Principles for Urgent, Patient-Centered ALS Clinical Trials Latest in Ongoing Effort to Improve Trial Design

The ALS Association is deeply committed to accelerating the development of novel ALS therapies and ensuring they are accessible to those who need them. The Association is announcing today its latest strategic action with the release of Principles for Urgent, Patient-Centered ALS Clinical Trials: a series of recommendations to clinical trial sponsors and regulatory bodies worldwide. 

The Principles set out a clear framework for the design and conduct of ALS clinical trials that are efficient, impactful, and respectful. We view them as essential to both maximize the participation of people with ALS and their caregivers and to ensure every available tool is used to streamline drug development and regulatory-review processes. Regardless of the detailed specifics that may arise from FDA guidelines in the next few weeks, we hope these principles can help focus trial sponsors and regulators on the most important aspects of trial design and lead to ever-improving clinical trials as our fight against ALS advances. 

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ALS Advocates Take Action During Congressional Recess

With Congress home for the August recess, The ALS Association is redoubling its efforts to build upon momentum toward achieving a long sought policy goal – the elimination of a five month waiting period for Social Security Disability Insurance. 

During the summer recess, ALS Association chapters are focused on completing in-district meetings with members of Congress who have not already cosponsored the ALS Disability Insurance Access Act and urging them to support this bill. By increasing the number of cosponsors on this bill, we increase the chances of passing the bill before the end of the 116th Congress. 

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Understanding the Impact of the Ice Bucket Challenge on The ALS Association’s Finances

The ALS Association has always been committed to transparency, including providing complete and accurate financial information on our website. We continue to receive the highest ratings from charity watchdog groups tasked with reviewing our spending, fundraising, and management.

The Ice Bucket Challenge generated $115 million for the national office of The ALS Association in 2014, which spurred a massive increase in the Association’s capacity to invest in promising research, the development of assistive technologies, and increased access to care and services for people with ALS. Since 2014, we have committed more than $131 million toward our mission, including over $89 million committed specifically to worldwide research collaborations.

Since that time, the Association has devoted a page on our website to provide a list of how those funds are being spent. You can always find that information by clicking on the “Ice Bucket Challenge Progress” button on our homepage, or you can view those investments here.

After the Ice Bucket Challenge in 2014, The ALS Association’s Board of Trustees determined that the best use of these proceeds was to immediately put them to work by increasing funding in our core mission areas. As a result, we doubled our operating budget, with most of the increase allocated to research and care service initiatives.

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ALS Disability Insurance Access Act Reintroduced in 116th Congress

Bipartisan Legislation Eliminates Five-Month Waiting Period for SSDI Benefits for People Diagnosed with ALS

The ALS Disability Insurance Access Act was reintroduced in the 116th Congress this week as S.578 in the Senate by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR). Representatives Seth Moulton (D-MA) and Peter King (R-NY) introduced the companion bill in the House as H.R.1407.

The bill was introduced with strong bipartisan support from 40 senators and 90 representatives.

Last year, thanks to your advocacy, the bill gained considerable momentum. Within three months of the 2018 National ALS Advocacy Conference, more than one-third of Congress supported the bill. Within seven months, for the first time ever, the bill was considered for passage through the Senate via unanimous consent.

Multiple research studies indicate that people who have served in the military are at far greater risk of developing ALS and dying from the disease than those with no history of military service.

The ALS Association is honored to work with more than 20,000 people with ALS annually, including active duty military and veterans, through our nationwide system of chapters.

Continue reading ALS Disability Insurance Access Act Reintroduced in 116th Congress

The ALS Association Fights To Protect Health Care Access After Texas Ruling

The ALS Association joined 37 patient groups opposing a decision from a federal court in Texas that declared the Affordable Care Act (ACA) unconstitutional. The Texas v. United States decision is expected to be appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

The ACA will remain in place during the appeals process, including:

• Coverage protections for pre-existing conditions like ALS.
• Essential health benefits, including coverage of prescription drugs, chronic disease. management, rehab and habilitative services, and mental health.
• Coverage through Medicaid in states where the program was expanded.
• 2019 health insurance plans purchased through the marketplace (HealthCare.gov).

The ALS Association unequivocally opposes any effort to eliminate protections for people with ALS and urges Congress and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to safeguard protections for people with chronic diseases like ALS.

People with ALS Should Have Access to the Medicare Home Health Benefits They Deserve

The ALS Association is ramping up its efforts to make sure people with ALS who rely on Medicare have access to home health care benefits.

“Many people in the community, including people with ALS, people within our chapters, and our clinical partners, have told us about the serious and persistent challenges faced by Medicare beneficiaries with ALS,” said Dr. Neil Thakur, executive vice president for mission strategy at The ALS Association. “Many such beneficiaries, despite being fully qualified, are turned down for the home health benefits they deserve. Other beneficiaries are able to receive Medicare home health but deal with inadequate hours of service and inappropriate termination from care.”

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Guest Post: ‘Those With the Most to Lose Should Be Speaking the Loudest’

By Stan Williams

Last year, I sat in the Washington, D.C., offices of my four elected Indiana representatives and saw in their eyes how my words, and the words from my wife, pierced their hearts.

Attending the National ALS Advocacy Conference left me with the unmistakable conclusion that those with the most to lose should be speaking the loudest. We must explain to our elected officials how their inaction affects people living with ALS.

Our real-life experiences of my own battle with ALS, including my wife’s challenges as my caregiver, had an impact on the Congressmen. They listened intently. Some even shed a tear or two.

Continue reading Guest Post: ‘Those With the Most to Lose Should Be Speaking the Loudest’