Michael J. Fox Foundation reports public policy triumphs
After being joined by the Parkinson’s Action Network in June of 2016 the Michael J. Fox Foundation continued the PAN’s work to serve those with Parkinson’s Disease, which included pushing for public policies.
The organization marked several accomplishments in 2016, including the passage of the 21st Century Cures Act that will create a nationwide data collection system to improve understanding of neurological diseases and support research and care.
Additionally, the foundation formed its own Unified Parkinson’s Advisory Council, made up from state, regional and national Parkinson’s Disease organization representatives. The council urged the Department of Veteran’s Affairs to extend benefits to veterans exposed to various contaminants that later developed Parkinson’s.
Finally, progress was made when the Social Security Administration issued new rules for the evaluation of patients with Parkinson’s for disability insurance. The new rules recognize both the motor and non-motor symptoms of the disease, and the inclusion of the non-motor symptoms constitute the first major overhaul of the rules since 1985.
All of these policy changes were enacted in part because of member participation. The foundation expressed its gratitude to the members who sent over 30,000 emails to elected officials urging them to act on important issues related to the disease.
In the coming year, policy work will continue as the new administration proposes changes to programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. The promise by President Donald Trump to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act will also be a focus for many public policy campaigns.
With the 2017 budget being finalized, the foundation plans to push for an increase in federal funding to departments or agencies that conduct Parkinson’s Disease Research as well refocusing elected officials on the importance of patient voices in the care and the needs of those living with Parkinson’s Disease.