By Glen R. Finney, MD, AAN.com Advocacy Editor
With health care reform a national priority, 2009 was an important year for Academy advocacy—and AAN.com's Advocacy section was there to keep members up to date through every twist and turn.
At the beginning of the year, we introduced a new advocacy blog—the Capitol Hill Report—with regular updates from the Academy's legislative counsel in Washington, DC, Mike Amery, Esq. A popular feature in the AAN.com Blogs and News area, the Capitol Hill Report offers a behind-the scenes look at the legislative process and how the Academy works to ensure that the issues important to neurology are heard in Congress.
At Neurology on the Hill in March of 2009, the Academy brought together more than 100 members to educate Congress on the critical role of neurologists in our health care system and our dedication to quality care. They visited the offices of 154 senators and representatives and presented a united front as they focused on the need to replace the broken SGR formula and recognize the principle care provided by neurologists in reform of Medicare reimbursement.
In April, AAN.com covered Academy President Elect Bruce Sigsbee, MD, FAAN, who gave landmark testimony on the vital role of the neurologist in health care before one of the major Congressional committees considering health care reform. Read Sigsbee's statement to the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee, presented April 2, 2009.
International neurology advocacy took center stage in the summer with stories about improving stroke care in Sri Lanka and providing epilepsy care by rail to rural India. These stories reflect the Academy's interest in promoting solutions to health care problems worldwide through its Palatucci Advocacy Leadership Forum, which trained new advocates from India, Jamaica, Nigeria. and Pakistan in 2009.
Advocacy introduced a new Q&A series, "Profiles in Advocacy," starting with 2009 AAN Palatucci Advocacy Leadership Forum Advocate of the Year, Daniel Potts, MD, and headache advocate Teshamae Monteith, MD.
Throughout the fall, the Capitol Hill Report and Academy News kept members informed of Academy efforts to include relief for neurology in health care reform. Neurology was included in legislation as a principal care participant for Medical Home demonstration projects. Specific amendments were offered by Congress to include neurology in the proposed primary care bonus.
The AAN.com Advocacy team grew in the latter half of 2009 with the creation of a new Advocacy Editorial Board, drawn from a cross-section of neurology advocates:
The top 10 Advocacy articles published in 2009 received a total of nearly 127,000 readers. Take a moment to revisit these stories, and note the wide range of information and calls to action represented in these and all of our Advocacy publications.
|Capitol Hill Report: What the AAN Is Doing For You||Why Isn't 'Alice' in 'Wonderland,' and Can We Help Her Find It?|
|New Guidelines Identify Best Treatments to Help ALS Patients Live Longer, Easier||Advocates Visit Capitol Hill to Encourage Greater NIH-funded Research|
|Epilepsy Care by Rail||Appreciate the Challenges, Advocate for What's Important|
|Improving Stroke Care in Sri Lanka||State Legislative Updates: AEDs and EMG|
|Read New Approved Position Statement on Health Information Technology||2009 Update: Advocacy on AAN.com|
Going into the New Year, Advocacy Editor Glen R. Finney, MD, provided daily coverage of the 2010 Donald M. Palatucci Advocacy Leadership Forum. Both 2010 AAN Palatucci Advocacy Leadership Forum Co-Advocates of the Year, Mamta B. Singh, MBBS, MD, DM, and Teshamae Monteith, MD, were featured in AAN.com Advocacy section articles in 2009.
The advocacy challenges of 2010 look to be as great as those of 2009, and the Advocacy section of AAN.com—with a newly designed website and future development of online neurologist communities—will continue to be the premier source for Academy advocacy news.
Within the past five years, Dr. Finney has received research support from Novartis for his work as site principal investigator for a study of the Exelon patch in Alzheimer's disease participants.