- The Foundation and the Medical Imaging & Technology Alliance (MITA) hosted a virtual Congressional fly-in event to educate policymakers about focused ultrasound.
- Patients, physicians, and industry leaders participated in 11 meetings with US Representatives and their staff from nine states.
- This is the third fly-in event to date; the first two were held in-person in 2019 and 2020.
On Tuesday, March 15, the Foundation and the Medical Imaging & Technology Alliance (MITA) partnered to host a virtual Congressional fly-in event to educate policymakers about focused ultrasound. This is the third fly-in event to date; the first two were held in-person in 2019 and 2020.
Patients, physicians, and industry representatives joined MITA and the Foundation in a total of 11 virtual meetings with US Representatives and their staff from nine states. The meetings aimed to increase awareness of focused ultrasound and address barriers to widespread adoption, such as the lack of insurance coverage for approved treatments and the need for increased funding for continued research and development.
Two focused ultrasound patients participated in the fly-in event and shared their experiences, their reasons for choosing focused ultrasound treatment, and the hurdles they encountered related to access or reimbursement. Michael was treated for prostate cancer in 2021, and Tom is a patient with essential tremor who received two focused ultrasound treatments, each targeting one side of his brain.
“Michael and Tom did a fantastic job of illustrating the real-world benefits of focused ultrasound while addressing some of the challenges that remain. Their voices were invaluable to making an impact in these meetings,” said Holly Grosholz, Senior Manager of Government Relations at MITA.
Many of the Congressional offices that participated in the fly-in are members of the Healthy Future Task Force, a Republican initiative that is creating a patient-focused agenda for the future that aims to break down barriers, increase care choices, encourage investment in new therapies, and protect access to care.
“These meetings are great opportunities to advance the field of focused ultrasound,” said the Foundation’s Chief Scientific Officer and Managing Director of Government Affairs, Jessica Foley, PhD. “We witnessed a universal commitment – not only to providing better care for patients in the US – but to providing greater access to that care and lessening the financial burden on families. Regulatory approval and subsequent insurance coverage of focused ultrasound represents a monumental opportunity to achieve those goals, and our advocacy efforts are building champions who can help make it happen.”
In recent years, the Foundation has amplified its governmental advocacy efforts. In February, Dr. Foley led an hour-long virtual Congressional briefing that addressed the issues of education, research funding, and patient access.
“The Foundation has been fortunate to collaborate with leading advocacy organizations and consultants who have the expertise and relationships to help us address challenges to more expedient development and adoption of focused ultrasound as a therapeutic technology,” explained Dr. Foley.