AAN Applauds Payment Reform Report

March 13, 2013

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Catherine M. Rydell

AAN Leadership Update

Catherine M. Rydell, Executive Director & CEO
March 2013

Medical Economics

  • The AAN issued a statement applauding the National Commission on Physician Payment Reform’s report released March 4. The report highlights the importance of fair reimbursement for evaluation and management (E/M) services for cognitive specialties such as neurology and acknowledges that the recent emphasis on E/M services provided by primary care physicians misses the mark and excludes consideration of specialties such as neurology. The commission, which was formed by the Society of General Internal Medicine, asked for input last summer, and the AAN is pleased that the recommendations reflect many of our concerns.
  • Members have opportunities to learn more about the nerve conduction codes at the Annual Meeting. A new session, “Neurology in Crisis: Next Steps for Practice Survival,” at noon on Tuesday, March 19, will help members learn about dealing with the cuts and how quality programs will impact their practice. Also, Academy leaders will hold an open microphone session following the business meeting at 8:00 a.m. on Monday, March 18, in Room 23 ABC to dialogue on strategies for payment recognition for neurologists as a cognitive specialty, including discussion of the changes to NCS, EMG, and IOM codes. In addition, new tools, including a document to help members navigate coding changes, are available online.
  • The AAN renominated Marc Nuwer, MD, PhD, FAAN, to serve as the AAN’s advisor to the AMA Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) Editorial Panel and Bruce H. Cohen, MD, FAAN, as the alternate advisor. Each specialty in the AMA House of Delegates is allotted one advisor and one alternate on the Editorial Panel Advisory Committee. In addition—with the support of eight other medical specialty societies—the AAN nominated Nuwer for the one open seat to serve as a member of the Editorial Panel itself. The AAN used survey data to propose relative values for six new codes for chemodenervation of extremities, trunk, and neck muscles during the January meeting of the AMA Relative Value Update Committee (RUC).

Annual Meeting

  • New for the 2013 Annual Meeting—all Education Program slides, previously available to attendees as in–room handouts, now will be online only.
  • More than 1,200 downloads have been made of the Annual Meeting mobile application, which is available on iOS (iPhone®/iPad®) and Android® platforms in addition to a mobile website version. The mobile application allows attendees access to program materials, including syllabi and presentation slides, a searchable abstract listing, including access to full abstract content, and more.
  • The Neuro Film Festival will screen “The Crash Reel,” an HBO documentary directed by Oscar–nominee Lucy Walker. The film, which premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, tells the story of snowboarder Kevin Pearce, who suffered a severe traumatic brain injury. The screening will be at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, March 22, during the Closing Party.

Advocacy

  • AAN Washington staff are close to an agreement to have legislation introduced in both the House and Senate that would add neurology, psychiatry, and OB/GYN to the list of specialties eligible for the Medicaid “bump” provision of the Affordable Care Act. This provision will pay Medicaid providers Medicare rates for 2013–14. The legislation will be a key part of the AAN’s Neurology on the Hill event in April.
  • The AAN submitted a comment letter to the US House Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means Committees, which are working on a joint effort to permanently replace the Medicare sustainable growth rate formula with a new payment system. The committees requested specialty society feedback on how to measure and reward physicians for quality.
  • More than 800 members responded to an AAN Grassroots Network Action Alert asking members to contact Congress to stop sequestration, which will cut Medicare payments to physicians by 2 percent and dramatically cut funding for research for federal agencies like the National Institutes of Health.

Executive Administration

  • The nominees for AAN officer and director positions for the 2013–2015 term will be presented to the voting membership for approval during the 2013 AAN Business Meeting on Monday, March 18, 2013, at 8:00 a.m. in Room 23 ABC at the Annual Meeting in San Diego. All members are welcome; registration is not required. Voting is limited to Active and Fellow members. Business meeting will be followed by open microphone session for members to dialogue with AAN leaders on strategies for payment recognition for neurologists as a cognitive specialty, including discussion of the changes to NCS, EMG, and IOM codes.
  • Annual Meeting attendees will have opportunities to meet with AAN leaders throughout the week at Academy Central at the Annual Meeting. Attendees can network, ask questions, and share ideas with AAN leaders and learn about AAN resources.

