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July 11, 2012


Catherine M. Rydell

AAN Leadership Update

Catherine M. Rydell, Executive Director & CEO
July 2012

Executive Administration

  • Online applications are now being accepted for the AAN Emerging Leaders Forum, a new 10–month program designed to identify and train future AAN leaders. Members who are 45 years old or younger as of December 31, 2012, and would like to become more active in AAN leadership are encouraged to apply. Learn more and apply. Please encourage qualified candidates to apply for this exclusive program.


  • The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled the Affordable Care Act (ACA) constitutional, upholding a majority of the March 2010 law. The AAN maintained a neutral position on the ACA when it passed and continues to be very involved in seeking to ensure neurology’s interests are protected as new provisions are implemented. 
  • It all starts with an idea. What do you want to change? The AAN can train you to become a successful advocate for your patients and profession. Applications for the 2013 Palatucci Advocacy Leadership Forum are being accepted until September 16, 2012.
  • The AAN received an Honorable Mention Award in the Midwest Society of Association Executives Awards of Excellence program in June for a series of tip covers that ran on issues of Neurology Today® in early 2011. The goal of the boldly colored tip covers was to attract reader attention to the Academy’s efforts in the areas of fighting for fair reimbursement, protecting the practice of neurology, addressing scope of practice issues, and educating lawmakers about the critical role of neurologists in health care. The campaign drew 2,238 Neurology Today readers to a unique web page that provided more information on the AAN’s efforts. Following the campaign, members reported better understanding of the AAN’s advocacy work, and the AAN had a record number of member responses to advocacy emails, member contacts to Congress, and new donors to BrainPAC in 2011.

Clinical Practice

  • Evidence–based guideline: Pharmacologic treatment of chorea in Huntington disease” is expected to publish on July 18. Several companion tools will be published with the guideline, including a slide set, patient summary, clinical example, and a clinician summary. 
  • The AAN is preparing a draft of a national quality strategy for comment by the AAN membership during the month of August. The strategy seeks to align AAN quality improvement activities (guidelines, measures, and safety initiatives) with the National Quality Strategy established by Congress in April 2012. 
  • The AAN is holding a comment period on an upcoming guideline for how vaccines may affect the start and progression of multiple sclerosis. The comment period takes place between July 10 and August 10. This comment period is open to the public. 

Medical Economics

  • Two articles developed by the AAN Payment Policy Subcommittee were published in the June 2012 issue of Neurology: Clinical Practice. The first article describes the growing role of medical specialty societies in the development of insurer coverage policy. The second article serves as a companion piece to the recent AAN evidence–based guideline on IVIg use in neurologic disorders and describes the impact to providers and addresses payer/policy perspectives based on the guideline findings.
  • Following the recommendations of the AAN Registry Task Force, the Academy is supporting the National ALS Registry. The registry is a database that collects information from people living with ALS about risk factors related to the disease. Neurologists should encourage their patients with ALS to participate in the registry. The more patients who enroll in the registry, the more accurate the registry data will be.
  • The AAN closely reviewed and submitted comments to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on its proposed regulations related to FY 2013 Inpatient Prospective Payment System (IPPS). Specifically, the AAN supported proposed quality measures related to stroke care as part of CMS’s Hospital Value–based Purchasing Program and urged that the agency allow for physicians to report the measures on claims or through an electronic health record; and opposed several outcome measures proposed for CMS’s Inpatient Quality Reporting Program. The AAN formally requested that CMS perform an analysis of the use of an ICD–9 “v–code” (V45.88) to track stroke patients that had received rtPA within the last 24 hours prior to admission to a different facility. Administration of rtPA has payment implications since it is directly linked to use of one diagnosis related group (DRG) over another. Higher use of the code will help convince CMS of a widespread problem and—ideally—lead to future changes in the DRG classifications to allow for more accurate payments.


