The Academy's Role in Health Care Reform

April 13, 2010

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By Robert C. Griggs, MD, FAAN
President, AAN

I was gratified to be given the opportunity to share the stage with such distinguished researchers and spend a few minutes talking to Annual Meeting attendees about the AAN's role in health care reform during today's Presidential Plenary Session. As we all know, the US health care system is rapidly changing. My address focused on how these new changes will impact both physicians and patients alike. The Academy has stayed at the forefront, advocating for members' interests on Capitol Hill every step of the way, and I am proud to say that we played an active role in this historic process, even if everything we advocated for did not make its way into the new law.

As President of the only organization representing the voice of all neurologists in Washington, I know all of you are frustrated by the failure of reimbursement rates to keep up with your costs of practice. You should know how hard your Academy worked with Congress to try and obtain the E/M bonus for neurology; unfortunately, our incredible efforts fell victim to the current political climate. But we know how essential it is to provide increased payments for E/M services to offer incentive for face-to-face time to diagnose, treat, and manage patients with costly chronic conditions, and rest assured we will continue to advocate for inclusion of neurology in the Primary Care Incentive provision of the reform law that will give a new 10% bonus to primary care and internal medicine for E/M care.

Our mission is to promote the highest quality, patient-centered, neurologic care and enhance your career satisfaction. We know that both of these goals are undermined by a payment system that rewards procedures over cognitive services. Therefore, you can be certain that we will continue to advocate on your behalf—but we also need your help. I urge each of you to please read Academy email updates, visit AAN.com, and get actively engaged to fight alongside us for the practice of neurology and our patients. We cannot do it alone.

A video of my full presentation on health care reform and its impact on neurology can be viewed below or on the AAN's YouTube channel.