Neurologists to See Cuts in 2013 EMG and NCS Payments

November 15, 2012


Catherine M. Rydell

AAN Leadership Update

Catherine M. Rydell, Executive Director & CEO
November 2012

Medical Economics

  • Neurologists will see large pay cuts for EMG and NCS services starting in January 2013. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released its final rule on the Medicare physician fee schedule on November 1. Although the ruling goes into effect January 2013, the AAN is looking at every possible avenue to alter the ruling for 2014. In response to a CMS initiative, the AAN worked with the American Association of Neuromuscular & Electrodiagnostic Medicine and the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation to propose higher values for these services, and will continue to work with those societies to advocate for better reimbursement. The AAN is hosting a free live webinar December 4 at 12:00 pm ET to discuss the 2013 NCS coding changes and the financial ramifications.
  • The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released a final rule surrounding Stage 2 of its Meaningful Use program. Based on several positive changes issued in the final rule including the need for a second reporting period to avoid a payment adjustment in 2015 and lower percentages for patient portal and patient secure electronic communication functionalities, neurologists using a certified Electronic Health Record should be able to receive the Stage 2 incentive payments. The AAN will launch an extensive member communications campaign in 2013 to prepare members for Stage 2, which begins in 2014.
  • Neurologists who own their practices can learn more about employer responsibilities under the Affordable Care Act. Starting in 2014, larger employers will face penalties for not offering affordable coverage to their employees. Smaller employers may qualify for tax credits to help pay for employees' premiums. Read about penalties and tax credits you might qualify for on the AAN Employer Responsibilities webpage.  


  • A new NeuroLearn course on Interpreting Diagnostic Tests by Don B. Smith, MD, FAAN, launched. This course provides detailed instruction on how to assess a diagnostic test and how to interpret the result as it applies to an individual patient.
  • The NeuroPI: Chronic Opioid Therapy module is now available. Each NeuroPI module is prepared by distinguished faculty who are acknowledged leaders in their fields. Each module is composed of a set of multiple–choice items with preferred responses, instructions on how to collect cases to assess one's practice, and resources for creating and implementing an improvement program.
  • The new NeuroSAE®: Fifth Edition launched. In response to participants’ requests, NeuroSAE: Fifth Edition features 50 percent more, and more robust, questions—150 questions in all, up from 100 on previous exams—to help deepen self–assessment. Many of the new questions are focused on practice parameters. Participants have the opportunity to receive eight CME credits per test.

Executive Administration

  • The slate for the 2013–2015 Board of Directors will be presented to the general membership for vote on Monday, March 18, 2013, at 8:00 a.m. during the Business Meeting at the Annual Meeting.
  • AAN President Elect Timothy A. Pedley, MD, FAAN, is finalizing committee appointments for his term in office. To be considered for committee appointment, sign up on the AAN website.
  • The inaugural Emerging Leaders Forum kicked off at the AAN Fall Conference. Fourteen Emerging Leaders took part in the session and will work with AAN leaders for the next 10 months to hone their leadership skills and learn more about AAN activities. 


  • With the re–election of President Obama and continued Republican control of the House and Democratic control of the Senate, the AAN expects many of the same issues to prevail in both the lame duck session and the new Congress.  An SGR fix, recognition of cognitive care providers, and GME funding will be among the AAN’s top priorities. Two of neurology’s biggest champions, Reps. Ed Perlmutter (D–CO) and Joe Heck, DO (R–NV) were re–elected to Congress. Perlmutter passed legislation creating Epilepsy Centers of Excellence at the VA in 2008 and will support efforts to improve the centers in the 113th Congress. Heck was responsible for ensuring that cognitive specialists like neurologists were included in legislation that improves the practice climate for primary care providers. The AAN will be working closely with both of these members on neurology issues. The AAN will look at the results of the election and its implications for members and patients at a free Election Result Webinar with AAN Government Relations Committee Chair Elaine C. Jones, MD, FAAN, BrainPAC Executive Committee Chair Anna D. Hohler, MD, FAAN, and AAN Legislative Counsel Mike Amery, Esq., at 8:00 p.m. ET tomorrow, Wednesday, November 14. Register now.
  • In 2007–08, the AAN led an effort to create Epilepsy Centers of Excellence (ECoE) at the VA, which passed Congress in 2008. The ECoE “sunset” after five years on October 1, 2013, unless the VA renews them or Congress acts again. In October the AAN became aware that the VA may not renew the Centers, which have improved care and lowered costs for veterans. At the request of AAN and Epilepsy Foundation staff, Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D–CO) initiated a congressional sign–on letter requesting the VA to include funding for ECoE in its FY 2014 budget request. In just 10 days, at a time when Congress was in recess, 43 members of Congress signed the letter, which was sent to VA Secretary Eric Shinseki. 
  • The BrainPAC fall fundraising campaign has concluded with the AAN’s political action committee reaching its goal of raising $65,000. This included more than $5,700 from 55 donors who attended a reception with Congressman Joe Heck, DO (R–NV) at the AAN Fall Conference in Las Vegas. 

