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"Advocacy of Patient Access to Rheumatology Care"

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Latest News & Events

Advanced Practitioner Provider Program – Registration is OPEN!

Saturday, September 30, 2023 | 8:00am – 4:45pm

JW Marriott LA Live: 900 W. Olympic Blvd. Los Angeles, CA

You’re invited to attend our upcoming CRA Advanced Practitioner Provider Educational Program on Saturday, September 30, 2023, at the prestigious JW Marriott LA Live in Downtown Los Angeles.

This educational program is specifically designed for rheumatology advanced practitioners and aims to provide them with the latest insights, developments, and best practices in the field.

CME Consultants designates this live activity for a maximum of 6.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™.

ABIM MOC Recognition Statement Successful completion of this CME activity, which includes participation in the evaluation component, enables the participant to earn up to 5.75 Medical Knowledge MOC points

Click on the links below to view the brochure, register, and reserve your hotel accommodations.

Register for the APP program
View the agenda and faculty
Hotel Reservations limited to registered program attendees only

Breakfast + Lunch Programs


Thank you for your interest in exhibiting at our upcoming APP program! Please download the forms below and send back to secure your booth. Forms may be emailed to info@calrheum.org. If you have any questions, contact CRA Executive Director, Shanna Castro via email at info@calrheum.org or call (310) 536-0460.

2023 CRA 19th Annual Meeting at the Carl Pearson Symposium: April 28-29, 2023

We invite you all to join us at the upcoming CRA 19th Annual Meeting, taking place in 2 weeks at the Marina del Rey Marriott in Marina del Rey, CA on April 28 – 29, 2023. Our Annual Meeting will be held in conjunction with the UCLA Carl Pearson Symposium. As always, this event promises to be informative, engaging, and a great opportunity for networking.

This year, we are particularly thrilled to have Dr. Gary Feldman speaking on Friday to discuss “The Present and Future Environment of Rheumatology,” sharing his insights and predictions on where our field is headed. We are also honored to welcome Dr. Diana Girnita on Saturday, as she shares her experiences as a traveling rheumatologist.

we invite you to join us for the honorary luncheon on Saturday, April 29th, from 1pm – 3pm as we recognize Dr. Daniel Wallace with the CRA lifetime achievement award. Dr. Wallace’s contributions to our field have been immeasurable, and we look forward to recognizing his achievements together.

In addition to the exhibits and scientific sessions, we are excited to announce Dr. Daniel Wallace as this year’s CRA Lifetime Achievement Award recipient! Please join us for an honorary luncheon on Saturday, April 29th, from 1pm – 3pm in the Bayview Ballroom on the top floor of the Marriott. Dr. Wallace’s contributions to our field have been immeasurable, and we look forward to recognizing his achievements together.



Practice Manager Meeting


Practice management is more than just juggling appointments, scheduling and coding. Your practice manager plays a vital role in keeping your business running efficiently. Professional medical offices are complex, but with proper training and support, your practice’s team can streamline operations so that the focus stays on patient care. We encourage you to invite your manager and support staff to our upcoming manager meeting on Saturday, April 29, 2023 at the Marina del Rey Marriott in the Venice/Peninsula rooms.

Any questions, please reach out to Renee Williams via email at arthmed@aol.com. To register for the Practice Manager meeting, click the “Register” button!

CRA 18th Annual Meeting Registration NOW OPEN! Reserve your seat today!

The 18th Annual Meeting is fast approaching and we’re excited to welcome you to San Francisco, CA May 14-15, 2022! Back to in-person meetings? Yes! We have been looking forward to this for a while and can’t wait to see you all again! Looking forward to more opportunities to mingle with your colleagues and learn from our faculty.

Our program offers 8 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits TM. Successful completion of this CME activity, which includes participation in the evaluation component, enables the participant to earn up to 4.0 MOC points. The education provided at this meeting will help you to keep pace with the changing healthcare environment while improving the care you provide to your patients.

