New Annual Meeting Education Session Addresses NCS/EMG Cuts

February 14, 2013


Catherine M. Rydell

AAN Leadership Update

Catherine M. Rydell, Executive Director & CEO
February 2013

The AAN is redoubling its efforts in February and March in education and practice management guidance regarding the outcome of AAN advocacy initiatives and the cuts to EMG/nerve conduction studies by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). The Academy has hired a consultant to determine whether there are opportunities to lessen the impact of the NCS cuts for members. AAN staff members are available to answer questions regarding the coding changes. Contact Luana Ciccarelli. A new Hot Topics in Education Session has been added to the Annual Meeting to help members learn about dealing with the cuts and how quality programs will impact their practice. Attend “Neurology in Crisis: Next Steps for Practice Survival” on Tuesday, March 19, at noon.

Also at the Annual Meeting, Academy leaders and advocacy staff will hold an open microphone session immediately following the business meeting on Monday, March 18, to dialogue on AAN strategies for payment recognition for neurologists as a cognitive specialty, including discussion of the recent changes to NCS, EMG, and IOM codes.  All members are invited to attend; registration is not required. The business meeting begins at 8:00 a.m. in Room 23 ABC.

Members also are encouraged to respond to AAN Action Alert requests as we continue to fight for fair reimbursement and sign up to participate in RUC surveys. Read the column by AAN President Bruce Sigsbee, MD, FAAN, “Neurology in Crisis.”

Executive Administration

  • The nominees for AAN officer and director positions for the 2013–2015 term will be presented to the voting membership for approval during the 2013 AAN Business Meeting on Monday, March 18, 2013, at 8:00 a.m. in Room 23 ABC at the Annual Meeting in San Diego.

Medical Economics

  • When the AAN learned that some CMS Part B carriers and some private payers were not processing new 2013 CPT codes for nerve conduction studies (NCS) correctly, the AAN submitted a letter to CMS and sent an email to 16 CMS Carrier Medical Directors urging for swift action and quick resolution. The issue is that some carriers are recognizing and reimbursing for the new NCS codes (95907–95913), however their systems are not yet set up to recognize the new codes as the appropriate base codes for the EMG add–on procedures (95885–95887). As a result, physicians are appropriately receiving payments for their 2013 NCS services but are being inappropriately denied payments for their 2013 EMGs.The AAN was also in contact with UnitedHealthcare (UHC) about the same processing error. As a result, UHC system issues were resolved starting January 29. AAN members should work with their respective UHC Physician Advocates to have any needed claims adjusted (01/01/13–01/28/13).
  • Larry Goldstein, MD, FAAN, and David Bennett, MD, have been appointed as voting members of the Medicare Evidence Development Coverage Advisory Committee (MEDCAC). The AAN nominated Goldstein for his expertise in stroke and Bennett for his expertise in aging and Alzheimer’s disease. MEDCAC members provide advice and guidance to the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services and the administrator of CMS concerning the adequacy of scientific evidence available to CMS for “reasonable and necessary” determinations under Medicare.
  • The AAN will launch a survey with AmericanEHR Partners this month to better gauge member satisfaction and usability of their electronic health records (EHRs). The survey will allow the AAN and members to better understand EHR functionality specific to neurology as well as relevant to all physicians.


  • The American Psychiatric Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have joined the AAN in a coalition to introduce legislation that would add the three groups to the list of specialties eligible for the Medicaid at Medicare rate provision of the Affordable Care Act that was recently implemented.
  • The AAN submitted a comment letter to the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) advocating for cognitive care recognition and removal of neurology from the scope of proposed cuts to offset SGR repeal. MedPAC is a group of experts who advise Congress on Medicare payments. Read more about the AAN position here.
  • A record 193 members applied for the 2013 Neurology on the Hill, which takes place April 22–23. Applicants represent 44 states, the District of Columbia, and 134 Congressional districts. During the two–day program, participants will learn how to advocate for the AAN's top federal legislative priorities, which at this time are expected to include reforms that would improve reimbursement for cognitive care and new appropriations for research funding for the VA Epilepsy Centers of Excellence, then go to the Capitol to make their case to their representatives.

