2014 AANS Annual Report - page 9

Further noting how this phenomenon affects physicians, Lanier delved into an explanation of how insurance
companies, hospital chains and pharmaceutical companies all are playing a part in information collection
as well, which, he stresses, has become the dominant dynamic for the allocation of power, money and
influence. Therefore, Lanier continued, “Physicians’ status, prospects and autonomy start to be governed
by the big data systems run by pharmaceutical companies and hospital chains that are analyzing their
behavior. It’s a losing game for the future of medicine, for the future of all human activity; we have to
rescind the economics around the people who actually do the work.”
Neurosurgical Advocacy and Scientific Research at the Forefront
On Monday, April 7, John A. Wilson, MD, FAANS, chair of the Washington Committee, gave a brief
update on some neurosurgery advocacy efforts. One issue in particular that has taken the forefront of
the Washington Committee’s efforts over the past year is Medicare Physician Reimbursement under
the Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR). Wilson discussed the tremendous amount of work that
has been done to create a bill that would replace the SGR with a sustainable formula for physician
reimbursement. However, the leadership in Congress instead came up with a short-term patch to prevent
the 24-percent pay cut through March 31, 2015. Additionally, the patch resulted in delaying the ICD-10-CM
implementation until at least Oct. 1, 2015, as well as the delay of the “two-midnight” rule, which extends
the “probe and educate” program through the first six months of 2015. Wilson stressed the need for
continued efforts, urging attendees to talk to their state legislators and show their support by volunteering
and by contributing to the NeurosurgeryPAC.
In addition to health-care updates from the legislative perspective, attendees also heard about a variety of
exciting neurosurgical research studies. One, presented by Gary K. Steinberg, MD, PhD, FAANS, discussed
a clinical study that utilized intraparenchymal transplantation of human bone marrow stem cells (in
patients with ischemic stroke in the subcortical region of MCA or lenticuloistriates with or without cortical
involvement) in order to help improve neurological function. Steinberg provided two notable case examples.
Although a larger, Phase 2 study is needed, Steinberg noted that the neurologic improvements of the
patients involved in the initial study were still present six months following transplant, with some patients
sustaining improvements up to two years.
Continuing in the vein of scientific research, on Tuesday, April 8, Jeffrey M. Sorenson, MD, FAANS,
presented an overview of The Rhoton Collection, AANS’ new online repository of the teaching materials of
Albert L. Rhoton Jr., MD, FAANS(L), that illustrate anatomy — and that represent more than 40 years of
work by more than 100 neurosurgical fellows. Rhoton himself was not able to attend the meeting in San
Francisco, but stated via video, “I’m so completely appreciative of the beautiful, digital platform that the
AANS has developed. Over the years, we’ve had more than 100 fellows that have joined us for this training.
Our goal in this is to make all of them Michelangelos of microsurgical anatomy and create some of the most
exceptional, precise surgical artwork.” There are now thousands of drawings, videos and operative cases
available in the online collection, with the remainder of Rhoton’s images to be added over the coming year.
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