  • Steven L. Lewis, MD, FAAN, has been appointed editor–in–chief of Continuum: Lifelong Learning in Neurology®. He is currently the associate editor, and will replace Aaron E. Miller, MD, FAAN, who will step down at the end of this year after serving a 10–year term. Lewis’s term begins January 1, 2013, but he started working with Miller on the transition this month.
  • Neurology® Clinical Practice is calling for authors and looking for contributions that give updates on how to employ drugs/devices in certain fields, address ethical challenges faced in practice, and illustrate clinical challenges through case reports. For more information about the types of articles accepted and how to submit, interested authors should visit ‘Information for Authors.
  • Neurology Today® was awarded two Apex 2012 editorial awards for excellence in the categories of “One of a Kind Custom–published Publications” for its January 19, 2012, issue and “News Writing” for the April 21, 2011, article “For Medicaid Patients, Particularly Children, the Neurologist May Not Be In.” 

Member Services and Planning

  • The AAN Center for Health Policy staff proved the value of membership and met both the mission and vision of the AAN by interacting with a lapsed member who required assistance with insurance coverage for a critically ill patient. Staff provided specific language and directions for the neurologist to use with the private insurer and directed the insurer to a guideline and published editorial. The insurer then approved the treatment needed by the patient to extend his life. The member promptly reinstated her membership with the Academy and was very grateful to CHP staff for their assistance.

Annual Meeting

  • The Education Committee met in June and selected the 2013 Annual Meeting Education program.
  • The 2013 Subspecialty in Focus program topics have been determined for the 2013 Annual Meeting. They are Epilepsy, Geriatric Neurology, Movement Disorders, Child Neurology, Neuro–ophthalmology/Neuro–otology, and Behavioral Neurology/Neurorehabilitation.
  • 2013 Annual Meeting marketing efforts are underway, with an emphasis on informing members/nonmembers that the 2013 Annual Meeting will be held March 16–23 rather than in April as it has been for several years.


  • The Education Committee has formed two new workgroups to look at how to better engage sections. The workgroups are looking at ways to integrate education offering across topics to provide even better educational programming.
  • The AAN will collaborate with the American Pain Society on a NeuroPI module on Chronic Opioid Therapy, specifically for non–cancer pain. The module will be the AAN’s first offering in response to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recent report on prescription painkiller overdose deaths. The Food and Drug Administration is developing guidelines for prescriber education on prescription painkillers. 
  • The first NeuroLearn course launched at the end of June. The course is titled “Fibromyalgia: What's the Deal?” This online course will address the many facets of fibromyalgia, from the nuts and bolts like epidemiology, diagnosis, and treatment, as well as the more challenging issues such as communication, pathophysiology, and alternative therapies.


  • The Science Committee’s June meeting resulted in several changes to the Science program for the 2013 Annual Meeting. The Science Committee approved two new topics to be covered in the Science Program for 2013—Global Health and Sports Neurology. These topics are considered emerging areas of interest in neurology.
  • The Clinical Research Subcommittee is looking at ways to collaborate with NINDS/NIH on clinical research ventures in the future.
  • The 2013 Annual Meeting premier lecture awards, Integrated Neuroscience Session topics, and Frontiers in Translational Neuroscience Plenary Session speakers have been selected. 

Public Relations 

American Brain Foundation

  • Beyond Batten Disease Foundation and the American Brain Foundation have announced the first clinical research fellowship for developing a treatment and cure for juvenile Batten disease (juvenile neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis). The two–year fellowship will consist of a commitment of $55,000 per year for two years, plus $10,000 per year for tuition to support formal education in clinical research methodology. This is in addition to the 10 Clinical Research Training Fellowships, Practice Research Training Fellowship, Clinical Research Training Fellowship in Neurotoxins, Susan S. Spencer Clinical Research Training Fellowship in Epilepsy, and the Richard Olney, MD, Clinician Scientist Development Award. Applications for all the fellowships and awards are due October 1.