Each year, IFFGD sets forth its legislative priorities and works with legislators in Washington, D.C. to advance policies that impact the study and treatment of chronic gastrointestinal (GI) diseases. These policies are aimed at expanding and improving GI disease research, patient access to care, and prevention and public awareness of GI disease.

2021 Policy Priorities

Medical Research

  • Please provide the National Institutes of Health (NIH) with $46.1 billion in funding for fiscal year (FY) 2022, an increase of $3.2 billion. Strengthening the nation’s biomedical research enterprise through NIH fosters economic growth and sustains innovations that enhance the health and well-being of the American people. NIH sponsors groundbreaking initiatives like the Stimulating Peripheral Activity to Relieve Conditions (SPARC) Initiative that is having a powerful impact on new treatments for gastrointestinal disorders. Please also ensure proportional funding increases for the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), which supports basic, clinical, and translational research on aspects of gut physiology regulating motility and clinical trials through the Motility and Functional GI Disorders Program.
  • Please support Gulf War Illness research at the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Gulf War Medically Unexplained Illnesses are characterized by multiple diverse symptoms, including gastrointestinal problems that could not be explained by established medical diagnoses or standard lab tests. Approximately 25-32% of Gulf War veterans continue to experience symptoms associated with their deployment. The DoD Gulf War Illness Research Program (GWIRP) and the VA Gulf War Research Program allow talented researchers to work at finding the reasons behind this high prevalence and seek ways to reduce these challenges during future conflicts.

Patient Access to Treatments

  • Please work to limit patient out-of-pocket costs and curb current and future payer tactics to shift costs onto patients. Many patients face financial barriers to obtaining quality care and innovative treatments. IFFGD supports policy and regulations that facilitate patient access to care by strengthening the patient-provider decision-making relationship, limiting patient out-of-pocket spending, and curbing cost-shifting practices by third-party payers, including step therapy, non-medical switching, and co-pay accumulator adjustment programs.

Education and Awareness

  • Please provide $5,000,000 for the Chronic Diseases Education and Awareness Program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Patients with FGIMDs frequently suffer for years before receiving an accurate diagnosis, exposing them to unnecessary and costly tests and procedures including surgeries, as well as needless suffering and expense. Functional GI and motility disorders are among the most common digestive disorders in the general population. They affect an estimated 1 in 4 people in the U.S. and account for 40% of GI problems seen by medical providers. A CDC program focused on surveillance, provider education, and public awareness would increase diagnoses and improve patient outcomes.

2020 Policy Priorities

Medical Research

  • Work to advance The Functional Gastrointestinal and Motility Disorders Research Enhancement Act (HR 3396). This legislation focuses on bolstering research and increasing awareness of functional GI disorders and seeks increased coordination on research across the federal government. This legislation was reintroduced by Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI-05) and Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI-04).
  • Please provide the National Institutes of Health (NIH) with $44.7 billion in funding for fiscal year (FY) 2021, an increase of $3 billion. Strengthening the nation’s biomedical research enterprise through NIH fosters economic growth and sustains innovations that enhance the health and well-being of the American people. NIH sponsors groundbreaking initiatives like the Stimulating Peripheral Activity to Relieve Conditions (SPARC) Initiative that is having a powerful impact on new treatments for gastrointestinal disorders. Please also ensure proportional funding increases for the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), which supports basic, clinical, and translational research on aspects of gut physiology regulating motility and clinical trials through the Motility and Functional GI Disorders Program.
  • Please support Gulf War Illness research at the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Gulf War Medically Unexplained Illnesses are characterized by multiple diverse symptoms, including gastrointestinal problems that could not be explained by established medical diagnoses or standard lab tests. Approximately 25-32% of Gulf War veterans continue to experience symptoms associated with their deployment. The DoD Gulf War Illness Research Program (GWIRP) and the VA Gulf War Research Program allow talented researchers to work at finding the reasons behind this high prevalence and seek ways to reduce these challenges during future conflicts.

