MedPAC Recognizes Need to Realign Payment

July 19, 2011


Catherine M. Rydell

AAN Leadership Update

Catherine M. Rydell, Executive Director & CEO
July 2011

Medical Economics

  • The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) recognized the need to "realign payments for physician and other health professionals to help ensure an adequate supply of practitioners in cognitive (nonprocedural) specialties who focus on managing patients with chronic conditions" in its June report to Congress. This statement comes after a concerted effort by the AAN to raise awareness of cognitive specialists before MedPAC and Congress. The Academy coordinated the release of a statement from the Cognitive Specialty Coalition commending MedPAC for recognizing the cognitive care crisis.
  • A total of 75 registrants attended the practice management webinar, "The ABCs of E/M," led by Medical Economics and Management Committee and Coding Subcommittee member Bruce H. Cohen, MD, FAAN. The 2011 series of both live and recorded webinars has educated a combined 683 participants (593 AAN members). Three additional webinars will be presented live this fall to wrap up the 2011 series.
  • The AAN has joined with AmericanEHR Partners to provide neurologists with free access to interactive tools to identify readiness, successfully implement, and effectively use electronic health records (EHRs) and other health care technologies. Access tools such as a vendor directory and comparison vendor ratings, educational resources regarding the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs, and tips to review your own EHR system.


  • The Academy has compiled updated data into two documents that show the benefit of seeing a neurologist compared to other physicians when dealing with neurologic conditions. The first is "Compelling Neurology Statistics," which details trends related to an increasing prevalence of neurologic disease and decreasing supply of neurologists. The second is "Evidence of High Quality Cost Efficient Neurologic Care," which references studies showing how care provided by neurologists benefits patients, limits unnecessary costs, and avoids prolonged hospitalization.
  • The policy-setting body of the American Medical Association (AMA) met June 17 to 22 in Chicago and voted to adopt a series of ethical guidelines on industry support of continuing medical education that are deemed to be consistent with AAN guidelines. The AMA's House of Delegates narrowly rejected an effort to oppose the individual mandate established by the Affordable Care Act and voted to reaffirm existing policy advocating for use of the tax structure to achieve compliance with an insurance mandate for those earning 500 percent of the federal poverty level. A resolution to counter MedPAC's recent recommendations to restrict imaging was referred for decision.
  • The 10th Palatucci Advocacy Leadership Forum is scheduled for January 12 to 15, 2012, in Austin, TX. The online application is now open and must be completed by September 18, 2011. The next Neurology on the Hill will be February 26 to 28, 2012, at the Ritz Carlton, Pentagon City.


  • The AAN is close to launching the NeuroPI℠Parkinson's disease module.
  • The Education Committee is continuing to work on its Learning Across the Lifetime strategic plan. At its June meeting, the committee reviewed and approved an enhanced activity tracker to help members keep an ongoing inventory of their activities. The current CME tracker has been expanded to track CME as well as self-assessment and Performance in Practice activities. It soon will also allow members to track and print their involvement throughout the AAN and other groups (e.g., if they authored an article or guideline, served on a committee, etc.). The committee also approved a prototype for a "customer-centric" engine for the AAN website. Similar to the model, the engine will be able to identify members once they log in to the website and suggest products or programs that they may need for Maintenance of Certification or other purposes.
  • A workshop was offered in May to train 12 faculty to develop online CME courses. Faculty were selected by the Education Committee, Practice Committee, and Medical Economics and Management Committee. The Education Committee expects these courses to launch in January 2012.


  • Member Services has received more than 1,300 requests for the free video and guidebook on diabetic nerve pain featured in a recent issue of Neurology Now®.
  • The AAN has launched a campaign to recruit people who are certified by the ABPN but are not AAN members, about 1300 people. The campaign stresses the many resources the AAN offers to help fulfill maintenance of certification requirements and offers a free practice management webinar to those who join.
  • Updated member ID cards have been mailed to members who received cards with incorrect information regarding their membership category.

