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Neurosurgery Lost a Leader, and I Lost a Dear Friend — Randall W. Smith, MD, FAANS(L)

By Guest Post, Loss of LifeNo Comments

On Oct. 25, neurosurgery lost a leader, and I lost a dear friend. Randy’s accomplishments in organized neurosurgery, especially in California, are too numerous to list and have been chronicled by others in recent days. Today, I want to tell you the main lessons Randy taught me over our decade-long friendship. Read More

Cross-Post: Physician Pay Cuts Are Another Threat to Independent Practices

By Cross Post, Health Reform, MedicareNo Comments

From time to time on Neurosurgery Blog, you will see us cross-posting or linking to items from other places when we believe they hit the mark on an issue. Today’s post originally appeared in The Hill on Nov. 13, 2021. In the op-ed titled “Physician pay cuts are another threat to independent practices,” Richard Menger, MD, MPA, assistant professor of neurosurgery and political science at the University of South Alabama in Mobile, Ala., discusses how the 9% Medicare physician pay cuts for medical services starting Jan. 1, 2022, will have enormous consequences for the entire health care system. Read More

Giving Thanks to the Neurosurgeons in the Military Who Have Served our Country

By Military Faces of NeurosurgeryNo Comments

Each year on Veterans Day, the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) and the Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS) pay tribute to the contributions of the many military neurosurgeons who have made significant contributions and sacrifices. Whether on the battlefield, in the operating room or research lab, neurosurgeons have served our country with distinction and grace throughout history.

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Permanently Funding CHIP is Essential for the Health of Our Children

By Guest Post, Health Reform, PediatricsNo Comments

The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is a health insurance program that provides coverage to children from low-income families. CHIP was established in 1997 with strong bipartisan support and is an essential state-federal partnership. As many as 15% of children lacked health insurance coverage at the time. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), Medicaid and CHIP provided health insurance to more than 50% of U.S. children in 2012, making both programs combined the nation’s largest insurer. These children and their families depend on federally subsidized state Medicaid for their health insurance. Read More

Faces of Neurosurgery: An Interview with Volker K. H. Sonntag, MD, FAANS (L)

By Career, Faces of NeurosurgeryNo Comments

In Episode 4 of Neurosurgery Blog’s Faces of Neurosurgery interview series, we spoke with Volker K. H. Sonntag, MD, FAANS (L) about his proudest achievements, his favorite surgery to perform and one surgical instrument he couldn’t live without. Dr. Sonntag is an emeritus professor of neurosurgery at Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, Ariz. Read More

Cross-Post: A Way Forward For The Imaging Appropriate Use Criteria Program: Aligning Quality Metrics

By Cross Post, Health Reform, MedicareNo Comments

From time to time on Neurosurgery Blog, you will see us cross-posting or linking to items from other places when we believe they hit the mark on an issue. Today’s post originally appeared in Health Affairs on Aug. 26, 2021. The article, “A Way Forward For The Imaging Appropriate Use Criteria Program: Aligning Quality Metrics,” discusses proposed changes to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) calendar year 2022 proposed Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) Rule and implementation of the Appropriate Use Criteria (AUC) program. Mandated by the Protecting Access to Medicare Act (PAMA), the AUC program requires physicians ordering advanced diagnostic imaging to consult with AUC using an approved clinical decision support mechanism before the radiologist can provide the scan.

As the Health Affairs piece points out, following the release of the  PFS, the House Appropriations Health Subcommittee included in its report a provision for CMS to inform Congress about the implementation of the AUC program, including any challenges and successes. The AANS and the CNS have urged Congress to repeal the AUC program, given the additional burdens on physicians and potential delays in imaging services. At the very least, the neurosurgical societies have recommended that Congress adopt legislation that directs CMS to incorporate AUC for diagnostic imaging into the existing Quality Payment Program.

Click here to read the full article in Health Affairs.

Editor’s Note: We encourage everyone to join the conversation online by following @Neurosurgery and using the hashtags #Neurosurgery and #Medicare.

Cross-Post: Bipartisan Bill Would Improve Medicare Patients’ Access to Care

By Cross Post, Health Reform, Prior Authorization, Regulatory ReliefNo Comments

From time to time on Neurosurgery Blog, you will see us cross-posting or linking to items from other places when we believe they hit the mark on an issue. Today’s post originally appeared in The American Spectator on July 21, 2021. In the op-ed, Richard Menger, MD, MPA, assistant professor of neurosurgery and political science at the University of South Alabama in Mobile, Ala. discusses how H.R. 3173, the Improving Seniors’ Timely Access to Care Act, could bring transparency to the process of prior authorization in Medicare Advantage (MA) plans. Read More