Science

  • In an effort to be conscious of the environment and to establish a searchable archive of meeting abstracts, scientific abstracts for the 2013 Annual Meeting will be available online through the Abstracts Online and Neurology.org websites. These online formats offer convenient search capabilities not found in print. Access is easy:
    • Abstracts Online 
      Visit Abstracts Online to access abstracts until February 2014. Abstracts Online also lets you build your itinerary.
    • Neurology 
      Visit Neurology.org to access abstracts indefinitely.
  • The Clinical Trials Plenary Session at noon on Friday, March 22, will present the latest results and updates on a number of clinical trials conducted over the course of the last year, with an open panel discussion at the conclusion. The speakers are Jeremy Chataway, MD; Joseph Broderick, MD, FAAN; Timothy Cloughesy, MD; Leonard Van den Berg, MD; Merit Cudkowicz, MD, MSc; and Ann Hake, MD.

Membership

  • February revenues for the Neurology Career Center, the AAN’s website for job seekers and employers, increased by 138 percent over February 2012. Earlier deadlines for job ads and listings due to the early Annual Meeting date resulted in a portion of the increase.

Clinical Practice

  • The AAN is seeking comments to be used in developing new guideline recommendations for diagnosing and treating pediatric mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). Pediatric Mild TBI Workgroup Guideline is using the AAN’s guideline development process to develop a multidisciplinary, evidence–based guideline on diagnosis and management of mTBI in children under age 18. The protocol is available for public comment until April 7.
  • The article, “Teleneurology applications: Validated uses, benefits, and lessons: Report of the Telemedicine Work Group of the American Academy of Neurology,” was published in the February 12 issue of Neurology. The article discusses teleneurology from the patient and provider perspectives, the military experience with teleneurology, barriers to growth, and the importance of AAN support.
  • The article “Quality measures for neurologists: Financial and practice implications,” was published in the February issue of Neurology®: Clinical Practice and aims to clarify current and rising quality measurement programs relevant to neurologists. The article was written by members of the Quality Measurement and Reporting Subcommittee. 

Education

  • Academy leaders and members can learn about the latest changes in the ABPN Maintenance of Certification requirements as well as new AAN resources to help meet the requirements at the ABPN/AAN MOC Informational Session on Monday, March 18, from 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Public Outreach

Publications

  • The redesign of the Neurology.org website, which includes Neurology: Clinical Practice, is scheduled for release on March 16 in time for display at the Annual Meeting. The more agile website will provide a richer user experience with easier reading, greater discoverability, and higher potential for audience engagement, and will have the flexibility to add new subspecialty journal sites in the future. 

American Brain Foundation

  • John C. Mazziotta, MD, PhD, FAAN, chair of the American Brain Foundation and an accomplished fundraiser, will lead a “Philanthropy 101” course. The free course, offered on Monday, March 18, from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., in Room 28DE, is open to all registrants, but is designed especially for Board members, department chairs, and those interested in leadership opportunities, community building and community service, and philanthropy in general.
  • The American Brain Foundation is giving away two tickets to a sporting event, concert, or theater performance of the winner’s choice, and one hotel package valued at $500, through a random drawing open to 2013 Annual Meeting registrants who are members of the AAN Section that earns the most points in the weeklong Sports Health Challenge at the Annual Meeting.
  • The Brain Health Connection, the Foundation’s new monthly e–newsletter featuring brain health news, has been well–received, with thousands of patients forwarding the newsletter on to their family and friends.

Dates and Deadlines

65th AAN Annual Meeting
March 16–23

AAN Business Meeting
March 18

Webinar: Correct Coding for Chemodenervation
April 9

Neurology on the Hill
April 21–22

Webinar: Working with NPs and PAs to Maximize Office Productivity
April 24