We’re Working to Reduce Your Burdens

October 6, 2014

By Mike Amery, Esq, Legislative Counsel

AAN Endorses Bills to Reduce Burden of Meaningful Use, E/M Documentation 
Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC) and Rep. Raul Ruiz, MD, (D-CA) are two rising stars as leaders on health care issues in Congress. Ellmers, a nurse elected in 2010, and Ruiz, an emergency physician elected in 2012, have put aside their professional health careers to take seats in Congress.

The AAN has developed strong relationships with both of their offices and we recently signed on as supporters of two pieces of federal legislation they have authored designed to reduce administrative burdens placed on physician practices.

The first is HR 5481, the Flexibility in Health IT Reporting (Flex-IT) Act by Rep. Ellmers. This bill would adjust the Meaningful Use program reporting timeline to give providers the option to choose any three-month quarter for EHR reporting in 2015 rather than a full 365-day attestation. This is critical because few eligible health care professionals have demonstrated the ability to meet Meaningful Use Stage 2 requirements as they currently stand. The bill would give neurologists and other providers more time to meet Stage 2 requirements in an effective and safe manner. 

The second bill, HR 5458, is the Building a Health Care Workforce for the Future Act by Rep. Ruiz, MD. This bill aims to address Medicare's extensive documentation requirements for physicians providing evaluation and management (E/M) services. These requirements impose a substantial administrative burden, potentially detracting from patient care. Commissioning an Institute of Medicine study on this issue will provide crucial guidance to the health care community and will aid in streamlining E/M documentation requirements for a world dominated by electronic medical records.

I talked last week with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) about the length and substance of a lame duck session following the November election. The dates aren't set, but McCarthy made it clear that Congress was likely to only consider “must-pass” types of legislation like the tax provision set to expire. This means that bills like those authored by Ellmers and Ruiz will have to wait for the 114th Congress, but we will be ready to support these and other critical initiatives when they are reintroduced hopefully early next year.

When in Vegas, Consider the Leadership in Neurology Fall Conference Course
By Melissa Showers, Senior Manager, Advocacy Development

Do you plan to attend the AAN's Fall Conference in Las Vegas? While you're there, take advantage of this free advocacy training!

Leadership in Neurology: Be a Champion for Your Patients and Protector of Your Specialty with Payers, Policymakers, and the Public

Evolution of the practice landscape requires neurologists to learn new skills to take advantage of the opportunities that accompany health system reform. This hands-on course will underscore the importance for neurologists to become active leaders for their patients and profession.

Upon completion of this program, you will be able to act as leaders, advancing changes that benefit neurology patients and the profession. You will learn about resources inside and outside of the Academy to help with these goals, understand the importance of forming lasting relationships with policy makers, learn how and when to utilize local media outlets, and understand how to effectively develop key messages for media interviews. For more information, contact Melissa Showers.

Confused About Quality and Resource Use Reports? We Can Help!
By Katie Shepard, Associate Director, Medical Economics

Neurologists are now able to access their 2013 CMS Quality and Resource Use Reports (QRUR). The QRURs show quality and cost performance data for 2013, the performance period for the Value-based Payment Modifier (VBPM) that will be applied to physician payments for items and services furnished under the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule. These reports are for groups of 100 or eligible professionals in 2015.

If you are confused about these reports or need more information, the AAN has produced a series of four short videos narrated by Gregory J. Esper, MD, MBA, vice-chair of the AAN Medical Economics and Management Committee, that explain the VBPM and QRURs.

Open Payments Data Released to the Public
By Daneen Grooms, MHSA, Regulatory Affairs Manager

On September 30, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) launched the Open Payments System online database. Now, the public can review the payments physicians and teaching hospitals receive from drug and medical device manufacturers. According to CMS, physicians and teaching hospitals received $3.5 billion between August 2013 and December 2013.

You should review the Open Payments database to see what was reported about you. If you find that there are data inaccuracies, you must contact the drug and medical device manufacturer directly as CMS will not get involved in these disputes. The AAN, however, wants to hear from our members. Please contact us to share your experience or concerns with your data in the Open Payments database. Also, if you have not registered to review your data in Open Payments, you have until December 31. We urge you to do this so that you will be able to flag and correct any errors before the next data release in 2015.

The American Medical Association has provided some customizable talking points for physicians to use in responding to inquires about the Open Payments data that we encourage you to review.


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