AAN President Meets with Members of Congress on Physician Reimbursement

October 12, 2011


Catherine M. Rydell

AAN Leadership Update

Catherine M. Rydell, Executive Director & CEO
October 2011


  • AAN President Bruce Sigsbee, MD, FAAN, joined the AAN's DC staff on a tour of key congressional members and staff to discuss the Academy's views on physician reimbursement and cognitive care. Sigsbee's trip to Washington was perfectly timed as the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction has begun deliberations. On the Senate side, Sigsbee met with Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA), who is a member of the Deficit Reduction Committee, as well as Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME), Tom Udall (D-NM), Carl Levin (D-MI), and Olympia Snowe (R-ME). On the House side, he met with Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI), who is chair of the powerful Ways & Means Committee and also a member of the Deficit Committee. He also had discussions with Reps. Pete Sessions (R-TX), Henry Waxman (D-CA), Sander Levin (D-MI), Michael Michaud (D-ME), and Chellie Pingree (D-ME). The meetings went a long way toward moving the Congress in a direction that will recognize the work of neurologists and prevent future legislation like that suggested by MedPAC that would so negatively affect Academy members and patients with neurologic conditions.

  • The sixth annual State Society Leadership Roundtable was held September 17-18 in Minneapolis, with 14 leaders representing 12 state neurosocieties. Two key discussions focused on the pilot programs for AAN-approved CME for state societies and the option to pay state society dues in conjunction with the online AAN dues process. Attendees created action plans for their societies and will work with AAN staff to accomplish these goals over the next year.

  • The AAN has submitted an op-ed to major Washington, DC, publications outlining how MedPAC's recent recommendations to Congress will be harmful to neurology and other specialty physicians. Read the op-ed.

Medical Economics

  • Results of a study funded by the AAN and several other medical associations suggest the work intensity of physicians across several specialties is fairly equal. The findings provide the groundwork for the development of a more reliable, scientific measurement of physician work intensity that may guide national policy in patient safety, practice management, and payment. The study was published ahead of print in Medical Care in September. Although the contributing societies approved the project, they had no editorial control over publication or preparation of the manuscript.

  • The Academy sent a letter to the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) to voice concerns regarding MedPAC's recommendations to Congress to repeal the Medicare reimbursement rate (SGR). Academy staff also addressed this issue during a conference call with MedPAC staff and issued a statement on AAN.com. The recommendation would institute three years of 5.9% cuts to physicians in all specialties other than those classified as primary care. The AAN is concerned that cuts to all specialties lumped as one would widen the disparities between cognitive and procedural care and increase already reported access problems to cognitive care specialists, such as neurologists. Previously, in its June report to Congress, MedPAC recognized the need to realign payments for cognitive specialties after the AAN members' testimony that emphasized the need to recognize the value of cognitive specialty care.

  • The AAN joined with Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) to promote a 15-percent registration discount for members who attend both the AAN Fall Conference and the MGMA Annual Conference, which are booked back-to-back in Las Vegas. This collaboration presents an opportunity to attract additional neurology practice managers to the AAN meeting and allows them to gather the AAN's neurology-specific information in just one trip away from the office.


  • The 2012 dues cycle launched the first week of October. Two new options will be offered to our members this year: the ability to contribute to BrainPAC for US members via the dues process and the ability to pay/join state neurological societies for states that have chosen to join the pilot project.

  • The new 2012 ICD-9-CM Book is available through The AAN StoreĀ®. Attendees at the Fall Conference will be able to purchase a copy at the conference.

Clinical Practice

  • The evidence report "Genetic and metabolic testing on children with global developmental delay" was published electronically ahead of print on September 28, 2011, and will be published in the October 25, 2011, print issue of Neurology®. A clinical summary, family/caregiver summary, clinical case example, and slide presentation were produced. The report was published in collaboration with the Child Neurology Society. The FRAXA Research Foundation endorsed the evidence report, and several medical societies will participate in dissemination.

  • The Academy is one of several official supporters of the R.A.R.E campaign, or Reducing Avoidable Readmissions Effectively. The campaign is focused on preventing avoidable hospital readmissions across Minnesota and is in line with the Academy's quality measure initiatives.

  • The AAN, in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has developed new online training to provide health care professionals with an overview of what they need to know about sports concussion among young athletes. This will help prepare health care professionals to diagnose and manage concussions on the sidelines, in their office, training room, or in the emergency department, in order to help improve patient outcomes. Visit the CDC website for more information.

Annual Meeting

  • Abstract submission deadline is October 24. Award application deadline is November 1.

  • The AAN Annual Meeting webcast product will be enhanced and contain content from nearly the entire Annual Meeting.

  • The Annual Meeting Registration and Advance Program book will mail in mid-November.


  • The October/November issue of Neurology Now® features an exclusive story with actor Kevin Sorbo, who reveals for the first time that at age 38, while filming the Hercules TV series, he experienced an aneurysm and series of strokes that left him partially blind and with nearly debilitating dizziness, nausea, and weakness. A joint AAN-Lippincott Williams & Wilkins PR campaign around the story has generated publicity for the magazine in major media and entertainment outlets, including PEOPLE magazine, US Weekly magazine, MSNBC, Newsday, the Boston Herald, and Hollywood Reporter.

  • The Editorial Search Committee for Continuum: Lifelong Learning in Neurology® is requesting that AAN members submit the names of eligible candidates for Editor-in-Chief of the Academy's premier self-study continuing medical education program. The application deadline is November 30, 2011.

  • In October, Neurology® will launch Global Perspectives, an expanded and enhanced version of the former International Newsletter with new Co-Editors Johan A. Aarli, MD, and Oded Abramsky, MD, PhD, FRCP. This section will include international research content, spotlights on specific neurologic practice concerns within a country, or important information about international educational or scientific collaborative efforts.


  • The early registration period for the Fall Conference in Las Vegas has closed, and attendance is anticipated to be comparable to the 2010 Fall Conference.

  • Five new radio programs will begin airing this week for NeuroFrontiers, the Academy's radio show on XM Satellite radio. Topics include helping physicians treat sports concussion, diabetic nerve pain, advances in Parkinson's disease research, new apps for neurologists and patients, and the latest on what health care professionals need to know on meningiomas.


  • September saw another big month for media coverage for Neurology®, with articles covered by USA Today, Chicago Tribune, Newsday, and hundreds of other news publications. Separate Neurology articles that were featured in press release were mentioned on CNN's homepage three times in nine days.

  • Sponsorship and exhibit opportunities have now opened for the 2012 Brain Health Fair to be presented by the Foundation on Saturday, April 21, at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.

  • The Academy has signed on to support ADHD Awareness Week by the ADHD Awareness Coalition, beginning October 16. The campaign is titled "ADHD. Get the Facts."


  • As of August, AAN members, other individuals, other foundations, and associations have provided $456,783 in 2011 in support of research, education, brain health, and public awareness. This includes $21,000 in endowment gifts. In September, two new planned gifts for the AAN Foundation were given, totaling $316,000. One is a gift annuity which provides guaranteed lifetime income and an immediate income tax deduction and the other is a bequest to create the Edward David, MD, Education Endowment.


  • The Corporate Roundtable Summit will be held in conjunction with the Fall Conference. Anticipated attendance is 50 industry representatives, physicians, and staff. The agenda will focus on health policy issues and a group discussion about challenges for neurology 2012-2015, such as new complex therapies/drugs and how they will they impact treatment access.