Annual Meeting

  • The early registration deadline is next Wednesday, February 20. Register now to save with early registration discounts. The Annual Meeting mobile application will be available this month on iOS (iPhone®/iPad®) and Android® platforms in addition to a mobile website version. The application will allow attendees access to program materials, including syllabi and presentation slides, search the abstracts, access full abstract content, and more.
  • New for the 2013 Annual Meeting—all Education Program slides, previously available to attendees as in–room handouts, now will be available online only. AAN staff continues to implement a communication plan to make attendees aware of this change.
  • Two orientation sessions will take place during the Annual Meeting in San Diego to help first–time attendees familiarize themselves with the Annual Meeting. The first session, led by Maisha T. Robinson, MD, will be held on Sunday, March 17, from 1:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. in Room 1B. The second session, on Wednesday, March 20, will be led by Ralph F. Józefowicz, MD, FAAN, in Room 27AB from 8:00 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. The orientation sessions will cover everything from basic Annual Meeting structure, organization, and layout to what’s free with your registration.


  • The topics and speakers have been identified for the new Neurology in Review Plenary Session. The speakers will focus on the latest developments of interest to the clinician that have occurred within the last year in a subspecialty area. The speakers are Nancy J. Newman, MD, FAAN; Costantino Iadecola, MD; Michael K. Racke, MD; Michael G. Benatar, MBChB, DPhil, FAAN; Daniel H. Lowenstein, MD; and Eric Reiman, MD. The topics are neuro–ophthalmology, stroke, multiple sclerosis, ALS, epilepsy, and Alzheimer’s disease.
  • A total of 21 abstracts were accepted for the 2013 Emerging Science program. The format for presentation for 12 of the abstracts is a hybrid between a platform session and a poster session. Authors will give short, three–minute talks accompanied by two to three slides on their abstracts; after all of the talks, authors will be available for 45 minutes by their posters in the same room. The remaining abstracts will be part of poster session 4 on Wednesday, March 20.
  • The topics and speakers have been identified for the new Controversies in Neuroscience Plenary Session. The session features experts discussing the most current and controversial issues in neuroscience in a debate format. The topics/questions being debated are “Should Intra–arterial Therapy Be Used as Standard Treatment of Acute Stroke?”; “Should Levodopa Be Initiated at the Time of Diagnosis?”; “Do Currently Applied Stem Cell Treatments Have Any Validation in the Treatment of Neurologic Disorders?”; and “Is the Evidence Sufficient to Give Vitamin D to Everybody in the General Population to Prevent Multiple Sclerosis?” View the list of speakers.
  • The speakers and discussants for the 2013 Contemporary Clinical Issues Plenary Session are Susanne Yoon; Darin Okuda, MD; Bradley Boeve, MD; Maria Rocca, MD; Ingo K. Mellinghoff, MD; and Daniel Perl, MD. The discussants include David H. Miller, MBChB, MD, FRCP, and Ronald Postuma, MD. The issues being covered include “Medical Management with mTOR Inhibitors vs. Surgical Resection: Comparison of Clinical Outcomes for Subependymal Giant Cell Astrocytoma (SEGA) in Tuberous Sclerosis Complex (TSC),” “Radiologically Isolated Syndrome (RIS): 5–Year Risk for an Initial Clinical Event from a Multinational Cohort,” “Clinicopathologic Correlations in 172 Cases of REM Sleep Behavior Disorder ± a Coexisting Neurologic Disorder,” “Functional Plasticity in MS,” “Brain Tumor Classification in Drug Development and Clinical Trials,” and “Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy.”


  • Neurology Career Center revenues increased 70 percent in January compared to January 2012. A portion of the increase can be explained by the earlier deadline for Annual Meeting advertising and the availability of a new product, the Careers E–newsletter.
  • A new hammer, the telescoping reflex hammer (Lanska edition), debuted in The AAN Store®. The hammer was redesigned with input from member Douglas J. Lanska, MD, FAAN. The hammer will be featured in a March AANnews story and is on the cover of the new 2013 AAN Store catalog.

Clinical Practice

  • The AAN co–developed and fully endorsed the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) document “Clinical Policy: Use of Intravenous tPA for the Management of Acute Ischemic Stroke in the Emergency Department,” which was published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine, the ACEP’s official clinical journal, electronically ahead of print on January 18, 2013, and appears in the February 2013 print issue. As part of a joint AAN and ACEP dissemination effort, the AAN will produce a clinician summary, patient summary, slide set, and clinical case example and will reach out to several professional medical societies and volunteer health associations for participation in dissemination. 
  • The AAN is developing a new evidence–based medicine online learning program. The Evidence–based Medicine (EBM) Journal project will use therapeutic articles in Neurology® to teach concepts of evidence–based medicine and quality improvement. Participants will be able to earn CME by deconstructing journal articles.

