Capitol Hill Report: Keeping Pressure on Congress for Primary Care Bonus

August 24, 2010


By Mike Amery, Legislative Counsel, Federal Affairs, (202) 506-7468,

With members of Congress back campaigning in the districts, I've spent some time working with their staff members, trying to keep momentum going forward on our efforts to have neurology included in the primary care bonus.

I recently met with Elizabeth Murray, Senior Health Policy Advisor to Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD). Ms. Murray is a key person in the health care debate and I brought her up to date on the CBO score (see the last CHR) we have received for the neurology provision. People like Ms. Murray are going to be vital to our chances of success. I have met with Majority Leader Hoyer several times this year, including during Neurology on the Hill in March. Each time he has talked about Ms. Murray as being the expert on health for him. Her opinion is going to matter when issues like ours are on the table for debate. Later this week, I am meeting with House Energy and Commerce majority staff to discuss the CBO score. I'll let you know how it goes.

AAN Collects Input from State Neurological Societies

While Congress has been away, I've done some traveling on behalf of the Academy to gather information from state neurological societies. It was nice to get out of the heat of Washington, DC, both political and weather-related!

My first trip was to Boyne Mountain, MI, which hosted the Michigan Neurological Society. State Society President Seemant Chaturvedi, MD, and member Brian Kirschner, MD, graciously invited me to speak on a panel regarding health care reform and its impact of neurology. Attendees receive several credits of CME and each of the programs was excellent. I really appreciated the opportunity to speak about important federal health care issues with members who I might not get a chance to meet in Washington.

My second trip was to Minneapolis for a meeting of the State Society Leadership Roundtable that the Academy hosted. It was great to meet leaders from 23 state neurological societies from as far away as Hawaii. Other states represented included Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.

These leaders gathered to discuss society successes and challenges, gain knowledge about the resources that the Academy can offer, and brainstorm about how state society's can work together and with the AAN. The challenges facing many of the societies include membership and advocacy. Leaders felt their state programs can offer CME programming and even advocacy in state legislatures with a core of dedicated volunteers. Some states are leading the charge and discussed their successes, such as Virginia who has helped elect two of their own Del. John O'Bannon; and Sen. Ralph Northam to the Virginia legislature, and Texas, where many members are active and regularly attend their meetings. Attendees discussed ways to offer significant value to members and put together action plans to create this value.

The Academy currently collaborates with 34 active state societies in the US, one in Canada, and another in Puerto Rico. Was your state listed? If not, the Academy can help members develop state societies. For a list of active states, visit Contact Dave Showers at for more information.

The Academy's State Affairs staff tries to attend as many state society meetings as possible. We find it very valuable to hear the current concerns of members and also offer Academy members information about resources and benefits. I hope you will attend your state society meetings and help grow the presence of neurology in your state.