Capitol Hill Report: 'Concussion Bubbles' and Connecting with Congress


AAN Advocate Pops 'Concussion Bubbles'
By Mike Amery, Esq., Senior Legislative Counsel, Federal Affairs

AAN members continue to lead in educating the American public about sports concussion and the need for appropriate recovery. The latest example surrounds the comments by Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, who claimed that the sports drink he endorses helps protect him from concussion. Apparently, because the brain is 75-80 percent water, the “charge-stabilized nanobubbles” in Reliant Recovery Water “helped prevent” a concussion.  

Fortunately, AAN member Javier Cardenas, MD, who is medical director of the Barrow Concussion and Brain Injury Center in Arizona, has stepped in to contradict the statements. Cardenas perfected many of his advocacy skills as a graduate of the AAN's Palatucci Advocacy Leadership Forum. Applications for the 2016 Palatucci Forum open October 5. 

Be sure to check out the AAN's trusted sports concussion resources.

AAN Members Host Congressional Visits, Talk Neurology
By Tim Miller, Senior Program Manager, State Affairs & Grassroots

Some AAN members hosted a member of Congress at their practices this week:

  • David A. Evans, MBA, with Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) at Texas Neurology in Dallas.
  • Noah Rosen, MD, with Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY) at the North Shore LIJ Medical Group in Great Neck, NY.
  • AAN Board Member Thomas R. Vidic, MD, FAAN, with Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN) at the Elkhart Clinic in Elkhart, IN.
  • Steven J. Holtz, MD, FAAN, with Rep. Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA) at the Neurology Group of Diablo Valley in Pleasant Hill, CA.
  • The AAN also recently hosted an event for Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI) at its headquarters in Minneapolis.

This is the third year the AAN has worked with members to help arrange personal visits with their elected officials on Capitol Hill. We  share a big 'thank you' to those who are able to host a site visit, as this is yet another tool that helps the AAN educate Congress about the importance of neurology while giving them a firsthand view of how patients within their district are treated and diagnosed. View the AAN Facebook album on congressional site visits to see photos of your colleagues and their members of Congress.

Congress Returns from Summer Break
By Mike Amery, Esq., Senior Legislative Counsel, Federal Affairs

As members of the House and Senate return to Washington this week after summer recess in their states and districts, many critical issues are set to be discussed this fall. Fortunately, SGR is not one of them

For the last decade, when medical specialties sat down with members of Congress to discuss issues, a significant portion of the time would be devoted to the flawed SGR. Now, each group, including the AAN, is pitching new, often specialty-specific ideas on how to make the government work better for providers and patients. It's a true relief.

Issues on the table include the 21st Century Cures Act passed by the House, which would greatly increase NIH funding and provide a number of proposals to speed up the creation of medical cures. Another is the Senate Finance Committee's Chronic Care Work Group, which is formulating a proposal to improve health care for the chronically ill. Earlier this year, the workgroup requested ideas from stakeholders, which generated more than 500 comments, including one from the AAN

Beyond influencing these larger bills, the AAN also is focusing on a number of neurology-specific issues, including the FAST Act (S. 1465/H.R. 2799) which would expand Medicare reimbursements for telestroke consultations to include urban and suburban areas; and the passage of the Advancing Research for Neurological Diseases Act of 2015 (S. 849/H.R. 292), which would track cases of Parkinson's and MS cases, among other neuro diseases, to improve research in these areas.

These issues will compete for attention with debate on the annual federal spending bills, which expire on October 1. A lot of effort will be directed to avoiding a full or partial shutdown of the government, and the increasing controversy over funding for Planned Parenthood is sure to add fuel to this fire. But our hope is that calmer heads will prevail quickly so time will remain for issues that everyone can agree benefit those in need of physicians, especially neurologists.



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