Media and Public Relations

  • Neurologist Roger Bannister highlighted his 2005 American Academy of Neurology Lifetime Achievement Award in the latest issue of Sports Illustrated, calling the award "more important because it's about my life as a whole and medicine, which are more important to me than whatever I did as a runner until I was age 25." Bannister was named the magazine's first Sportsman of the Year in 1954.
  • Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak publicly thanked the AAN for his new Academy bike helmet via Twitter last week. Numerous AAN staff and their families have volunteered their time to help to distribute and fit the 1,000 bike helmets the AAN donated to children in north Minneapolis at three community events this past month.
  • The AAN has agreed to support ADHD Awareness Week, October 16 to 22, 2011, by CHADD, Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, the nation's leading nonprofit organization serving individuals with ADHD and their families.
  • Comedian Josh Blue, who has cerebral palsy, has recorded a video public service announcement for the AAN Foundation to raise awareness about cerebral palsy and the need for research. The launch of the PSA will coincide with a Neurology Now cover story with Blue.

Clinical Practice

  • As part of the AAN's ongoing effort to develop, disseminate, and implement four guidelines on muscular dystrophy, the four guideline panels will meet in September for two days of guideline writing, editing, and review. This meeting, held just prior to the American Association of Neuromuscular & Electrodiagnostic Medicine annual meeting, brings together 40 leading experts in the field from around the world. The effort is funded by a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • The Multiple Sclerosis Emerging Therapies Collaborative released clinician and patient information sheets on the drug dalfampridine. Information sheets on other drug therapies will be issued as the drugs become available and gain Food and Drug Administration approval.
  • The following AAN members were accepted to serve on the Joint Commission Comprehensive Stroke Center Certification Project Technical Advisory Panel: Edward C. Jauch, MD, MS, FAHA, FACEP; Irene L. Katzan, MD, MS; Osama O. Zaidat, MD, MS, FAAN, FAHA; James Grotta, MD; and Jeffrey Saver, MD.

Annual Meeting

  • The abstract submission deadline for the 2012 Annual Meeting will be October 24.
  • The Science Committee met June 12-13 and selected some of the plenary speakers, Integrated Neuroscience Session topics, and the Future in Neuroscience Conference topic.
  • The Education Committee met June 22-23 and selected the preliminary education program. Education program directors will be invited July 15.


  • Two people living with multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's disease walked from northern to southern California to inspire family, friends, and acquaintances from as far away as Holland to make gifts to fund Clinical Research Training Fellowships in MS and Parkinson's disease. Their story will be featured in Neurology Now®.
  • Interest is high in a vacancy on the Corporate Roundtable Executive Committee created when Kathy Love-Weitz of UCB left the company. Current Executive Committee members include Pat Toalson, Chair, Eli Lilly; Mike Pursel, Chair-Elect, Teva; Alana Darden of Allergan; Tony Grover of PhotoThera; Peg McCormick of Genzyme; and Mike Madden of Janssen.


  • A contract has been signed with Oxford University Press to publish the Neurology Now Books™ series; the first two titles, on Parkinson's disease and brain tumors, are tentatively scheduled to publish in summer 2012. A contract has been signed with Audio-Digest to produce a Continuum® audio program beginning in February 2012. Two hour-long audio programs based on the current issue of Continuum and accompanied by CME will be available monthly by subscription or individual purchase via both MP3 download and CD.
  • Neurology Today® has received two 2011 APEX Awards of Excellence, which are based on excellence in graphic design, editorial content, and the ability to achieve overall communications excellence. A series of three articles by Orly Avitzur, MD, FAAN, on neurologists responding to the medical emergency in Haiti after the January 2010 earthquake was recognized with an Award of Excellence in the category of Feature Series Writing. In addition, the February 4, 2010, issue was recognized in the category of One-of-a Kind-Custom-Published Publications.
  • Neurology® CME exams are now supported by mobile device; participants can view content, complete quizzes, and see scores using iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, and Android devices.