Founded in 2006, the Alliance for Patient Access is a national network of physicians dedicated to ensuring patient access to approved therapies and appropriate clinical care. AfPA accomplishes this mission by recruiting, training and mobilizing policy-minded physicians to be effective advocates for patient access.
To promote a better understanding of the benefits of patient access to approved therapies and appropriate clinical care, the Alliance for Patient Access sponsors physician working groups, health policy initiatives, workshops, conferences, stakeholder coalitions and the production of educational materials.
AfPA Physician Working Groups serve as a means to bring together physicians who share a common therapeutic interest or access challenge so that they might work collaboratively in the development of education resources that are used to promote informed policymaking.
Through Health Policy Workshops and Policy Dinners, AfPA provides physicians health policy briefings and advocacy training. The objective of these sessions is to equip policy-minded physicians with the knowledge, skills and advocacy tools necessary to successfully challenge restrictive health policies that serve to deny patient access to approved therapies and/or appropriate clinical care.
In keeping with its above stated mission, AfPA continues to offer the physician’s perspective on global health policy issues implicating patient access and physician clinical decision making. To that end, AfPA sponsors the following programming:
- Conducting health policy and advocacy training workshops
- Sponsoring therapy specific physician working groups
- Providing media outlets with op-eds and comment
- Hosting physician advocate social media networks
- Organizing physician meetings with health policymakers
- Participating in policy conferences and stakeholder coalitions
- Producing on-line resources and video testimonials
- Offering comment and/or testimony on proposed regulations
AfPA is organized as a non-profit 501(c)(4) corporation and headed by an independent board of directors. Its physician leadership is supported by policy advocacy management and public affairs consultants. In 2012, AfPA established the Institute for Patient Access (IfPA), a related 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation. In keeping with its mission to promote a better understanding of the benefits of the physician-patient relationship in the provision of quality healthcare, IfPA sponsors policy research and educational programming.
The Alliance for Patient Access’ advocacy and leadership stem from three core ideals, which serve as the ideological pillars of the organization.
Pillar 1: The Physician-Patient Relationship
Trust yields better health outcomes. A strong physician-patient relationship boosts healthy behaviors and improves adherence to treatment.
The physician-patient relationship encourages patient-centered care. Knowing one’s patient is the first step in directing a unique course of care.
Policies should reinforce the physician-patient relationship. Physicians should be allowed the time to cultivate a relationship with their patients – and rewarded when that relationship generates positive health outcomes.
Pillar 2: Value
All stakeholders deserve a voice. Determining consensus on the value of a medication or medical intervention requires input from patients, health care providers, payers and manufacturers.
Valuation is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor. Valuation should consider a medicine’s effectiveness, patient satisfaction and development costs, as well as the burden of the disease it treats. Valuation must be contextualized, because value varies based on patients’ unique circumstances.
Valuation should not dictate coverage Findings should instead inform physician-patient decision making and professional society guidelines.
Pillar 3: Access
Pricing should prioritize access. Manufacturers’ pricing process should include input from all stakeholders including physicians, patients and payers.
Society shares both benefits and risks. Expensive advanced therapies, such as biologics, offer a societal benefit. All stakeholders – including manufacturers, payers, patients and broader society – should help shoulder the cost burden.
Utilization management should not undermine patient access. Health plans should instead use these protocols in a manner that reflects consensus valuations and respects physician-patient decision making.
About the Chairman
David Charles, MD
AfPA is led by David Charles, M.D., who is the Chief Medical Officer of the Vanderbilt University Clinical Neurosciences Institute. Dr. Charles is a national leader in Movement Disorders research. He took leave from his practice in 1998 and spent a year on the staff of U.S. Senator Bill Frist, where he served as a health policy advisor. Following this experience in Washington, Dr. Charles conducted Parkinson’s disease research in France as a Fulbright Senior Scholar.
Dr. Robert Yapundich is a neurologist in private practice with Neurology Associates in Hickory, N.C.
