Rheumatology Association of Iowa 3rd Annual Meeting

Cedar Rapids, IA US
February 24, 2017 to February 25, 2017

Click here to register.

If you have questions, please contact Lorene Harder at lorene@wjweiser.com or 847-264-5912.

Target Audience

Health care professionals involved with rheumatological care in the state of Iowa and the Midwest.

Educational Need

Rheumatologists need to be knowledgeable of the ongoing developments for the management of rheumatic diseases in the areas of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) and Antiphospholipid Syndrome.

As the landscape of healthcare continues to change dramatically, rheumatologists’ understanding of federal policies, reform and advocacy has never been more important. Given the challenges of operating a financially sustainable medical practice in this economic environment, rheumatologists are particularly sensitive to the need to control costs of providing healthcare across a large population. State legislators are considering legislative proposals to limit step-therapy policies, as well as simplify the prior authorization process, limit specialty tiers, regulate the substitution of biologic prescriptions, and other measures which will provide patients with access to quality care. The opportunity exists for rheumatologists to advocate for the best public policy with a unified voice and a mechanism to act.

Today’s challenging health care environment is affecting the way physicians manage their practices, interfering with access to care and forcing them to make difficult decisions. Physicians seek to continue to provide quality care while contending with reduced Medicare reimbursement rates, medical claims, process errors and inefficiency, and legislative and regulatory changes. Rheumatologists need to be aware of emerging trends in practice management, payer reform, and administrative simplification of impact to the success of their practices and quality of patient care.


  1. Explain the current classification criteria of Antiphospholipid Syndrome (APS) and how they might be improved.
  2. Review recent trials of DOACs in APS.
  3. Address controversy about statin for pregnancy loss in APS. 
  4. Describe the SLE evidence based criteria.
  5. Explain the risk/ benefits of treatments such as prednisone and hydroxychloroquine and the role of biologics in the treatment of SLE.
  6. Describe SLE comorbidities such as CAD and fibromyalgia.
  7. Explain legislative trends regarding practice management, payer reform, and medication access of impact to the medical community and rheumatologists throughout the country and related proposals in Iowa. 
  8. Recognize the interaction between insurance, pharmaceutical buying organizations and prescription drug cost as well as the effect of these on patient care.
  9. Identify opportunities for state and national advocacy, legislative action and our need for representation at the state national level.
  10. Learn how to improve your administrative interactions with Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield.
  11. Explain how Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield develops/retires medical and pharmacy policies.
  12. Describe Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield’s prior approval and peer to peer processes.


Friday, February 24
3 – 7 pmRegistration 
3 – 5 pmBoard of Directors Meeting
4:30 – 7 pmExhibit Hall Open
5 pm

Keynote Lecture: Insurance Carrier Issues and Rheumatology

Thomas P. Newton, Vice President of Network Engagement, Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield
Timothy R. Gutshall, MD, Chief Medical Director, Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield

Medical claim insurance reimbursement is very important to both doctors and patients in order to obtain the best medical treatment.  In the state of Iowa, Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield is an important medical insurance provider. Rheumatologists need to be aware of the best way to improve communication on clinical issues between payers and providers of health care.  In addition, Rheumatologists need to be aware of Wellmark’s current processes for developing and retiring medical and pharmacy policies as well as the process for seeking prior approvals and peer to peer consultations. This knowledge will improve medical claim reimbursements for patient care.

6 pmWelcome Reception
Saturday, February 25
8 amPractice Manager Networking Breakfast
9 am 


Michael S. Brooks, MD, FACP, FACR, Physician’s Clinic of Iowa, P.C.

9:15 am

Antiphospholipid Syndrome (APS) Update

Michelle Petri, MD, MPH, Lupus Center at Johns Hopkins Outpatient Center

The International Congress on Antiphospholipid Antibodies (aPL) is held every three years to discuss the recent advances and future directions in aPL and Antiphospholipid Syndrome (APS).  In the 76 years since the biologic positive test for syphilis was first associated with lupus, more than 50 years since lupus anticoagulant was first associated with pregnancy loss and thrombosis, and 33 years since the development of the ELISA test for anticardiolipin antibody and the definition of the syndrome, we are on the threshold of knowing why the antibody develops, how it does its damage, and how it can best be treated. The International Congress on aPL and APS meeting hosted the world’s experts on this topic to define the state-of-the-art of antiphospholipid antibodies and antiphospholipid syndrome for the next generation. The meeting presented new discoveries that need to be brought to practicing rheumatologists so they can provide their patients with the best possible treatment options.

