2012 AANS Annual Report - page 18

Through advocacy, policy development, political action and public
relations, the Washington Committee and Washington Office worked
around the clock in fiscal year 2012 to defend and protect the ability of
neurosurgeons to practice medicine freely — and to help ensure the
continued advancement of the specialty of neurological surgery. The
Washington Committee has played a fundamental role in a number
of health-policy developments, including repealing the Independent
Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), pushing for medical-liability reform,
advocating for adequate reimbursement, streamlining quality-
improvement initiatives, and ensuring the preeminence of quality
in neurosurgical education and training. Organized neurosurgery
continues to be at the forefront of health-policy debates, and
constantly makes it clear to policymakers in the nation’s capital that
we are dedicated to advancing the specialty of neurological surgery
in order to promote the highest quality of patient care and create a
system that offers greater value tomorrow than it does today.
Reforming the Reform
Throughout the health-reform process — from early conceptual
dialogues to the Supreme Court ruling to the ongoing work of
implementation and modification — the Washington Committee and
Washington Office have served as a prominent voice in shaping key
legislative alternatives and repeal efforts relating to the Affordable
Care Act (ACA). The AANS and CNS strongly support improving our
nation’s health-care system, but firmly believe that the ACA goes far
beyond what is needed to fix what is currently broken. Rather than
enacting a carefully targeted set of reforms that would improve access
to affordable health insurance, the law fails to address significant
problems with the current system and represents an unnecessary
expansion of government into the practice of neurosurgery that will
ultimately adversely affect patient access to timely neurosurgical care.
The Washington Committee and Washington Office spent much of the
past year focusing on top-priority items — including abolishing the
IPAB, passing medical-liability reform, and rescinding the Physician
Quality Reporting System (PQRS) and Value-Based Payment Modifier
penalties — and has made significant progress towards accomplishing
these goals.
The Washington Office staff has continued to hold a leadership position
in the Health Coalition on Liability and Access (HCLA), and, in FY12,
the AANS and CNS helped launch a new coalition of physician groups
dedicated to repealing the IPAB. Neurosurgery’s leadership efforts
in these two coalitions facilitated passage of H.R. 5, “The Protecting
Access to Healthcare Act,” by the U.S. House of Representatives. This
bipartisan bill repeals the IPAB and adopts meaningful medical liability
reform modeled on the systems in place in California and Texas. During
the debate on the bill, several amendments were considered. Reps.
Charlie Dent (R-PA) and Pete Sessions (R-TX) offered an amendment
that addresses the crisis in access to emergency care by extending
liability coverage to on-call and emergency room physicians under the
Federal Tort Claims Act. In addition, Reps. Cliff Stearns (R-FL) and
Working for You in Washington
The mission of the AANS/CNS Washington Committee is to represent, develop and
promote organized neurosurgery’s positions on issues affecting the specialty.
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