Record Number Head to Washington, DC

February 22, 2012


Catherine M. Rydell

AAN Leadership Update

Catherine M. Rydell, Executive Director & CEO
February 2012


  • A record number of applications were received for the 10th Annual Neurology on the Hill, and about 150 neurologists are expected to attend on February 27–28. After a day of training, advocates will be on the Hill to advocate for the recognition of cognitive care in payment reform proposals and for increased funding for the National Institutes of Health.
  • Congress has until February 29, 2012, to pass an agreement to avert a 27.4–percent cut called for by the Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula. The AAN has met with the members or staff of nearly all 20 legislators who are part of the conference committee charged with developing a compromise. Because this package includes other politically charged issues such as extension of the Social Security payroll tax cut, the prospects for a SGR fix, or a permanent solution, are still uncertain.  
  • BrainPAC had a record–breaking 2011, raising more than $250,000 from 1,104 AAN members. Last year, BrainPAC supported more than 100 candidates for Congress, many of whom hold important positions in leadership and over health care policy.

Annual Meeting

  • A new Hot Topics in Education program will be presented at the 2012 Annual Meeting. This special session will address the just–released (April 2012) Institute of Medicine report on the public health dimensions of epilepsy with a focus on four areas: public health surveillance and data collection and integration; population and public health research; health policy, health care, and human services; and patient, provider, and public education.
  • Approximately 2,300 abstracts were accepted for this year's meeting. All abstract acceptance and rejection notifications were mailed in late January. The Abstract Listing will be mailed to members in mid–February.
  • Voting is now open for the 2012 Neuro Film Festival. Vote now through March 8, 2012. More than 100 videos were submitted from around the country.
  • Bruce Sigsbee, MD, FAAN, will present the 2012 President’s Award to John R. Corboy, MD, FAAN, preceding the Presidential Plenary Session on Tuesday, April 24. Corboy is the first editor of the new AAN new journal, Neurology® Clinical Practice and was a long–time member and former chair of the Graduate Education Subcommittee of the AAN. Corboy is a professor of neurology and the University of Colorado School of Medicine.
  • All AAN members are invited to attend the AAN Business Meeting at 8:00 a.m. on Monday, April 23, in the Convention Center Room 346/347 to take part in Academy business. 


  • A new Controversies in Neuroscience Session will be presented at the 2012 Annual Meeting in New Orleans. Using the debate format, two speakers will take questions and answers—and challenge each other’s knowledge—in five of today’s most controversial topics in neuroscience. 
  • The topics and speakers have been identified for the 2012 Hot Topics Forum. The speakers are Roberta Diaz Britton, PhD; Jason Stein, PhD; and Christopher Walsh, MD, PhD. The topics will include Sexual Dimorphism, Searching for Genetic Influences on Brain Structure, Prions/Neurodegenerative Disease, and CSF as Growth Factors.
  • The speakers for the 2012 Clinical Trials Session are: Fred Lublin, MD; Horacio Kaufmann, MD, FAAN; Shunichi Homma, MD; Carol Koski, MD; and Mark S. Forman, MD, PhD.


  • A record number of people have registered for the 2012 RITE® exam. The Residency In–service Training Exam will take place on February 23, 24, 25, and 26. The exam is given in two sessions during the same day. 
  • The 2012 Fall Conference dates have been set for October 26–28 in Las Vegas.
  • The Education Committee met on January 28–29, 2012. The committee addressed:  Annual Meeting Topic Work Group process; Subspecialty in Focus process; and Learning Across Your Lifetime and Neuro product demonstrations—including the AAN’s newest program, NeuroLearn. The committee also identified metrics for various educational offerings and the strategic plan.

