By Susan Wells Courtney
Upcoming Webinars, MS Awareness Month Review, and Ongoing Programs Serving the MS Community
MSAA’s Informative Webinars
At MSAA, we know that providing urgent information on a wide range of topics – from diagnosis and treatments to healthy lifestyles and family relationships – is critical to the health and wellbeing of the entire MS community. One great way to provide this information is through live webinars with top MS professionals, where attendees can listen in from the comfort and convenience of their home. And if unable to attend the live presentation, MSAA’s webinars are always recorded and available on our website for on-demand viewing.
Currently, we have two very informative webinars scheduled for May and June:
- May 2022: Working to Destigmatize Mental Health and MS: A Mental Wellness Discussion
- June 2022: Understanding Your MRI
These digital educational programs are free to attend. To register, please visit our calendar of events at mymsaa.org/calendar. Also, previous webinars on topics such as “The African American Experience and MS,” “Approaches to Managing MS in 2022: A Research Update,” “What’s for Dinner? Let’s Talk About Nutrition and MS,” as well as the “Living Rural with MS” series, and more, are now available for on-demand viewing on the MSi video webpage at mymsaa.org/videos.
MS Awareness Month Recap
MSAA proudly supported Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month during the month of March and offered several online educational activities, including an Instagram Live, two podcast episodes, and two webinars featuring experts in the field of MS. MSAA supported this year’s national campaign by focusing on “Shaping the MS Experience,” with specific programs addressing the many facets of the clinical approach to MS.
The weekly online educational activities held in March were as follows:
- Instagram Live with Dr. Mitzi Williams and Damian Washington, Patient Advocate and Actor
- “How to Choose the Right MS Therapy for You” podcast with Dr. Barry Singer
- “The Science Behind MS” webinar with Dr. Esther Melamed
- “3 M’s of MS: Mangia, Microbiome, and Molecules” podcast with Dr. Andrew Woo
- “Understanding Progression in MS” webinar with Dr. Carrie Hersh
Those interested in these topics may go online to access any of these programs. Please visit mymsaa.org/awarenessmonth for more information!
Cooling, Equipment, and MRI Access Programs
Cooling Distribution Program
If you are a member of the MS community, chances are you are very familiar with a common issue known as “heat sensitivity.” When heat and humidity increase, the symptoms of MS often worsen, causing problems such as changes in vision, overwhelming fatigue, extreme weakness, and more. However, research has shown that cooling the body with cooling vests and accessories can reduce the negative effects of heat and humidity on a person with MS.
Summer is almost here and with it comes the hot temperatures that keep individuals with MS from enjoying outdoor activities for months at a time. Fortunately, MSAA’s Cooling Distribution Program is here to help! This program offers free cooling vests and accessories to eligible individuals to provide relief from heat sensitivity and the symptoms it causes.
Eligible clients may receive cooling products from MSAA once every five years. Please visit mymsaa.org/cooling or call (800) 532-7667 for more information.
Equipment Distribution Program
Equipment designed for mobility, safety, and comfort can greatly improve quality of life and enhance activities of daily living. Unfortunately, not everyone has access to the equipment he or she needs, and cost can often play a role. If this is the case, MSAA’s Equipment Distribution Program may be the answer. This program offers products designed to improve safety and mobility while also providing greater opportunities for exercise and wellness. MSAA distributes these products at no charge to individuals with MS who qualify for assistance, and items are shipped directly to the client.
Products provided through the program range from grab bars, shower chairs, and walkers, to wide-grip utensil sets and yoga mats. MSAA can assist in offering those with MS equipment products every three years. Please visit mymsaa.org/equipment or call (800) 532-7667 for more information.
MRI Access Program
Do you need financial assistance to help pay for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) – either in the near future or one already done within the past six months? MSAA’s MRI Access Program assists with the payment of cranial (brain) and c-spine magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans to individuals meeting eligibility requirements. Assistance is provided to qualified individuals who have no medical insurance or cannot afford their insurance costs and require an MRI to help determine a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis or evaluate current MS disease progression.
For eligible individuals who have no insurance or cannot afford their insurance costs, MSAA will cover the cost of new cranial and/or c-spine MRIs at an imaging center that is under contract with MSAA. For eligible individuals with insurance, MSAA will cover the cost of your medical insurance co-pay or co-insurance balance up to a maximum of $750 per new MRI (cranial and/or c-spine).
For eligible individuals who previously had a cranial and/or c-spine MRI, MSAA will cover up to $750 per MRI with a date of service within the past six months of the date of your application. MSAA pays the imaging center directly and does not reimburse the client. Please visit mymsaa.org/MRI or call (800) 532-7667 for more information.
MSAA’s Helpline Offers Timely Information, Supportive Resources, and Needed Reassurance
Do you have questions about MS, its symptoms, or its treatments? How are you and those around you feeling – is sadness, worry, frustration, or other emotion impacting your daily life? Each year, several thousand members of the MS community reach out to MSAA’s trained and experienced Client Services Specialists to ask questions and learn about helpful resources. Sometimes callers simply need a sense of comfort and reassurance with whatever challenges or concerns they may be experiencing.
If you are in need of information, resources, support, or any other type of assistance, please contact MSAA’s Helpline via phone or email. Helpline hours are Monday through Friday, 8:30 AM to 8:00 PM (ET). We invite you to call our toll-free number at (800) 532-7667, ext. 154 or connect with our Helpline Specialists through email at MSQuestions@mymsaa.org.
To reach a Spanish-speaking Client Services Specialist, please call (800) 532-7667, extension 131. Para comunicarse con un Especialista de Servicios al Cliente que habla español, llame al (800) 532-7667, extensión 131 o envíe un correo electrónico a MSquestions@mymsaa.org. El horario de la línea de ayuda es de lunes a viernes, de 8:30 AM a 8:00 PM, hora del este.