Clinical Practice

  • The National Quality Forum (NQF) Neurology Steering Committee recently considered three epilepsy, six Parkinson’s disease, and nine dementia quality measures for endorsement that were developed by the AAN and approved by the AAN Board of Directors. The committee approved only one measure, “Women of childbearing potential with epilepsy who were counseled about epilepsy and how its treatment may affect contraception and pregnancy.” The AAN will be working with partners from specialty societies and patient advocacy organizations to strongly object to the NQF’s refusal to endorse these critical measures. The public comment period is open until November 29. AAN members are strongly encouraged to comment.
  • The Evidence–based Medicine (EBM) Toolkit training attracted 40 attendees of diverse professional backgrounds, including residents, private practitioners, program directors, and clinical guideline developers. Participants earned 13 CME credits for the weekend training, and preliminary evaluations indicate that it was positively received.


  • In addition to receiving Continuum: Lifelong Learning in Neurology® as a member benefit, Junior members now also may enjoy complimentary access to Continuum Audio, a new biweekly CME audio program featuring conversations with leading experts and clinicians in neurology.  Junior members can register to gain access.
  • To provide readers worldwide with information about articles in Neurology®, the journal has put out a call for volunteers and has begun publishing translations of abstracts in multiple languages. Most recently, the journal has begun publishing three to four Arabic translations per issue. View the translated abstracts.

Annual Meeting

  • The Meeting Management Committee has formed a work group to review and implement recommendations from a consultant’s analysis of the Annual Meeting. The focus for the 2013 meeting will be on first–time attendees, international attendees, and enhancing networking opportunities at and around the meeting.
  • The 2013 Annual Meeting Registration and Advance Program is now available, and the Education program faculty syllabi site will be open starting in mid–November. Marketing efforts continue to inform members and nonmembers that the 2013 Annual Meeting is in March rather than April.
  • Section members will be invited individually to participate in the Topic Work Group process in mid–November.


  • A total of 2,911 abstracts were submitted for the 2013 Annual Meeting. Approximately 80 percent of submissions will be accepted. Notifications will be sent in early January.
  • The 2013 Emerging Science abstract submission site has opened; the submission deadline is January 15. Emerging Science emphasizes ongoing neuroscience research of an extraordinary nature, which warrants expedited presentation. Key aspects of the research must have been conducted after October 15, 2012. A limited number of abstracts are selected, with selection based on scientific merit, timeliness, and anticipated interest to the membership.  


  • Career webinars on working successfully with a recruiter, transitioning to practice, telemedicine, and the history of the reflex hammer are now available as downloads. They are offered at no charge and are 60 minutes or less. The webinars were recorded during the recent Neurology Career Week.
  • Forty members have registered for a free webinar:  “Neurology Career Center Resources for Job Seekers.”  The webinar will be held this Thursday, November 15, at 12:00 noon (CT). Register now.

Public Outreach

  • The AAN will host a free Meet the Authors event for the new title in the Neurology Now Books™ series, Navigating Life with Parkinson Disease, on December 8 at the AAN headquarters.Authors Sotirios Parashos, MD, and Rose Whitman, PT, will sign copies of the book and be available to answer questions from patients, caregivers, and families.
  • The American Brain Foundation is joining GiveMN’s Give to the Max Day campaign, encouraging members and select nonmembers in Minnesota and the surrounding states to make a donation to help cure brain disease through the Foundation’s GiveMN page on November 15. The day’s top fundraisers will receive special grants.
  • Extensive media coverage has resulted from AAN press releases on Neurology® journal articles regarding stroke, including New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Reuters, ABC News, CBS News, FOX News and many others.

Dates and Deadlines

Application Deadlines:

Patient Safety Award
H. Richard Tyler Award
AAN Award for Creative Expression of Human Values in Neurology
December 1

Webinar: Master 2013 CPT Coding Changes for Nerve Conduction Studies and EMG
December 4

Application Deadline: 2013 Neurology on the Hill
January 21

Application Deadline: 2014 A.B. Baker Award for Lifetime Achievement in Neurologic Education
January 31