Capitol Hill Report

Read the Academy's bi-weekly update on legislative and regulatory advocacy for neurology. 

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2017 Advocacy accomplishments and 2018 priorities

January 8, 2018

2017 Advocacy Accomplishments on Your Behalf

The AAN Government Relations Committee (GRC) looks at physician advocacy with two lenses:

  • What rules, regulations and legislation impact all physicians and what can the AAN do to have an impact for neurology.
  • What rules, regulations and legislation specifically impact neurology and what can the AAN do that no one else will.

The AAN had success on both measures in 2017.

On the regulatory front:

Physician burnout impacts many specialties. The AAN joined with several physician organizations to raise the issue with Congress and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Most of the progress came from CMS, such as:

  • Successfully reducing reporting requirements and penalties under CMS quality programs
  • Further delaying Appropriate Use Criteria until 2020
  • A permanent CPT code, 99483, for the assessment of and care planning for patients with cognitive impairment
  • Added flexibility for small and solo practices under Medicare’s new Quality Payment Program

On the legislative front:

The AAN joined many specialties in advocating for physician payment improvements and for issues that only the AAN is working on, such as:

  • Solid movement on the Furthering Access to Stroke Telemedicine Act, S. 431/H.R. 1148 by Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-VA) and Sen. John Thune (R-SD)
    • Legislation would expand Medicare payment for telestroke to urban and suburban areas
    • Included as part of the CHRONIC Care Act, S. 870, which passed the Senate
    • 177 House cosponsors of H.R. 1148 (See if your member of Congress cosponsored)
    • Testimony by AAN Board of Directors member Brett Kissela, MD, FAAN, before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which later passed the bill through the committee on a unanimous vote
  • Funding for the BRAIN Initiative (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies) at the National Institutes of Health
    • Public-private research initiative with the goal of supporting development and application of innovative technologies that can create a dynamic understanding of brain function
    • AAN spearheaded efforts to garner support for a congressional letter promoting the BRAIN Initiative, which was signed by 10 senators and 64 representatives, and led to 2017 appropriation of $260 million
  • Raising awareness on the rising costs of prescription drugs
    • Support for multiple legislative proposals promoting transparency in drug pricing as patients see medication costs increasing at record rates
    • AAN convened task force to explore the challenges for effective but expensive new medications for neurologic conditions, including drugs for Duchenne muscular dystrophy and spinal muscular atrophy that exceed $500,000 per year
    • AAN lobbying throughout the year with members of Congress, making them aware of the impact on their constituents and seeking solutions in 2018

Outlook for 2018: Congressional Inaction Leads to Long List of Priorities

At the end of 2017, Congress passed a short-term appropriation bill that funds government until January 19. They failed to pass any legislation that would provide long-term stability to critical government priorities such as the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and Medicare policy extenders. The AAN will be working with Congress to complete this work early in 2018 with the goal of adding the CHRONIC Care Act, which includes the FAST Act for telestroke.

AAN Member Question: What Should the AAN Focus on in 2018?

On February 27, 225 AAN members will head to Capitol Hill for the 16th annual Neurology on the Hill event. Before they arrive, the AAN’s Government Relations Committee will meet to recommend the AAN’s top federal legislative policies to the AAN Board of Directors. We would like to hear from AAN members—what do you think the top priorities for 2018 should be? Send us your recommendations at

Capitol Hill Report Archives