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Capitol Hill Report: AAN, AMA Push Back on Stage 3 Meaningful Use

December 7, 2015

By Mike Amery, Esq., Senior Legislative Counsel, Federal Affairs

Stage 3 Meaningful Use on the Table
Congress returned after the Thanksgiving break and the hot topic for physicians was the potential for a delay in Stage 3 Meaningful Use (MU) requirements for electronic health records. There is universal agreement among physician specialties that a vast majority of providers are unprepared for Stage 3. Unfortunately, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is going forward with implementation.

The AAN has joined the American Medical Association (AMA) and many others to protesting the implementation of Stage 3 and urging Congress to act on legislation mandating a delay. This week, the House Doctors Caucus, made up of 20 Republican physicians and health care professionals like Reps. Michael Burgess, MD, (TX), Charles Boustany, MD, (LA), and Larry Bucshon, MD, (IN) sent a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) asking that a delay and hardship exemptions be included in the upcoming budget package.

 The budget package is legislation that must pass by December 11 to prevent a government shutdown. We expect this package to move forward as a continuing resolution (CR) since several top Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), have pledged no shutdown will occur. CRs are usually pretty clean, meaning they stick to funding the government at current levels for a period of time, sometime as long as a year. But passing a CR does offer the chance to alter federal policy, and MU is one of those policies that could be on the table. We will be working our contacts to make that happen.

 As Congress works through the challenges of Meaningful Use, the AMA unveiled its Break the Red Tape campaign at the 2015 Interim Meeting of the House of Delegates in November. The campaign urges congressional action on Meaningful Use regulations and electronic health record (EHR) interoperability.

 We need your help to continue to grow the AAN delegation and the voice of neurology in the House of Delegates. If you are an AMA member, review your information and select the AAN to represent you.

Presidential Poll at the Indiana Neurosociety 50th Anniversary Meeting
I had the honor of attending the 50th anniversary meeting of the Indiana State Neurosociety. State Chair Ann Hake, MD, pulled out all the stops with a meeting at the Conrad Hilton in the heart of Indianapolis followed by a dinner at the Rathskeller―the very place the society founders used for their initial meetings in 1965.

I was joined at the meeting by AAN Board Members Jim Stevens, MD, FAAN, and Tom Vidic, MD, FAAN, both of whom have been involved in the long-term success of the Indiana society. As usual, I gave a federal update to the 85 attendees and urged them to stop by the AAN table in the exhibit hall to cast a vote in a presidential straw poll.

Indiana leans Republican in Congress, but statewide success for Democrats is not unusual with the most recent example being Sen. Joe Donnelly's (D) victory in 2012. For the 34 attendees that stopped by to cast ballots, it was a straight up tie with 17 votes for Republicans and 17 for Democrats, with Dr. Ben Carson (R) and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) leading the way for their parties.

The AAN believes that state neurosocieties are vital to strengthening the profession of neurology and we are committed to supporting state-based efforts. Learn more about your state society.

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