Capitol Hill Report: Neurology Sees Progress in the Lame Duck Session

December 3, 2010

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By Mike Amery, Legislative Counsel, Federal Affairs, (202) 506-7468, mamery@aan.com

Update: December 8, 2010

The Senate has a preliminary agreement on a 12-month fix to SGR. The bill, which according to American Health Line is estimated to cost $14.9 billion over 10 years, would block a 25-percent payment cut scheduled to take effect on Jan. 1, and extend current reimbursement rates until 2012.

The bill would be offset through changes to a provision in the federal health reform law related to health coverage subsidy overpayments. The measure also would rely on $275 million in revenue from the Medicare Improvement Fund. Once passed in the Senate, it would move to the House for passage.

Free Webinar on Health Care Reform: The Impact on Neurology

Join us on Friday, December 10, when Elaine C. Jones, MD, FAAN, co-chair of the Government Relations Committee, will discuss changes created by the health care reform legislation passed earlier this year and how they are affecting neurology practices and patients. There will be a Q&A session at the end of this free webinar for AAN members.
Register here.

Sports Concussion Action on Tap for 2011

Early last month, the AAN published a position statement calling for any athlete who is suspected of having a concussion to be removed from play until the athlete is evaluated by a neurologist or physician with training in the evaluation and management of sports concussion.

The statement targets policymakers on both the state and federal level who are determining policy procedures for when an athlete suffers a concussion. I hope you will read the statement (.pdf) that was drafted by the Academy's Sports Neurology Section.

I will be attending a conference this week sponsored by the National Athletic Trainers' Association where more than 200 groups interested in these policies will discuss actions over the past year and identify plans for 2011. We expect the Academy's statement to be of interest to a number of organizations.
Learn more.

Committee Assignments

In the last Capitol Hill Report I mentioned the lottery for freshman members picking their new office space. Rep.-elect Cory Gardner (R-CO) was the lucky one who got #1. Rep.-elect Robert Hurt (R-VA) was unlucky #85. For an update, take a look at the Washington Post article. With the freshman set, the next step for House Republicans in organizing for the 112th Congress is to name committee chairs and hand out committee assignments. This is proving to be easier said than done as there are heated battles for two top committee posts on the Appropriations Committee and on the Energy & Commerce Committee (E&C) which has a great deal of jurisdiction over health care.

Once these decisions are made the committees will fill up and the Academy will start looking at the key committees to determine where we have relationships and where we will need to build relationships.

A future Capitol Hill Report will list these key members. If your member of Congress ends up on the list, let me know!