The Senate's health reform bill, HR. 3590, the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act," includes a section to provide a bonus payment to physicians that provide a high percentage of evaluation and management (E/M) services. Unfortunately, even though neurology provides the same kind of high quality, principal care the bill seeks to encourage, neurology is not listed as an eligible specialty for this bonus.
For the past six months, the Academy has launched a full-time effort to have an amendment introduced to correct this oversight and include neurology in this important bonus. This effort has included a nearly full-time push by the Academy's legislative counsel in Washington, DC, Hill visits and testimony by AAN leadership, extensive grassroots advocacy by Academy members, and a successful coalition with patient groups.
The hard work has paid off! Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) has now taken the significant step of formally filing this amendment with bipartisan support. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) have signed on as original cosponsors. An Action Alert to all US Academy members on Wednesday, December 9, asked members to contact their Senators in a move to recruit additional cosponsors. Demonstrating support for this amendment is crucial to its success.
Supporting this amendment does not mean the Academy has taken a position on either the House or Senate health reform bills. However, including neurology in the primary care bonus is vital to the future of reimbursement for neurologic services.
In addition to adding more cosponsors, the next step is to convince the Senate Finance Committee to include the Klobuchar Neurology Amendment in their "manager's amendment" to HR. 3590. If you have not already done so, please contact your Senators today. Further updates on progress will be posted as they are available.
For more information, contact Mike Amery, AAN Legislative Counsel, at firstname.lastname@example.org.