21st Century Cures medical-innovations tour returns to Michigan

This week, U.S. Reps. Fred Upton (R-MI) and Diana DeGette (D-CO) will team up on a tour of Upton’s Southwest Michigan district to promote their nonpartisan 21st Century Cures initiative. During the trip, the duo will visit several locations in the district and meet with patients, medical students, innovators and other health care leaders to discuss the key points of the initiative and the innovations and changes they can expect.
“It’s been a year since we launched our bipartisan 21st Century Cures conversation, and this Monday, we are bringing it home again to Michigan,” Upton and DeGette said in an op-ed published in Friday’s Detroit Free Press. “The 21st Century Cures initiative is uniquely personal, nonpartisan and transparent, and is working to deliver hope to patients and families in each of our home districts and across the country.”

“We began with a common goal: faster and better cures and treatments for patients,” they said. “We recognize the incredible promise of science and technology to solve the riddle of disease, and we know innovators, scientists, health-care providers and regulators share our vision for more and better cures. To move from aspiration to action, we brought everyone to one table — key players from all areas of the cures framework — and engaged in an open and honest conversation about how we can do more for patients.”

The piece discussed the many different ideas the pair learned on their nationwide tour last year, speaking with doctors, nurses, patients and other medical leaders to hear concerns and collect ideas during the formative stage of the 21st Century Cures plan. Now, as the legislative phase begins, the lawmakers are back in front of the public to explain the execution of the plan and the short-term and long-term benefits that can be expected.

“We have heard from folks all across the country and have spent the past several months translating those ideas into legislative text,” they said in the op-ed. “We are working on policies to improve communication throughout the entire health care innovation infrastructure and remove barriers between each phase in the discovery, development and delivery cycle. We are also working on ways to modernize clinical trials, ultimately lowering the cost and time it takes to get treatments to patients and keeping jobs here at home.”

“One of the keys to 21st Century Cures’ success has been the support and ideas from folks (in Michigan),” the op-ed said. “A tour of the University of Michigan Medical School and a roundtable discussion in Kalamazoo at the Western Michigan University School of Medicine last October sparked a number of ideas for this initiative, including a discussion about the value and importance of increased data sharing among researchers, innovators, clinicians and patients while maintaining important patient-safety protections.”