10:15 am

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) Update

Michelle Petri, MD, MPH, Lupus Center at Johns Hopkins Outpatient Center

Improved understanding of the immunopathogenesis of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) has paved the way for new specific immune interventions for this inflammatory disease similar to those for rheumatoid arthritis and spondylarthritides. There are new evidence based classification criteria for Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) which are more sensitive than the old ACR criteria. Advances have been made in the treatment of lupus nephritis, but comorbidites remain a major challenge.

11:15 amBreak
11:45 amAnnual Business Meeting
12:30 pmLunch
1:30 pm

Insurance Companies: What You Don’t Know, But Should

Keith Bradbury, RPh, MS, Advantage Point Solutions

In order to provide their patients with the best possible treatment and outcomes, Rheumatologists need to be knowledgeable about insurance companies and how to ensure reimbursement for the selected treatment.  Specifically, Rheumatologists need education on the following:

  • Recent Trends in Pharmacy Benefit Management
  • What does a Pharmacy Benefit Manager do?
  • Role of the committees that influence formulary decisions and coverage rule development
  • Preferred and non-preferred drugs
  • Pharmacy benefit management techniques
  • Specialty tiers
  • How and why are prior authorizations and step rules formulated?
  • Why do some drugs have these rules and others do not?
  • Rebates and the flow of the rebate money  
  • How will payers manage biosimilar products?
  • How can State Rheumatology Society have more influence over payers to help decrease access restrictions?
2:30 pmBreak
3 pm

Legislative and Advocacy Issues Panel

Michele Guadalupe, MPH, Arthritis Foundation
Ryan Larosa, BA, American College of Rheumatology
Dennis Tibben, Iowa Medical Society

Rheumatologists working in the state of Iowa are focused on the delivery of care, and often cannot keep track of daily legislative and regulatory developments that will ultimately impact their provision of that care. It is important to keep rheumatologists informed on socioeconomic activity in Washington and their state capitols, focusing on how new initiatives will impact their patients and practice. State and Federal legislation directly affects the way that physicians practice and how their patients are able to receive services.  During 2016, a number of significant issues fell under the purview of state and federal legislation that have direct impacts on the ways that medicine is handled in the state of Iowa.  

4 pm

Defining Value in the Age of MACRA

Speaker TBD

5 pm Adjourn


Relevant to the content of this educational activity, the following individuals have no conflict of interests with commercial interests to disclose.

  • Keith Bradbury, RPh, MS, Speaker
  • Kevin Daley, Panel Member
  • Michele Guadalupe, MPH, Panel Member
  • Timothy Gutshall, MD, Speaker
  • Lorene Harder, Planning Committee
  • Susan M. Jacobi, MD, Planning Committee
  • Thomas Newton, Speaker
  • Michelle Petri, MD, MPH, Speaker
  • David B. Staub, MD, Planning Committee
  • Dennis Tibben, Panel Member

Relevant to the content of this educational activity, the following individuals a conflict of interest with commercial interests to disclose.

  • Michael Brooks, MD, FACP, FACR, Activity Director, receives grants/research support from Pfizer, Merck, Janssen, and Lilly
  • Bogdan Cherascu, MD, MS, Planning Committee, Consultant for Abbvie
  • Angus Worthing, MD, Panel Member, Consultant for Abbvie

Educational Grants

No commercial interest provided financial support for this continuing education activity.

Continuing Education Credit

  • MD:  This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the accreditation requirements and policies of the Iowa Medical Society (IMS) through the joint providership of Des Moines University (DMU) and the Rheumatology Association of Iowa. DMU is accredited by IMS to provide continuing medical education for physicians. DMU designates this live activity for a maximum of 5.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)TM. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.
  • DO: Des Moines University (DMU) is accredited by the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) to provide osteopathic continuing medical education for physicians. DMU designates this program for a maximum of 5.0 AOA Category 2-A credits and will report CME and specialty credits commensurate with the extent of the physician’s participation in this activity.
  • Other: This live activity is designated for 5.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)TM

Everyone in a position to control the content of this educational activity will disclose to the CME provider and to attendees all relevant financial relationships with any commercial interest. They will also disclose if any pharmaceuticals or medical procedures and devices discussed are investigational or unapproved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Determination of educational content and the selection of speakers is the responsibility of the activity director. Firms providing financial support did not have input in these areas.

Course summary
Available credit: 
  • 5.00 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits
  • 5.00 AOA Category 2­A
  • 5.00 CE Contact Hour(s)
Course opens: 
Course expires: 
Event starts: 
02/24/2017 - 5:00pm CST
Event ends: 
02/25/2017 - 5:00pm CST
The Hotel at Kirkwood Center
7725 Kirkwood Blvd. S.W.
Cedar Rapids, IA 52404
United States

Available Credit

  • 5.00 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits
  • 5.00 AOA Category 2­A
  • 5.00 CE Contact Hour(s)


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