Bill Would Eliminate SGR Formula

June 13, 2012


Catherine M. Rydell

AAN Leadership Update

Catherine M. Rydell, Executive Director & CEO
June 2012


  • Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D–PA) has introduced a bill that would eliminate the Medicare SGR formula and provide for pathways to new, innovative physician payment models. At the request of Rep. Joe Heck (R–NV), who is cosponsoring the bill, Schwartz changed language improving payments for primary care providers to include cognitive specialists including neurologists. Although the bill is a long way from passing, this sets a precedent that primary care improvements will not be based on specialty designation but on care provided to patients and represents a significant success for AAN lobbying efforts.
  • The AAN has been invited to attend a White House and Department of Health & Human Services meeting with other physician leaders for a discussion on improving care coordination and quality. Marc Raphaelson, MD, FAAN, from the Medical Economics and Management Committee and Farrah Daly, MD, MBA, from the Government Relations Committee will represent the AAN at this event.
  • At the request of the House Committee on Ways and Means, the AAN recently submitted comments on the role of quality in physician payment reform. As payment reforms are proposed, the AAN will continue to seek an active role in providing evidence–based measures and data for neurology.

Executive Administration

  • Applications are being accepted for 2013–2015 AAN Board of Director positions until September 30, 2012. Terms are two years and are renewable at the discretion of the AAN president. Fellows of the AAN are encouraged to apply via the new online application process. For a complete listing of open board positions, please visit the website.

Member Services and Planning

  • The Neurology Career Center was presented with a "Distinguished Partner Award" from the National Healthcare Career Network at its recent conference in Washington, DC. The Career Center earned the award by achieving the greatest percentage increase in job applications among 300 member job board sites.
  • A new mentoring program, AAN Mentor Connect, launched at the Annual Meeting in New Orleans. Accessible only to members through the Neurology Career Center, potential mentors and mentees can now create a profile based on interest and availability. They are notified when a match exists and together they determine the parameters of the mentoring relationship. There is no charge for the new service.


  • Continuum: Lifelong Learning in Neurology– sales at the 2012 Annual Meeting were the highest ever at $71,475, which included 170 subscriptions and 108 back issue sales. Continuum– back issues continue to sell despite the fact that online issues are included with subscriptions.
  • As of June 4, the newly launched Continuum Audio program has 228 subscribers. Inspired by Continuum print and produced in partnership with Audio–Digest, the biweekly program consists of conversations with Continuum authors on recently published topics. Editor Aaron Miller, MD, FAAN, and associate editors Ralph Jozefowicz, MD, FAAN; Steven L. Lewis, MD, FAAN; Daniel Larriviere, MD, JD; and S. Andrew Josephson, MD, share duties as program host and interviewers. The Continuum Audio app is available as a free download via the App Store or Android Market. Two inaugural issues, including CME, are available for free download. Learn more and order.
  • Unrestricted access to issues published in the iPad apps has ended for Continuum (June 4) and Neurology– Clinical Practice (June 12). AAN member must sign in using their AAN member ID and password credentials to gain access and download issues. (Continuum access requires an active subscription. Individual Continuum issues may be purchased on the iPad for $129.99.)

Clinical Practice

  • The evidence–based guidelines “Update: Pharmacologic treatment for episodic migraine prevention in adults” and “Update: NSAIDs and other complementary treatments for episodic migraine prevention in adults,” which were co–developed with the AAN by the American Headache Society, were published on April 24, 2012. AAN physician volunteers and staff produced two clinician summaries, two patient summaries (which were translated into Spanish), a clinical case example, a slide set, a Neurology journal podcast, a standard press release, a matte news release, and a radio public service announcement; the International Guidelines Center produced a FLASHcard. The guidelines were endorsed by the American Osteopathic Association and the International Headache Society and were covered by such notable media outlets as ABC News, Consumer Reports, USA Today, US News and World Report, Huffington Post, and MSN Health & Fitness.
  • The evidence–based guideline “Update: Medical treatment of infantile spasms,” which was co–developed with the AAN by the Child Neurology Society, was approved by the AAN Board of Directors and will be published on June 12, 2012. A clinician summary, family/caregiver summary, clinical case example, slide set, and press release will be produced.
  • The AAN has joined as a participating society in the next launch of Choosing Wisely, a multi–year effort led by the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) Foundation to support and engage physicians in being better stewards of finite health care resources, and to promote conversations between physicians and patients about utilizing the most appropriate tests and treatments and avoiding care where harm may outweigh the benefits. The AAN will ask members to submit ideas to include in our list of five items of evidence–based tests and procedures that may be overused or misused. Nine specialties were included in the first launch in April; the second phase, with 12 societies, will be launched later this year.

