2014 AANS Annual Report - page 42

Medical Liability Reform
As the specialty facing the highest premiums, most lawsuits and largest average indemnity payments, the
AANS recognizes the need for improving the medical liability climate for neurosurgeons. While federal
medical liability reform legislation remains elusive, the Washington Committee continues to lead efforts
to pass reform. Serving as vice-chair of the Health Coalition on Liability and Access, and in collaboration
with the trauma community and others, Washington Office staff have worked to secure the introduction of
several important liability reform bills. The “Health Care Safety Net Enhancement Act” (H.R. 36/S. 961)
would provide crucial medical liability protections to neurosurgeons providing EMTALA-related care. The
“Standard of Care Protection” (H.R. 4750/S. 1769) would clarify that any care standards and practice
guidelines derived from the Affordable Care Act, Medicare or other federal programs — including PQRS,
EHR and other quality incentive programs — cannot be used to create new causes of actions against
physicians. Due to the advocacy efforts of the Washington Committee, this legislation was also included in
the “SGR Repeal and Medicare Payment Modernization Act.” The “Saving Lives, Savings Cost Act” (H.R.
4106) would provide certain protections for physicians following clinical practice guidelines. Finally, the
“Good Samaritan Health Professionals Act,” (H.R. 1733/S. 2196), which previously passed the House of
Representatives in 2012, was reintroduced and is gaining momentum.
Graduate Medical Education
An appropriate supply of well-educated and trained physicians is an essential element to ensure access to
quality healthcare services for all Americans. Through the continued advocacy of organized neurosurgery,
policymakers are beginning to understand that there are significant shortages of physicians in both
primary and specialty care. Working with the Association of
American Medical Colleges (AAMC), the Alliance of Specialty
Medicine and others, the AANS, through the Washington
Committee, successfully advocated for the introduction
of legislation to provide additional Medicare funding for
graduate medical education (GME). The “Resident Physician
Shortage Reduction Act (H.R. 180/S. 577) and the “Training
Tomorrow’s Doctors Today Act” (H.R. 1201), would increase
the number of Medicare supported residency positions by
3,000 each year for the next five years. These bills continue to
pick-up momentum.
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