Dr. Yapundich completed a neurology residency at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, followed by a fellowship in electromyography/neuromuscular diseases. He is a diplomat of The American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology with subspecialty certifications in Clinical Neurophysiology and Sleep Medicine, along with certification by the American Board of Electrodiagnostic Medicine.
Dr. Yapundich maintains an active outpatient practice that involves all aspects of Neurology, with a special interest in Electrodiagnostic Medicine. He has served as president of the North Carolina Neurological Society, and participates in various other local and statewide committees. Currently he is a board member of the North Carolina Medical Society and state liason for the American Association of Neuromuscular and Electrodiagnostic Medicine. Healthcare advocacy at the state and national levels has also been an area of significant interest. He has participated in clinical trials, many as primary investigator, and has served as co-author on a variety of past publications.
Jack Schim, M.D.
Dr. Schim is Voluntary Assistant Clinical Professor in the Neuroscience Department at University of California San Diego, and is on staff at the VA Medical Center in La Jolla. He has special interests in headache management, stroke prevention, acute stroke intervention, and neurologic rehabilitation.
Dr. Schim earned his medical degree from University of California San Diego (UCSD) Medical School, served as a medical intern at Cedars Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, and completed his neurology residency at UCSD, with special emphasis on electromyography and neuromuscular disease. He is Past President of the Association of California Neurologists and an active member of the American Academy of Neurology, American Stroke Association, and American Headache Society. Dr. Schim is Chair of the Division of Neuroscience at Scripps Hospital, Encinitas.
Dr. Schim is Board certified in Neurology, and has certification in Headache Medicine by the United Council of Neurologic Subspecialties. He has published articles in Experimental Neurology, Current Medical Research and Opinion, Pain Practice, Headache and Neurology.
Bruce Rubin, M.D.
Dr. Bruce Rubin is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Neurology at the University of Miami Miller School Of Medicine. He also currently serves as the Director of the Spasticity Clinic at Jackson Memorial Hospital.
Dr. Rubin has lectured nationally and has published articles in scientific journals such as Stroke, Neurology and Archives of Family Medicine. He is a member of several professional organizations, such as the American Academy of Neurology, Dade County Medical association, American Society of Neurorehabilitation and Brain Injury Association of Florida. He also serves as the Chairman for the Florida Chapter of the Alliance for Patient Access
Dr. Rubin received his Bachelor’s of Science degree from Hobart College and his Doctor of Medicine degree from State University of New York Health Science Center at Syracuse. He completed his Neurological residency at the Neurologic Institute at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in New York and his post-doctoral fellowship in Neurological Rehabilitation at the University of Miami School Of Medicine.
Allen Meadows, M.D.
Allen Meadows, M.D. serves as Chairman of AfPA’s Respiratory Therapy Access WorkingGroup. Dr. Meadows is clinical instructor of internal medicine and clinical instructor of family practice at the University of Alabama, Birmingham, and a solo community-based practitioner at the Alabama Allergy & Asthma Clinic in Montgomery, Ala. He is Chairman of the Advocacy Council of the ACAAI and Past President of the JCAAI.
He served as president of the Alabama Society of Allergy and Immunology, 1995-96, and as president of the Medical Society of Montgomery County, 1999. He was a member of the Board of Censors of Medical Association State of Alabama, 2002-2004, and on Alabama Board of Medical Examiners, 2002-2004.
Wesley Mizutani, M.D.
Huntington Beach, CA
Wesley Mizutani, M.D., is a specialist in rheumatology. Dr. Mizutani received his undergraduate degree from the University of Southern California. He earned his medical degree from University of California Los Angeles, and he completed his internship and residency in internal medicine at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center. Dr. Mizutani was also the recipient of a fellowship in rheumatology from the University of California, San Diego. After hours, he enjoys running.
Associate Membership in AfPA
AfPA membership is comprised of policy-minded physicians and healthcare professionals who advocate for patient access to approved therapies and appropriate clinical care. Non-physicians, including corporations and associations, participate in AfPA as associate members. AfPA’s associate members pay annual dues and are invited to regular associate member briefings. AfPA also receives support through sponsorships, grants and gifts.