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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

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

Neurosurgeons Launch Campaign to Protect Patient Access to Care

By Access to Care, COVID-19, Guest Post, Health Reform, MedicareNo Comments

Our health care system is under extraordinary pressure. The COVID-19 pandemic has created an uncertain financial future for health care professionals. And now, coming on the heels of this devastating pandemic, Medicare is poised to implement drastic cuts. These cuts threaten patients’ access to timely surgical care and may impact the quality of life for the people neurosurgeons care for every day. To help policymakers and the public understand how these payment cuts will hurt patients and their neurosurgical care teams, on June 18, the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) and the Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS), along with 10 other national surgical associations, officially launched the Surgical Care Coalition (SCC). Read More

A Year in review: Making Progress on Neurosurgery’s Legislative and Regulatory Agenda

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

As we come to the end of a decade and head into 2020, it is fitting to reflect on the progress that the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) and the Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS) have made in advancing organized neurosurgery’s legislative and regulatory agenda to ensure that neurosurgical patients have timely access to quality care. At the beginning of 2019, we set forth an ambitious agenda, and throughout the year, the AANS and CNS continued to make progress on achieving our health policy goals.

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