Patient Access to Treatments

  • Please work to limit patient out-of-pocket costs and curb current and future payer tactics to shift costs onto patients. Many patients face financial barriers to obtaining quality care and innovative treatments. IFFGD supports policy and regulations that facilitate patient access to care by strengthening the patient-provider decision-making relationship, limiting patient out-of-pocket spending, and curbing cost-shifting practices by third-party payers, including step therapy, non-medical switching, and co-pay accumulator adjustment programs.
  • Please work to advance the Safe Step Act (HR 2279/S.2546). This bill would establish guidelines for appealing step therapy protocols under ERISA health plans.

Education and Awareness

  • Please provide $5,000,000 for the Chronic Diseases Education and Awareness Program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Patients with FGIMDs frequently suffer for years before receiving an accurate diagnosis, exposing them to unnecessary and costly tests and procedures including surgeries, as well as needless suffering and expense. Functional GI and motility disorders are among the most common digestive disorders in the general population. They affect an estimated 1 in 4 people in the U.S. and account for 40% of GI problems seen by medical providers. A CDC program focused on surveillance, provider education, and public awareness would increase diagnoses and improve patient outcomes.

2019 Policy Priorities

Medical Research

  • Work to advance The Functional Gastrointestinal and Motility Disorders Research Enhancement Act (HR 3396). This legislation focuses on bolstering research and increasing awareness of functional GI disorders and seeks increased coordination on research across the federal government.
  • Provide the National Institutes of Health (NIH) with $41.6 billion in funding for fiscal year (FY) 2020, an increase of $2.5 billion. Strengthening the nation’s biomedical research enterprise through NIH fosters economic growth and sustains innovations that enhance the health and well-being of the American people. NIH sponsors groundbreaking initiatives like the Stimulating Peripheral Activity to Relieve Conditions (SPARC) Initiative that is having a powerful impact on new treatments for gastrointestinal disorders. Please also ensure proportional funding increases for the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), which supports basic, clinical, and translational research on aspects of gut physiology regulating motility and clinical trials through the Motility and Functional GI Disorders Program.
  • Support Gulf War Illness research at the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Gulf War Medically Unexplained Illnesses are characterized by multiple diverse symptoms, including gastrointestinal problems that could not be explained by established medical diagnoses or standard lab tests. Approximately 25-32% of Gulf War veterans continue to experience symptoms associated with their deployment. The DoD Gulf War Illness Research Program (GWIRP) and the VA Gulf War Research Program allow talented researchers to work at finding the reasons behind this high prevalence and seek ways to reduce these challenges during future conflicts.

Patient Access to Treatments

  • Work to limit patient out-of-pocket costs and curb current and future payer tactics to shift costs onto patients. Many patients face financial barriers to obtaining quality care and innovative treatments. IFFGD supports policy and regulations that facilitate patient access to care by strengthening the patient-provider decision-making relationship, limiting patient out-of-pocket spending, and curbing cost-shifting practices by third-party payers, including step therapy, non-medical switching, and co-pay accumulator adjustment programs.
  • Work to advance the Safe Step Act (HR 2279, S 2546). This bill would establish guidelines for appealing step therapy protocols under ERISA health plans.

Education and Awareness

  • Provide $500,000 for a functional GI and motility disorders program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Patients with FGIMDs frequently suffer for years before receiving an accurate diagnosis, exposing them to unnecessary and costly tests and procedures including surgeries, as well as needless suffering and expense. Functional GI and motility disorders are among the most common digestive disorders in the general population. They affect an estimated 1 in 4 people in the U.S. and account for 40% of GI problems seen by medical providers. A CDC program focused on surveillance, provider education, and public awareness would increase diagnoses and improve patient outcomes.
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IFFGD is a nonprofit education and research organization. Our mission is to inform, assist, and support people affected by gastrointestinal disorders.

Our original content is authored specifically for IFFGD readers, in response to your questions and concerns.

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