Medical Economics

  • AAN leaders met with the director of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation on January 31, 2012, to discuss innovative care proposals for Alzheimer’s and stroke, as well as how neurology can be involved in providing innovative models of care and payment. 
  • The Medical Economics and Management Committee and its subcommittees (Coding, Payment Policy, and Practice Management & Technology) met January 20–21. Each committee held goal–setting sessions to review the existing mission of the committee and incorporate new goals for 2012 that can further benefit Academy members. Areas of focus include further incorporating technology into education, expanding areas of coverage for physician reimbursement, and continued focus on insurer and payer relationships.
  • The AAN worked with several other specialty societies to present needed CPT coding changes to more accurately reflect the work performed. If adopted by the American Medical Association (AMA) CPT Editorial Panel, the changes will be published as part of the 2013 CPT code set. The AAN sends member and staff representatives to each of three in–person Editorial Panel meetings per year where proposed changes are voted upon.

Clinical Practice

  • The evidence–based guideline “Antiepileptic Drug Selection for People with HIV/AIDS” was endorsed by the American Epilepsy Societyon January 18, 2012. Bioscrip is distributing faxed copies of the clinician summary to its prescriber constituents. The guideline was published simultaneously in the Neurology® journal and in Epilepsia electronically ahead of print on January 4, 2012, and in print on January 10, 2012. 
  • The American Association of Neuromuscular and Electrodiagnostic Medicine on January 3, 2012, endorsed the guideline “Update: Intraoperative Spinal Monitoring with Somatosensory and Transcranial Electrical Motor Evoked Potentials,” which will be published in Neurology on February 21, 2012. The guideline “Immune Globulin Intravenous (IGIV) in the Treatment of Neuromuscular Disorders” will be published on March 27, 2012. The Payment Policy Subcommittee is issuing a model medical policy for the intraoperative guideline and a policy statement for the intravenous immunoglobulin guideline.
  • AAN–developed epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease measures have been incorporated into the 2012 Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) and will offer additional reporting options for neurologists in this program year; measures on the care of patients with dementia and sleep apnea are also included. Staff is also working with a technology vendor, CECity, to develop a partnership that will provide members with a registry–based reporting option for PQRS measures. This will allow a more accurate reporting method for those participating in the program and also allow the AAN to obtain some data on those choosing to participate in this method of reporting.


  • The AAN Store® 2012 catalog was mailed to US members in early February. New products include the retooled Queen Square hammer (Lanska edition), optic nerve test card, and the Ultimate Review for the Neurology Boards Q & A book


  • The February/March issue of Neurology Now® features a cover story on CBS sports announcer Jim Nantz, who wants to see his family name associated with finding a cure for Alzheimer’s disease in honor of his late father. The issue also includes stories on obstructive sleep apnea, pseudobulbar affect, and tinnitus, as well as the AAN’s new position statement on abuse of patients with neurologic disorders.
  • The February issue of Continuum: Lifelong Learning in Neurology®, guest edited by David M. Simpson, MD, FAAN, FRCP, covers the topic peripheral neuropathy.
  • John R. Corboy, MD, FAAN, editor of Neurology® Clinical Practice, the clinical practice journal launched by the AAN in December 2011, has appointed three associate editors: David C. Anderson, MD, FAAN; Richard L. Barbano, MD, PhD, FAAN; and Laura B. Powers, MD, FAAN.

Public Outreach


  • As of December 31, 2011, 4,069 gifts, pledges, grants, and sponsorships totaling $4,742,243 are being invested in young investigators, education, scholarships, improved patient care, public awareness, and operations. Compared to last year, this is a 6.4 percent increase in charitable donations raised and a 16.5 percent increase in the number of donations made. This indicates an active, committed leadership, membership, and broader community. The above total includes generous commitments from: 
    • 76 Champion Circle members (annual gifts of $1,000+) with gifts totaling $243,577. 
    • Four Heritage Society members with pledges valued at almost $400,000. 
    • Corporate Roundtable dues of $1,000,000. (This includes pledges for 2012.)
    • 122 corporate grants and sponsorships totaling $2,802,345. (This includes pledges for 2012.)