiving the medication they were supposed to get in the beginning. Delaying or denying access to treatment steals time and quality of life from patients, could permanently worsen their conditions, could create serious new health crises, and potentially result in premature deaths. 

To learn more about why we must get legislation passed in each state, read my previous blog post:  We must stop ‘Fail First’!

There’s also an excellent news video on how this terrible policy affects pain patients. Please take a moment to watch: Paying for Pain 

To see the status of Fail First in your own home state see the Legislation Map.


California bill AB 369 prohibits a health plan from requiring a pain patient to try and fail on more than two medications before allowing the patient to have the pain medication prescribed by their doctor. This bill also allows a doctor to determine the duration of any step therapy or fail first protocol.

On Thursday, January 19th the CA Assembly Appropriations Committee will vote on AB 369. We want to them to approve it and send it to the State Senate - and we need YOU to get involved today!

Here’s what I did: Go to the American Pain Foundation page HERE which gives you a form to fill in. When you add your info and...
...a little personal note in the window, that letter will then be sent to all of the committee members. Later that day, I did get an automated response from a few of them saying they prefer to receive comments on their websites, so I clicked and copied my pre-written letter on their pages. All together, it took me about 8 minutes. 

If you feel like doing a little more, here’s where to go. On the For Grace website HERE they provide you with even more options. It’s a little bit confusing but if you scroll down the page there’s a pre-written letter you can use to fax to the Committee Chairman and at the bottom is a little form to fax to the bill writer to show your support. I did both, which took about another 7 or 8 minutes. 

This won’t be the last time your help will be needed. Hopefully AB 369 will jump this hurdle and head to the Senate. We will definitely have to make a big noise in order to get the bill all the way to the Governor’s desk. I will let you know each step of the way.

Please spread the word to your family, friends, and coworkers - get them to follow the links above and add their support for AB 369! 

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