Stimulus Package Contains Provisions of Interest to Academy

February 18, 2009

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Following Congressional agreement on compromise version, President Obama has signed H.R. 1, the "American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009" into law, which includes three provisions of interest to the AAN Professional Association:

National Institute of Health (NIH) Funding: President Obama and Congress included $10 billion in funding for NIH, which will go towards new research grants, as well as renovations and construction at NIH campuses. More than 420 Academy members contacted their members of Congress and encouraged them to support an increase in NIH Funding.

Health Information Technology (HIT): Approximately $19 billion has been provided for Medicare and Medicaid HIT incentives over five years. This includes:

  • Providing financial incentives through the Medicare program to encourage physicians and hospitals to adopt and use certified electronic health records (EHR)
  • Eligibility for early adopters of HIT whose first payment year is 2011 or 2012 for larger incentive payments of up to $18,000 (in 2014 the payment limit will be $12,000)
  • Increase of incentive amounts by 10 percent for eligible physicians in rural areas
  • Disincentives for physicians who do not adopt a certified HIT system, in the form of a reduction in their Medicare fee schedule payments of -1 percent in 2015, -2 percent in 2016, and -3 percent in 2017 and beyond.

The Academy will continue to work with Congress to ensure that the details of the HIT plan are favorable to patients and physicians.

Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER): The stimulus package includes $1.1 billion in funding for CER. This will establish Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research (FCC-CER), which in turn will help reduce duplication efforts and make recommendations to the President and Congress on CER infrastructure needs. CER will not include national clinical guidelines or coverage determinations. The Academy will also be monitoring the implementation of this provision to ensure that physicians have access to helpful research, but are not hindered by decisions that impact the best care for patients.

For questions or comments, please contact Mike Amery, Legislative Counsel, at mamery@aan.com or at (202) 349-4299.