Foundation Hosts Successful Virtual Day on the Hill

Capitol BuildingThe Foundation’s annual Day on the Hill event took place virtually on Tuesday, September 19. More than 150 volunteer advocates engaged with their legislators, asking them to support crucial legislation aimed at increasing access to care for IBD patients.


This year our advocacy priorities emphasized two key bills:


  1. The Safe Step Act. We urged lawmakers to support this essential legislation that ensures patients receive timely and appropriate medications and avoid unnecessary delays. We are also advocating for its inclusion in broader pharmacy benefit legislation.
  2. The HELP Copays Act. This crucial legislation ensures that all copays contribute toward a patient’s cost-sharing requirements.


Throughout the day, Foundation volunteers from 31 states and the District of Columbia shared their personal stories with elected officials of how being an IBD patient or caregiver has profoundly impacted their lives. In more than 100 meetings, these advocates, comprising both patients and caregivers, provided firsthand accounts detailing how burdens caused by prior authorization and step therapy have delayed their prescribed treatment for IBD.


Their ask to legislators was straightforward: Ensure that IBD patients can promptly receive the treatments prescribed by their doctors and oppose any barriers to patients receiving this care.


“Being able to share my personal experiences as a Crohn's patient with my legislators is one of the most rewarding things I do each year with Day on the Hill,” said Lara Atwell, a volunteer from Kansas. “I know that it puts a face to what can seem like just another bill, and I know that I am representing a larger group of people in my community who have been affected by this disease. It’s also kind of cool to participate in our democracy in such a direct way.”


Janice Light, a volunteer from Pennsylvania, echoed Atwell’s sentiments: “It was a great opportunity to be a part of the Pennsylvania team for the Foundation,’” said Janice Light, a volunteer whose son Chris Mcnaughton has severe ulcerative colitis and was denied coverage from his insurer. “I met with staff from the offices of Representatives Cartwright, Lee, and Thompson, and Senator Casey. Our team was able to share stories of how reckless and unwarranted denials by health insurance companies have put IBD patients' lives at risk. We called on the Pennsylvania representatives and senators to take immediate action to hold health insurance companies accountable so that people with IBD have access to the necessary treatments that their doctors prescribe in a timely manner.”


Reflecting on these powerful testimonials, Foundation staff recognized the dedication of our volunteers:


“We witnessed a strong unity among our volunteer advocates as they championed better access to care for IBD patients,” said Erin McKeon, Associate Director of Federal Advocacy at the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation. “Their personal stories shed light on the real-life struggles faced by IBD patients and caregivers, emphasizing the necessity of the Safe Step Act and the HELP Copays Act. Together, we continue to pave the way for a brighter, more inclusive future for our community.”


You can make an impact on IBD cures! Please consider making a donation to the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation.