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Cross-Post: ‘I’m a Neurosurgeon Who Can’t Move. Now What?’

By Cross Post, Spine CareNo Comments

From time to time on Neurosurgery Blog, you will see us cross-posting or linking to items from other places that we believe will be of interest to our readers. Today’s post originally appeared in MedPage Today on June 15. In the op-ed, David J. Langer, MD, FAANS, recounts a life-changing accident during a ski trip that resulted in a spinal cord injury and a feeling of powerlessness for the practicing neurosurgeon and star on the Netflix series Lenox Hill. Read More

Cross-Post: Perverse Health-Care Incentives Endanger Spine Patients

By Access to Care, Cross Post, Spine CareNo Comments

From time to time on Neurosurgery Blog, you will see us cross-posting or linking to items from other places that we believe will be of interest to our readers. Today’s post originally appeared in The American Spectator on May 21. In the op-ed, neurosurgeons Richard Menger, MD, MPA and Anthony M. DiGiorgio, DO, MHA voice their support of Louisiana HB 941, a bill in the Louisiana State Legislature that would allow only spine surgeons to perform spine surgery. Read More

Improving the Field of Neurosurgery through Brain Tumor Advocacy

By Brain Tumor, Tumor, Tumor Series, White HouseNo Comments

Working with patient advocates is important for neurosurgeons and neurosurgeons in training. While neurosurgeons help patients through clinical work and conduct innovative research to advance treatment options, advocacy can have an outsized impact on patients across the U.S. Neurosurgeons who participate in patient advocacy gain a better understanding of the priorities of patients, their families and those who care about them. Read More

Cross-Post: Brain Tumors in Children

By Brain Tumor, Pediatrics, Tumor, Tumor SeriesNo Comments

From time to time on Neurosurgery Blog, you will see us cross-posting pieces from other publications that are worthy of sharing with our readers. Since we are in the middle of our focus series on tumors, we wanted to bring attention to an article published in The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) on May 19. Alan R. Cohen, MD, FACS, FAAP, FAANS, discusses recent changes to the classification and management of brain tumors in children. In 2021, the World Health Organization introduced changes in brain tumor taxonomy, emphasizing molecular diagnostic features. These changes reflect the trend of assigning diagnostic categories based on genetic features that, in many cases, drive prognosis and offer potential targets for treatment. Read More

University of Miami Increases Neuro-Oncology Collaboration and Mentorship Through Innovative New Fellowship Program

By Brain Tumor, Tumor, Tumor SeriesNo Comments

Neurosurgery has a long history of mentorship through a trainee’s dedicated time under a more experienced surgeon’s tutelage. Surgical training has long been considered a more advanced form of apprenticeship, mastering a skill under a more experienced practitioner’s guidance. In this tradition, the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center — part of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine — has launched an International Neuro-oncology Scholars Program (INOSP) that allows neurosurgery trainees to join internationally renowned brain tumor experts in other countries to increase their experience. Read More

The Long Game: The CNS’ Investment in the NINDS/CNS Getch K12 Scholar Award

By Career, DEI, Guest Post, HealthNo Comments

In 2012, the Neurosurgeon Research Career Development Program (NRCDP) set a goal to grow a diverse corps of neurosurgeon scientists at institutions across the United States. The Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS) and the CNS Foundation became early partners in this effort by establishing the National Institutes of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)/CNS Getch K12 Scholar Award, named in honor of the CNS Past President Christopher C. Getch, MD, FAANS, a respected neurosurgeon, friend and leader, who passed away unexpectedly soon after his presidency. Read More

Socioeconomic Status and Short-term Glioblastoma Survival: Does it Make a Difference?

By Brain Tumor, Tumor, Tumor SeriesNo Comments

The recent COVID-19 pandemic highlighted socioeconomic differences in health care access detrimental to the outcome, including a per capita excess mortality highest among the Black and Latino population. The prognostic role of socioeconomic factors for patients diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) has been hotly debated. GBM is the most common malignant primary brain tumor in adults and affects 3.3 percent of pediatric brain tumor patients. The disease has made headlines in recent years with the diagnosis of high-profile political figures such as President Biden’s son Beau Biden and the late Sens. Ted Kennedy and John McCain. Significant advances in surgical and adjuvant treatments for this disease have had a positive impact on short-term survival. Yet, there is a still-very-low five-year survival rate in adults, around 5.5 percent. As new therapeutic approaches develop, prolonging short-term survival coupled with high quality of life remains a priority when caring for patients with GBM.

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Neurosurgical Oncologists as Champions of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

By DEI, Neuro-oncology, Tumor SeriesNo Comments

Recent events of systemic discrimination have led to national introspection on the importance of tolerance and diversity. The tragic killing of George Floyd in May 2020 was a sentinel event that raised awareness of the pervasive nature of systemic discrimination and served as a significant impetus for positive change. This was a clear reminder that we still face substantial challenges to tolerance and equal treatment for all as a society. It is also a unique opportunity to reflect on our common purpose as humanity.

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Introduction to Tumor Focus Series: Bringing “Better” to Our Patients in Multiple Ways

By Tumor, Tumor SeriesNo Comments

Neurosurgery has historically been a uniquely wide-ranging and varied specialty. Unlike other specialties that focus on a particular organ system or body region, neurosurgery is quite literally a “head-to-toe” specialty dealing with the brain, spinal cord, peripheral nerves and the other organs intimately related to the nervous system. Neurosurgeons classically had to be experts in a wide variety of surgical procedures and disease processes. As medical knowledge and technology have advanced, neurosurgeons have evolved with medicine to become experts in particular disease processes, leading to a reorganization of neurosurgery into sub-specialty disciplines.

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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

Faces of Neurosurgery: An Interview with Kim J. Burchiel, MD, FAANS, FACS

By Career, Faces of NeurosurgeryNo Comments

In Episode 3 of Neurosurgery Blog’s Faces of Neurosurgery interview series, we spoke with Kim J. Burchiel, MD, FAANS, FACS, about his passions, his early mentors and what has driven him throughout his career. Dr. Burchiel is currently John Raaf Professor and Chairman Emeritus of the Department of Neurological Surgery at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU). Read More

Faces of Neurosurgery: An Interview with R. Michael Scott, MD, FAANS (L)

By Career, Faces of NeurosurgeryNo Comments

In Episode 2 of Neurosurgery Blog’s Faces of Neurosurgery interview series, we spoke with R. Michael Scott, MD, FAANS (L), about his early mentors, proudest achievements, and musical hobbies. Dr. Scott is currently Neurosurgeon-in-Chief-emeritus at Boston Children’s Hospital and Christopher K. Fellows Family Chair in Pediatric Neurosurgery. Read More

Faces of Neurosurgery: Dr. Franklin Lin Keeps His Family Safe During COVID-19 Pandemic

By COVID-19, Cross Post, Faces of NeurosurgeryNo 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 are relevant to our readership. Today’s post originally appeared on FOX 5 Atlanta on May 26, 2021. In the video segment, Franklin Lin, MD, FAANS, a neurosurgeon at Wellstar Kennestone Hospital in Atlanta, Ga., and his wife decided it would be safest for him to move out of his home and into a hotel at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Read More

Motherhood and Neurosurgery: How to Make it Work

By Career, Women in NeurosurgeryNo Comments

The challenge of being a mother and a neurosurgeon is a topic that is rarely discussed, even in today’s society. It often feels like a taboo subject for women neurosurgeons and trainees, as if motherhood would somehow make one seem like a lesser neurosurgeon. With the extensive time dedicated to neurosurgical education, training and lifelong learning, it can be challenging to determine how motherhood fits into this life. Read More