AAN, Voluntary Health Associations Work Together on Advocacy

June 16, 2011


Catherine M. Rydell

AAN Leadership Update

Catherine M. Rydell, Executive Director & CEO
June 2011


  • The AAN hosted a meeting with seven voluntary health associations (Alzheimer's Association, Parkinson's Action Network, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Neuropathy Association, American Stroke Association, and the Epilepsy Foundation) to talk about current priorities and common advocacy objectives. The group agreed to develop a neurology research funding proposal that all groups could bring to Capitol Hill. This group will meet monthly by conference call.
  • The AAN provided a comment letter to the House Energy & Commerce Committee recommending ways to bring better value to cognitive care services as work is done to replace the Medicare physician payment formula (SGR). The House is holding hearings on physician payment reform and will likely continue this debate into the fall when MedPAC releases its recommendations.
  • Jeffrey S. Kutcher, MD, chair of the AAN Sports Section, recently spent a day on Capitol Hill with Mike Amery educating members of Congress and their staffs about the efforts neurologists are making to protect youth athletes from concussion. Kutcher met with Congressman Todd Platts (R-PA), who is co-chair of the Congressional Traumatic Brain Injury Caucus, and with the staff of Congressman Bill Pascrell (D-NJ), who is caucus chair. He also met with key health staff from the important House Ways & Means Committee and Energy & Commerce Committee.


  • Nearly 200 people attended the groundbreaking ceremony for the new AAN headquarters in Minneapolis. Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak; City Council Member Lisa Goodman; AAN Executive Director Catherine Rydell, CAE; and AAN President Bruce Sigsbee, MD, FAAN, delivered remarks which were covered by the Minneapolis Star Tribune, St. Paul Pioneer Press, FOX 9 TV, Mill City Times, and several other local news publications.
  • AAN staff helped to deliver free bike helmets to children in north Minneapolis as part of the donation of 1,000 bike helmets the AAN made in conjunction with the groundbreaking.
  • AAN staff attended the European Neurological Society (ENS) meeting in Lisbon, Portugal, from May 28-May 31 to promote the joint membership project which provides a 25-percent membership discount for members of both societies. The effort resulted in 10 new members and renewal of two existing members. The two leading European neurological organizations, the ENS and the European Federation of Neurological Societies (EFNS), have agreed to merge effective 2014 and the AAN is hopeful that this merger will enhance the joint membership project.
  • In June, new member ID cards will be mailed to all current members of the AAN. The ID cards were suspended for the past few years but have been reinstated based on member feedback.
  • Starting with the July 5 issue, Neurology® will use QR codes that can be read by mobile phones to link from article pages to supplementary data such as videos, CME, and podcasts.
  • Neurology Now® won four awards this year in the American Society of Healthcare Publication Editors competition, one of the most prestigious in the industry. The awards were: Best Custom Publication (Gold); Best Opening Page Spread with a Photo for "When the Nose Doesn't Know," Sept/Oct 2010 (Gold); Best Profile for "The CEO of ALS Research," Sept/Oct 2010 (Silver); and Best Overall Use of Graphics: July/Aug 2010 issue (Silver).

Media and Public Relations

  • A foreword by President Bruce Sigsbee, MD, FAAN, was recently featured in a supplement on brain injury in the Chicago Tribune. View the supplement.
  • Record media coverage for the AAN brands continues with recent mentions in USA Today, CNN, the Washington Post, MSN, FOX News, ABC News; most of the coverage is related to newsworthy Neurology® studies featured in press release.

Medical Economics

  • In an effort to better understand the impact of health care reform on neurology, the Academy compiled a list of members participating in pilot programs and demonstrations of new payment and delivery models tested in Medicare and the private sector. The Academy may contact these members for feedback and information to help the Academy shape new policy proposals.
  • The AAN and the American College of Rheumatology met with Jonathan Blum, Deputy Director and Administrator in the Center for Medicare within the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), and several other CMS officials urging CMS to find a way to properly value cognitive care. The AAN is now working on providing requested follow-up information on the provider shortage in neurology.
  • An elaborate campaign is underway to raise member awareness and preparedness with upcoming Medicare incentive programs' penalties and payments. Since mid-April, more than 400 one-on-one discussions have occurred between AAN members and staff regarding the electronic prescribing (eRx) and electronic health record (EHR) incentive programs details and deadlines. The AAN is pleased that CMS responded positively to concerns from our members and released a proposed rule on May 26 that adds options for eligible neurologists to request an exemption for the 2012 eRx payment adjustment and harmonizes the EHR and eRx incentive programs.

Clinical Practice

  • The Multiple Sclerosis Emerging Therapies Collaborative—an ongoing effort of the Multiple Sclerosis Coalition, the AAN, and the VA Multiple Sclerosis Centers of Excellence—has released clinician and patient information sheets on the drug fingolimod and plans to release information sheets on the drug dalfampridine this month. Information sheets on other drug therapies will be issued as the drugs become available and gain Food and Drug Administration approval. Learn more.
  • The AAN, American Epilepsy Society, National Academy of Neuropsychology, and the Food and Drug Administration co-sponsored a workshop on June 2-3 with more than 200 health care providers, patient advocates, and representatives from industry attending. The sessions were organized to help determine how the FDA should evaluate new devices for seizure detection, evaluation of cognitive function, and diagnosis of TBI and concussion. The FDA will use the recommendations when drafting procedures for evaluation of new devices of these types.

Annual Meeting

  • The 2011 Annual Meeting total attendance was 10,018, with professional attendance at 8,070.
  • The Science Committee met June 12-13. Items determined at that meeting included: 2012 abstract topics and topic chairs; lecture award recipients; Frontiers in Clinical Neuroscience Plenary Session speakers; final Integrated Neuroscience Session and Future of Neuroscience Conference topics; and the 2012 abstract submission deadline.
  • The Education Committee will select Annual Meeting education program and course directors at its June 22-23 meeting.

AAN Foundation

  • A total of $2,487,711 has been donated as of April 30 to the AAN Foundation to help achieve the goal of $3,920,000 to achieve the AAN Foundation mission to further the goals of the American Academy of Neurology by supporting education and research in neurology, to improve patient care, quality of life and public understanding of brain and other neurological disorders. These gifts include pledges, cash, stock, endowment, and estate gifts.
  • Through their 2011 membership dues and other unrestricted grant funding, the 26 Corporate Roundtable companies support AAN/AAN Foundation programs, including the funding of two Clinical Research Training Fellowships.