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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.

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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