Commission Recognizes Need to Realign Payment for Cognitive Specialties

June 17, 2011

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The Academy is pleased to inform members that the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC), an influential group of 17 members that advises Congress on payment policy, has recommended "Realign[ing] 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." MedPAC published its report on "Medicare and the Health Care Delivery System" on June 15.

Working with a coalition of cognitive specialties, AAN members provided testimony at a January 2011 MedPAC meeting and met with commission staff in March to emphasize the need for payment policies that recognize the value of cognitive specialty care for patients with complex medical conditions.

"We are delighted that MedPAC recognizes necessity for realigning the current payment system" said Bruce Sigsbee, MD, FAAN, president of the American Academy of Neurology. "Cognitive physicians spend great amounts of time with patients evaluating and managing complex conditions, but this type of care has been significantly undervalued compared to procedural care. Patient access to physicians for this type of care is being threatened."

Read AAN press release.