HOTELS: The CRA Room Block has been fulfilled. The Marriott Marquis SF is fully booked/sold out of rooms for the duration of the meeting. Please see below for recommendations on nearby hotels:

CRA Lifetime Achievement Award Luncheon

We will be having an Honorary Luncheon on Saturday, May 14, at 1:00 PM celebrating the Lifetime Achievements of CRA Founder, Dr. Michael Stevens. This event is included in your registration fee and we hope you’ll join us for an afternoon of fun and fellowship.

Saturday, May 14, 2022 Dinner Program

Also included in your registration is the option to attend our Saturday evening dinner program sponsored by UCB titled,

” nr-axSpA: Underrecognized, Underdiagnosed, and Undertreated”

Speaker: Robin K. Dore, MD

Location: China Live – 644 Broadway, San Francisco, CA 94133

Please click here to view the invitation flyer. For more information or to RSVP, please contact Hilary Sellars.


Please submit this form via email to info@calrheum.org if you are interested in exhibiting at the upcoming meeting. Please include exhibitor names on the form. Exhibitor package comes with (2) exhibitor badges with access to the Exhibit Floor only. Only (2) exhibitors per company are allowed on the floor at any given time.

Please download the Exhibitor Packet for installation/display information/shipping details.

If your booth requires external power, please reach out to Edlen through this link: ordering.edlen.com

2021 CRA Honorary Luncheon celebrating Dr. Daniel Furst

October 8, 2021 at the Marina del Rey Marriott

Finally, after a year and a half of cancelled and attending meetings virtually, we were able to safely and successfully hold our 17th Annual Medical & Scientific Meeting during UCLA’s 38th Annual Carl M. Pearson Symposium in Marina del Rey, CA at the Marina del Rey Marriott. The meeting was well attended and the talks were timely and informative. However, one of the major highlights of the weekend was our Honorary Luncheon where we celebrated and awarded our 2021 Lifetime Achievement Award to Dr. Daniel Furst. Family, friends and colleagues gathered together, both in-person and virtually, to share their memories of working with him and how he’s positively influenced and impacted their lives and careers.

If you were unable to attend, please click the video below and comment if you would like to share any well wishes or stories for Dr. Furst!

Photo Gallery

Images by Shanna Castro Photography

CRA President, Dr. Samy Metyas featured in Capitol Weekly Op-Ed

Featured, General, Sticky

CRA President, Dr. Samy Metyas, was recently featured in an opinion editorial published by Capitol Weekly voicing support for AB 347, a bill introduced by Assemblymember Dr. Joaquin Arambula which will enact a standardization of exceptions when an insurer utilizes step therapy.  The bill does not seek to eliminate step therapy but will ensure that doctors and their staff are not playing a guessing game as to what exceptions will be granted by the insurer and when patients might have access to the medication their doctor prescribed.

To read the full article, click here

CRA Diamond Member News: AS: Lessons from HCP Journeys


AS Diagnosis: Lessons from Two Rheumatologists’ Journeys

With approximately 3 out of every 1000 people in North America living with ankylosing spondylitis (AS), based on a 2013 prevalence study, properly targeted care and diagnoses are key. Watch these videos to learn about two rheumatologists’ journeys as AS patients, and explore how you can help patients manage this disease and help get them back to their daily activities.

The AS Journey – Chapter 1: https://bcove.video/36ZB6No
The AS Journey – Chapter 2: https://bcove.video/3DDzbKk

Reference: 1. Dean, LE Jones GT, MacDonald AG, Downham C, Sturrock RD, Macfarlane GJ. Global prevalence of ankylosing spondylitis. Rheumatology (Oxford). 2014;53(4):650-657. doi:10.1093/rheumatology/ket387

©2022 Abbvie Ltd. All rights reserved.

CRA Diamond Member News: Pfizer Medical Portal Open


The new Pfizer Medical portal is now live

The new Pfizer Medical portal is a personalized digital experience that easily connects you to cross-therapeutic Pfizer medical content and experts—all in one place.

Explore these resources at pfizermedical.pfizerpro.com.

Pfizer Medical is your centralized source of clinical knowledge of Pfizer’s medicines and vaccines.

For more tailored content, create an account and select your therapeutic area.

