Capitol Hill Report: Cascino Connects with Senate

September 21, 2015

AAN President Pushes Research, Practice Issues
By Mike Amery, Esq., Senior Legislative Counsel, Federal Affairs

Last week, AAN President Terrence L. Cascino, MD, FAAN, had the honor of kicking off a Capitol Hill briefing for more than 100 Senate staff and advocates for neurologic disease in support of Advancing Research for Neurological Diseases Act (S. 849, H.R. 292). This bill would allow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to better track prevalence and incidents of neurologic disease. Earlier this year, this legislation passed out of the House as a small part of the 21st Century Cures Act, but the Senate must also weigh in for this idea to move forward. The briefing included comments from the authors of the legislation, Sens. Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and Chris Murphy (D-CT), who described how little is known about many neurologic diseases and how much data would mean for those looking for cures.

Having Dr. Cascino around is great because he brings with him a nice advantage when he comes to Washington: he's from two states, Minnesota and Nevada. He works at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, but also lives part of the year in Nevada.

Members of Congress have one question on their minds for every person they meet. “Where are you from?” They want the ideas and opinions of voters from their districts. Other voices have an impact, like lobbyists who represent their constituents, but potential voters count most. Of course, Dr. Cascino is registered to vote only in one state, but no one ever asks that question. So for lobbying on Capitol Hill, Dr. Cascino counts twice!

Our visit to the Hill stuck to the Senate side, where we had great conversations about issues impacting neurology practices with Finance Committee member Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV), and staff from Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and neurology champion Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN). Dr. Cascino also joined me for a breakfast with Finance Committee Chair Orrin Hatch (R-UT), by virtue of a contribution from the AAN's political action committee BrainPAC.

Advocating for Fair Reimbursement
By Daniel Spirn, Regulatory Counsel

On September 15, the AAN met with leadership at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), including Sean Cavanaugh, CMS' deputy administrator and director of the Center for Medicare. During our meeting, we stressed the importance of evaluation and management services to neurologists and the need for CMS to correctly value these services. We also thanked CMS for its inclusion of advanced care planning codes in the proposed Medicare Physician Fee Schedule. The session included a constructive dialogue with the agency on alternative payment models and upcoming quality regulations related to the Medicare and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA). Mr. Cavanaugh was receptive to our feedback and encouraged the Academy to continue our talks with the agency. We plan to hold more meetings with CMS in the coming year as the Academy strives to develop a more proactive relationship with federal regulators.

Download Your QRUR, See How You Performed
On September 9, 2015, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released the 2014 Quality and Resource Use Reports (QRURs) and 2014 Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) Feedback Reports. Now is the time for you to access and download your report!

The QRUR report shows how groups and solo practitioners performed in 2014 on the quality and cost measures used to calculate the 2016 Value Modifier. For groups with 10 or more EPs that are subject to the 2016 Value Modifier, the QRUR shows how the Value Modifier will apply to physician payments under the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) for physicians who bill under the group's Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) in 2016. For all other groups and solo practitioners, the QRUR is for informational purposes only and will not affect their payments under the Medicare PFS in 2016.

It is important to know that CMS established a 60-day Informal Review Period that begins after the release of the 2014 Annual QRURs. You may request a correction of a perceived error in your 2016 Value Modifier calculation. This applies to groups with 10 or more EPs that are subject to the 2016 Value Modifier. The informal review period for the 2016 Value Modifier is open until November 9, 2015. You can learn more about requesting an informal review here. The AAN also offers resources on our website to help you learn more about Medicare's value-based payment modifier.

AAN to HHS: Pause Stage 3 of EHR MU
The AAN joined numerous medical societies in a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell calling upon the administration to pause Stage 3 of the electronic health records Meaningful Use program and reevaluate the program due to changes upcoming as a result of the Medicare and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA). The letter stresses the physician community's willingness to work with the administration on the implementation of MACRA. However, at this time, moving forward with Meaningful Use Stage 3 would severely undermine the ability of the health system to support the implementation of this legislation.  

State Neurosociety Meetings
Below are upcoming state neurosociety meetings. Contact Grant Niver, Program Manager, State Society Relations, with any questions.


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