FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Attendees Call on Congress to Support the FAST Act
WASHINGTON D.C. – What: Neurologists from across the country will meet with federal lawmakers on February 27 – 28, 2017, for the 15th annual “Neurology on the Hill,” an event by the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) to educate Congress on the critical role of neurologists in health care. Who: It will be the largest event to date with 220 neurologists attending, including 100 first-time attendees, from 43 states and Washington D.C. Where: Congressional offices, Washington, D.C. Neurologists are available for interviews. When: February 27 – 28, 2017 Key Issues: The American Academy of Neurology will call on members of Congress to co-sponsor the Furthering Access to Stroke Telemedicine (FAST) Act, which would improve patient care by expanding access to stroke telemedicine, or “telestroke.” Every minute is vital when somebody suffers from a stroke and treatment is needed as quickly as possible. Telestroke uses videoconferencing to connect stroke patients to off-site neurologists who can examine the patient, immediately interpret brain scan results and make treatment recommendations in consultation with Emergency Department personnel. Medicare currently only covers telestroke services for patients treated at a rural hospital, but not for patients at urban or suburban hospitals. The FAST Act would require Medicare to reimburse for telestroke services regardless of where a patient lives. “The FAST Act was first introduced in 2015 and it has received strong bipartisan support,” said Terrence L. Cascino, MD, FAAN, President of the American Academy of Neurology. “It was reintroduced in the 115th Congress just this month so we hope to continue the momentum and ultimately secure passage of the bill into law.” The AAN will also ask Congress for robust funding in regular appropriations to the NIH as well as continued support and funding for the BRAIN (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies) Initiative. The BRAIN Initiative, announced by President Obama in 2013, is a 12-year, public-private effort which aims to improve the lives of everyone on the planet by supporting research with a goal to greatly expand our knowledge about the human brain. Strong investments in neuroscience and the BRAIN Initiative have the potential to solve persistent mysteries of brain function, create technologies that seed new industries, and open the door to new treatments for diseases and disorders of the nervous system. The AAN will also urge lawmakers to take action to ensure that prescription medications are accessible for patients with complex, chronic neurologic conditions. Prescription drug prices are high and continue to increase, which is concerning for patients, prescribers, payers, and policymakers. Cost-containment efforts must also address the burden on the entire healthcare system as high prescription drug prices may be shifted and absorbed in ways that negatively impact patient and prescriber access to important medications and limit options. Lastly, as Congress debates the future of the Affordable Care Act, the AAN supports access to high-quality health care and preventative care through insurance coverage for all, including those most vulnerable to health care disparities, regardless of pre-existing conditions. The AAN urges policymakers to protect access to neurology care in all settings, including small and solo practices. Follow Neurology on the Hill on social media with the hashtag #NOH17.
The American Academy of Neurology is the world's largest association of neurologists and neuroscience professionals, with 32,000 members. The AAN 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, concussion, Parkinson's disease and epilepsy.