Annual Meeting

  • The early registration deadline of February 20 is approaching fast. The 2013 Scientific Abstract Listing and Annual Meeting Information will be available at the end of January.
  • The 2013 Patient Safety Colloquium will focus on the three stages of medical error: prevention, immediate aftermath, and long–term effects. It will feature a guest presentation by a medical–legal expert from Thomas Jefferson School of Law.
  • Four Electronic Health Record (EHR) User Group meetings will be conducted at the 2013 Annual Meeting. Epic, eClinicalWorks, Integrity, and AthenaHealth EHR users are encouraged to attend their respective User Group meeting to provide feedback, learn best practices, and network with neurologists who use the same EHR software.
  • The Annual Meeting mobile application will be live at the end of January on iOS (iPhone®/iPad®) and Android® platforms in addition to a mobile website version. At launch, the application will allow attendees to browse the program, search the abstracts, access full abstract content, and begin connecting with other attendees. In early March, the app will be updated to allow attendees to customize their itinerary, access program materials including syllabi and presentation slides, submit program evaluations, and more.


  • The topics and speakers have been identified for the 2013 Hot Topics Plenary Session. The speakers are John Hardy, MD; John Q. Trojanowski, MD, PhD; David B. Clifford, MD, FAAN; and Michelle Monje, MD, PhD. The topics include genetics of protection and risk in Alzheimer’s disease, degenerative brain diseases of templating (prion disease), fungal meningitis outbreak, and effects of cranial radiation on stem cell memory.
  • The Science Committee approved the concept of a Moderated Platform Session for the 2013 Annual Meeting. The new session will take place on Wednesday, March 20, 4:00 p.m.–5:30 p.m. Special closing discussions will follow abstract presentations to contextualize the findings and demonstrate how to take basic scientific research and apply it clinical practice.
  • Approximately 2,300 abstracts were accepted for this year's meeting. All 2013 Annual Meeting abstract authors that were accepted have been notified. All the 2013 Annual Meeting abstracts will be available online on January 16 at 3:00 p.m. CT.


  • AAN staff is exploring the feasibility of offering an additional Regional Conference per the request of the Education and Meeting Management committees.
  • The NeuroPI: Distal Symmetric Polyneuropathy module will launch later this month. 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 Education Committee had its strategic planning discussion last month. The committee identified key themes they want to work on in the future, including internal and external collaboration, being nimble and innovative, team–based education, and continuation of Learning Across Your Lifetime.

Public Outreach

  • The AAN issued a statement applauding the January 31 report that the National Football League plans to have neurologic expertise on sidelines during games next season to help diagnose and treat concussions. The announcement was made by the NFL during a pre–Super Bowl news conference. The AAN welcomes an opportunity to work with the NFL to implement this new policy change.
  • Extensive continuing media coverage has resulted from AAN press releases on Annual Meeting non–Emerging Science abstracts,including TIME, CBS News, Philadelphia Inquirer, PBS News Hour, CBS National Radio, Women's Health magazine and many others.
  • The Academy also has received major media coverage from AAN press releases on Neurology® journal articles, along with general AAN mentions, including TIME magazine, ESPN (NBA blog), MSN Homepage and more.


  • New to the Annual Meeting will be a video and podcast recording stage located in Academy Central near the Publications Pod. Members of the Neurology® Podcast Panel (led by Editor Ted M. Burns, MD), along with the editors from Neurology Today® and Neurology Now®, will record interviews and videos to be published at later dates.   

American Brain Foundation

  • More than 70 films were entered in the Neuro Film Festival. Public voting closes on February 14.
  • The American Brain Foundation has launched a monthly e–newsletter for the public, including Neurology Now® subscribers and those who have participated in the Neuro Film Festival and the Brain Health Fair. More than 135,000 received the first edition of the Brain Health Connection, which was also sent to members for information and as a resource.
  • Actor Kevin Sorbo is the recipient of the 2013 Public Leadership in Neurology Award from the AAN and the American Brain Foundation. Sorbo is being recognized for his efforts in educating the public about stroke. Sorbo, who is perhaps most famous as television’s mighty Hercules in the popular television show “Hercules, the Legendary Journeys,” will receive the award during the AAN and American Brain Foundation Awards Luncheon held on Wednesday, March 20, 2013, at the Annual Meeting. He suffered a series of three strokes in 1997.

Dates and Deadlines

Annual Meeting Housing Deadline
February 12

Annual Meeting Early Registration Deadline
February 20

Webinar: Balancing Medicare Incentive Programs and Penalties: What You Need to Know as a Neurologist
March 7

65th AAN Annual Meeting
March 16–23

AAN Business Meeting
March 18

2013–2015 AAN Board of Directors Term of Office
March 24, 2013–April 24, 2015