Medical Economics

  • The AAN is educating members about recent National Correct Coding Initiative (NCCI) edits requiring neurologists to use a modifier when reporting nerve conduction studies, a limited EMG (95885) on one extremity and a complete EMG (95886) on another extremity on the same patient on the same date of service for CMS carriers. Some carriers are also now requiring documentation regarding the equipment used for testing (e.g., manufacturer’s name, model name) when nerve conduction studies are performed. Members are advised to review individual carriers' websites to determine whether any additional documentation is required, and to check the AAN website often for information on upcoming coding changes.
  • AAN members can learn more about innovative payment and care delivery models from a new online AAN practice resource. The web page delineates new types of reimbursement that go beyond the traditional fee–for–service and provides information about new ways of delivering care, such as in Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) and Patient Centered Medical Homes (PCMH). New value–based and population–based models of delivery and payment are being tested by both private and public payers to meet the triple aim of better individual health, better health for populations, and lower health care costs.
  • The AAN sent a detailed comment letter in response to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed rules for Stage 2 of the Electronic Health Records (EHR) Incentive Program to ensure that neurologists are able to most manageably participate. For Stage 2, criteria and reporting for most objectives—including electronic prescribing, clinical quality measures, and patient communication and resources—will be expanded. Payment adjustments (penalties) are expected in 2015 for eligible physicians who do not meet the requirements.

Public Relations

  • To mark the grand opening of the new AAN headquarters, the mayor of Minneapolis proclaimed June 9, 2012, as Brain Health Awareness Day in the city; nearly 1,000 free bike helmets were distributed outside the new headquarters; and an evening ribbon–cutting ceremony was held with tours for members, local dignitaries, and the community. AAN member and artist Audrius V. Plioplys, MD, FRCPC, FAAP, CMD, generously donated seven original paintings for permanent display at the new headquarters. A video showcasing his work and story will be on display in the building’s video art gallery and on the Academy’s YouTube channel.
  • The AAN made a donation of 1,000 children’s bike helmets to underserved areas of north Minneapolis as a gift to its new community.  The helmets were distributed at bike fests held throughout the neighborhoods where children learned bike safety tips.

Annual Meeting

  • The 2012 Annual Meeting registration numbers have been finalized. Official attendance was 12,053, making it the third largest meeting on recordbehind Chicago (2008) and Boston (2007). Member attendance was a record 5,712.
  • The revenue for the 2012 AAN On Demand products is up over $50,000 from the 2011 Annual Meeting.
  • 2013 Annual Meeting marketing efforts are underway, with an emphasis on alerting prospective attendees to the fact that the meeting will be held in March as opposed to the customary April.


  • The Distance Learning Subcommittee met May 17–19. The second cohort of faculty began developing next year’s NeuroLearn courses. The subcommittee will reconvene in September to begin production on the new courses.
  • The Executive Council on Sections and Subspecialties (ECOSS) is reviewing the current duties and responsibilities of special interest groups. This will be a primary discussion point for ECOSS to present to the Committee on Sections in fall 2012.
  • Learning Across Your Lifetime was well received at Academy Central during the 2012 Annual Meeting, with engaged attendees looking to learn more about this new member experience. Staff handed out thumb drives with a helpful demo of Learning Across Your Lifetime and NeuroTracker.


  • The 2013 Annual Meeting Abstract deadline has been set for October 15, 2012.
  • The Science Committee met June 11–12. The committee discussed how the role of various constituent groups such as sections, specialists and generalists, residents, past CRTF recipients, etc. can become more involved with science programming at the AAN. A focus group discussed the topic during the committee meeting.
  • The 2013 Annual Meeting premiere lecture awards, Integrated Neuroscience Session topics, and the Frontiers in Translational Neuroscience Plenary Session speakers will be determined at the Science Committee Meeting. The 2013 Subspecialty in Focus program topics also will be discussed, with the Education Committee presenting a final decision on topics in late June.

American Brain Foundation

  • Ads are airing in New York City’s Times Square to promote the American Brain Foundation and its campaign to Cure Brain Disease. The 15–second ads will run twice an hour through September 2012 as part of CBS’ Olympic coverage.
  • The American Brain Foundation recently launched a new website,, as part of its strategy to become a world leader in raising money to support research to cure brain disease.
  • A video featuring Rich Clifford, the former NASA astronaut diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, accepting our Public Leadership in Neurology Award is now posted on the Academy’s YouTube channel.