ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Cognitive Specialty Coalition (CSC) commended the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) for recognizing that Congress should take steps to ensure that Medicare beneficiaries have access to cognitive care specialists. Cognitive specialists are physicians with additional training in a specific field of medicine who primarily provide Evaluation & Management (E&M) services to people with complex medical conditions that require a level of expertise which the referring physician is not trained to diagnose or qualified to treat.
The newly released June 2011 report specifically mentions that the end of the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) could depend on a set of trade-offs to improve the payment system and that one of the ideas being considered is a realignment of payments for physicians and other health professionals. The plan was designed to help ensure an adequate supply of practitioners in cognitive, nonprocedural specialties who focus on managing patients with chronic conditions. The CSC agrees and believes that any payment realignment must also apply to cognitive specialties that primarily treat acute conditions.
“In recent years it has become much more difficult to recruit young physicians into cognitive specialty care,” said Bruce Sigsbee, MD, FAAN president of the American Academy of Neurology. “Cognitive physicians spend great amounts of time with patients evaluating and managing complex conditions, but this type of care has been significantly undervalued compared to procedural care. Access to physicians for people who need this type of care is being threatened.”
“Recognizing and valuing the expert care that cognitive specialty physicians provide for their patients is essential to ensuring these patient populations have access to high quality care,” said David Borenstein, MD, president of the American College of Rheumatology. “We hope MedPAC’s proposal signals to Congress that the Medicare population relies on the advanced training and expertise of cognitive specialists and that changes should be made to ensure this type of specialty care is available.”
Thomas Slama, MD, FIDSA, president-elect of the Infectious Disease Society of America, agreed. “We all see the plight of primary care, but it is vital that MedPAC and Congress also see the value of care provided by cognitive specialists as well. MedPAC’s report is an encouraging step in that direction.”
The cognitive specialty coalition consists of representatives of the American Academy of Neurology, the Endocrine Society, the Infectious Disease Society of America, the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, the American College of Rheumatology and the North American Neuro-Ophthalmology Society. “Members of the coalition look forward to working with MedPAC and Congress in ensuring that cognitive specialists are recognized in any restructuring of the Medicare payment system.” Sigsbee said.
The American Academy of Neurology, an association of 24,000 neurologists and neuroscience professionals, is dedicated to promoting the highest quality patient-centered neurologic care. A neurologist is a doctor with specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system such as Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, migraine, multiple sclerosis, brain injury, Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy. For more information about the American Academy of Neurology, visit http://www.aan.com.
Founded in 1916, The Endocrine Society is the world’s oldest, largest and most active organization devoted to research on hormones and the clinical practice of endocrinology. Today, The Endocrine Society’s membership consists of over 14,000 scientists, physicians, educators, nurses and students in more than 100 countries. Society members represent all basic, applied and clinical interests in endocrinology. The Endocrine Society is based in Chevy Chase, Maryland. To learn more about the Society and the field of endocrinology, visit http://www.endo-society.org.
The Infectious Disease Society of America represents more than 9,300 physicians and scientists devoted to patient care, education, research and community health planning in infectious diseases (ID). The Society’s members focus on the epidemiology, diagnosis, investigation, prevention and treatment of acute and chronic infectious diseases in the United States and abroad. For more information, visit http://www.idsociety.org.
The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) represents over 6,500 endocrinologists in the United States and abroad. AACE is the largest association of clinical endocrinologists in the world. The majority of AACE members are certified in Endocrinology and Metabolism and concentrate on the treatment of patients with endocrine and metabolic disorders including diabetes, thyroid disorders, metabolic bone disease, pituitary gland disorders, cholesterol disorders, hypertension and obesity. AACE members are committed to providing the highest quality of care to the patients they serve. For more information, visit http://www.aace.com.
The American College of Rheumatology is an international professional medical society that represents more than 8,000 rheumatologists and rheumatology health professionals around the world. Its mission is to advance rheumatology. For more information, visit http://www.rheumatology.org or follow ACR on Twitter at http://twitter.com/acrheum.The North American Neuro-Ophthalmology Society (NANOS) is a 501c3 educational member organization. It is dedicated to supporting those principles, policies and practices that lead to the best in neuro-ophthalmologic patient care, the pursuit of excellence in medical education, especially as it concerns the neuro-ophthalmologic sciences, the pursuit of scientific and clinical knowledge in fields related to neuro-ophthalmology, the communication of scientific and scholarly information through scientific meetings and publications, and the advancement of clinical neuro-ophthalmology. For more information, visit http://www.nanosweb.org.