Cross-Post: Streamlining the Process of Prior Authorization for Medical and Surgical Procedures

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 Hill on Jan. 14, 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., highlights the need to streamline the cumbersome process of prior authorization for medical and surgical procedures performed through the Medicare Advantage program. Prior authorization is a tool insurance companies use to limit the services they provide for their customers. “Reducing the footprint of prior authorization bends the arc towards that proper direction of reform,” according to Dr. Menger.

Click here to read Dr. Menger’s full article in The Hill.

Editor’s Note: We encourage everyone to join the conversation online by using the hashtags #FixPriorAuth and #RegRelief.

2020 — A Year in Review

By Advocacy Agenda, Congress, Health Reform, Medical Innovation, Medical Liability, Prior AuthorizationNo Comments

While 2020 is a year that most people want to forget, the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) and the Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS) made significant strides in accomplishing its legislative and regulatory agenda, thus ensuring that neurosurgical patients continue to have timely access to quality care. Following are some highlights of these advocacy efforts.

Congress Prevents Steep Medicare Cuts

On Jan. 1, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) implemented the new CPT guidelines to report office and outpatient visits based on either medical decision making or physician time. These evaluation and management (E/M) services are valued in line with the AMA/Specialty Society RVS Update Committee (RUC) recommendations. Unfortunately, to comply with Medicare’s budget neutrality requirement, any increases must be offset by corresponding decreases, and CMS estimated that the 2021 policies would increase Medicare spending by approximately $10.6 billion. This necessitated significant cuts for many specialties, including an overall 6-7% payment cut for neurosurgery. Read More

Diversity in Neurosurgery: Forcing Change Leads to Greater Success

By Career, Guest Post, Women in NeurosurgeryNo Comments

Should we take a stand to increase diversity? Yes! As neurosurgeons, we should talk about diversity in neurosurgery. If we don’t urge, even force change, it will not happen, or it will happen unbearably slowly. One hundred years into the history of neurosurgery, only 5% of all board-certified neurosurgeons are women. African-Americans are also underrepresented. The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) calculates that African-Americans represent 4% of all active neurosurgeons in the U.S. Read More

The Use of Social Media in Addressing Gender Disparities in Neurosurgery

By Career, Guest Post, Healthcare Social Media, Women in NeurosurgeryNo Comments

The importance of social media in neurosurgery, and medicine in general, has increased significantly over the past several years. As searched on PubMed, academic publications that include the search terms “social media neurosurgery” have increased over the last 10 years. Through various social media platforms, neurosurgeons can participate in educational endeavors, share scientific findings, build their brand and collaborate with others in the field despite geographical distance. The interactions that social media offers also provide an opportunity to network — to find mentors, role models and even friends outside one’s local academic and geographic environment. Read More

Women in Neurosurgery — A Legacy of Achievement and Breaking Barriers

By Career, Guest Post, Women in NeurosurgeryNo Comments

The past century has demonstrated tremendous progress in all disciplines of medicine. Parallel to this progress, and often a direct contributor to breakthroughs and achievements, has been the increasing role women have played in the profession. Neurosurgery is no exception. Although their ranks are small, especially compared to other specialties, the women of neurosurgery have played an outsized role in its rise as a specialty in the last hundred years. Read More

Progress Incremental: Understanding Sexual Harassment in Neurosurgery

By Career, Guest Post, Women in NeurosurgeryNo Comments

Under the table, his hand landed uncomfortably high on my thigh. Our conversation had drifted from our mutual interests in molecular biology research of brain tumors to books and music. Until that moment, I had felt really positive about our connection. It was 1984, and my infatuation with neurosurgery had led me to try and break into an overwhelming male subspecialty. I knew it would take something special to convince a program to make the leap and accept a woman. Throughout the lavish dinner event for the visiting resident applicants, I had foolishly thought, perhaps this was such an opportunity. When the hand landed, the conversation abruptly changed, and the senior faculty leaned very close and, with an unmistakable leer, said, “I would really love to help you become the first woman in our residency program. Shall we make those plans later tonight?” Read More

Honoring Those Who Have Served

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. Read More