Manuscript with ORAL Surveillance Data Available in the New England Journal of Medicine January 27 Issue


A manuscript has been published on ORAL Surveillance within the January 27 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. The manuscript is entitled Cardiovascular and Cancer Risk with Tofacitinib in Rheumatoid Arthritis. This peer-reviewed publication reports results from the Oral Rheumatoid Arthritis Trial (ORAL) Surveillance, a randomized, post-marketing requirement study with the primary objective of evaluating the safety of tofacitinib at two doses (5mg twice daily and 10 mg twice daily) compared with a TNF inhibitor in patients with rheumatoid arthritis who were 50 years of age or older and had at least one cardiovascular risk factor. The publication is available here.   

The XELJANZ® (tofacitinib) US Prescribing Information can be found here.

FDA Approval of Xeljanz (tofacitinib) for Ankylosing Spondylitis


On December 14, 2021, Pfizer received FDA approval of XELJANZ® 5 mg twice daily (BID) and XELJANZ® XR (tofacitinib) extended release 11 mg once daily (QD) for the treatment of adult patients with active ankylosing spondylitis (AS) who have had an inadequate response or intolerance to one or more TNF blockers.   

The approval was based on data from the Phase 3 AS clinical development program, which consisted of a 48-week study that evaluated the safety and efficacy of XELJANZ in adult patients with active AS.  Pfizer’s press release and XELJANZ® (tofacitinib) approved product labeling can be found here and here.

U.S. FDA Approves Cyltezo® (adalimumab-adbm) as First Interchangeable Biosimilar with Humira®


On October 15, Boehringer Ingelheim announced the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the supplemental Biologics License Application (sBLA) for Cyltezo® (adalimumab-adbm) as the first Interchangeable biosimilar with Humira® (adalimumab). The FDA originally approved Cyltezo® in 2017 for the treatment of multiple chronic inflammatory diseases and this latest approval designates it as Interchangeable across all of these indications.

Cyltezo will not be available commercially in the US until July 2023. For more info, click the link below.

Link to full article

Anthem Clarifies Specialty Pharmacy Mandate

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These last few weeks, CRA has been working tirelessly to follow-up with and verify the details of Anthem’s specialty pharmacy policy that will be implemented for PPO and EPO subscribers effective December 1, 2020. We are happy to report that we received the following email from April Barber, Regional Vice President, Provider Solutions at Anthem that clarifies who will be impacted by this mandate:

Thank you for taking the time to talk with me regarding Anthem’s new requirement to obtain certain drugs from CVS Specialty Pharmacy. I am hoping to clarify the scope and objective of this initiative and if your practice is impacted.

In order to address the rising cost of specialty drug prices, Anthem Blue Cross is requiring certain specialty drugs to be obtained from designated specialty pharmacy providers. For select specialty drugs administered in a physician’s office or outpatient setting, providers are required to acquire specialty medications from CVS Specialty Pharmacy if they are not participating in the designated specialty pharmacy network. Practices and facilities can join the designated SRx network if they meet network terms and conditions, including ASP price threshold. 

On September 1, 2020, Anthem Blue Cross notified practices [with patients in Anthem commercial EPO and PPO plans] that are impacted by this initiative of this new requirement who did not meet the terms to participate in the designated SRx network. If you did not receive this letter, your practice can continue to administer and bill drugs per your standard processes.

If your practice received a letter indicating you must acquire specialty drugs through the Designated SRx Network, please contact your contracting representative regarding the terms and conditions required to be eligible.

We apologize for the confusion and frustration the information you received about this initiative may have caused. If you would like to confirm if your practice is included in the designated SRx network, or if you have any further questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact April Barber, Regional Vice President, Provider Solutions, at April.Barber@Anthem.com. Thank you again for contacting us.

On behalf of the CRA Board of Directors, I want to thank and applaud our membership for mobilizing and taking action to communicate our concern for our patients to Anthem Blue Cross. We are gratified to know that our PPO and EPO patients will have access to their treatment and care in our offices without change.

CRA Issues Letters to California Business Advocacy Organizations Warning Them of Consequences of Anthem Blue Cross Mandate

Featured, General

This week, the CRA issued letters to the following business advocacy organizations outlining the impact to businesses and employees if the Anthem policy goes into effect on December 1, 2020:

If you have any questions about how this new policy will affect your patients, please contact us at info@calrheum.org.