AAN Meets with Congress, MedPAC to Promote Cognitive Care

January 14, 2011

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AAN member Peter Donofrio, MD and AAN staff participated in a coalition of cognitive care specialties meeting with a Congressional roundtable on Wednesday, January 12, to discuss the value of cognitive specialties and request legislation to reinstate consultation codes.

Dr. Donofrio stated, "The meetings were productive in that we were able to educate many members of Congress who did not know about the elimination of consultation codes and the effect they would have on access of Medicare patients. In our talks with the senators and representatives, we stressed quality of care, better outcomes, and less expensive care when performed by neurologists."

Dr. Donofrio and other specialists also spoke at the January 13 MedPAC meeting about incentivizing cognitive care. The Medicare Payment Advisory Committee (MedPAC) is an influential group of 16 members that advises Congress on payment policy. AAN submitted a letter highlighting the value of neurological care to MedPAC following its December 2-3, 2010, meeting.

In the meetings, the cognitive care specialties emphasized the improved outcomes and the savings in costs when specialists evaluate patients. Dr. Donofrio explained, "With all the emphasis on the plight of primary care, it's vital that the AAN continues to remind MedPAC and Congress of the value provided by cognitive specialists. Many primary care physicians are not trained to care for the complex neurological patients we see, and there needs to be appropriate reimbursement for the valuable care we provide."