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Regulatory Relief

Faced with an ever-growing morass of regulations with

which neurosurgeons must comply, the AANS, through the

Washington Committee and Washington Office, has been

working with Congress and regulators to reduce the burdens

associated with practicing medicine. To this end, the

passage of MACRA was a meaningful step forward in the

consolidation of Medicare’s quality improvement programs.

MACRA replaces the SGR with a new streamlined value-

based incentive payment system, the Merit-based Incentive

Payment System. Known as MIPS, the new program

consolidates the three existing Medicare incentive programs

and allows physicians to opt-out of the fee-for-service

system in favor of participating in alternative payment

models (APMs), such as accountable care organizations,

payment bundles and other similar arrangements.

Until such times as the new MIPS program is implemented,

the AANS continues to press Congress and CMS

to minimize the burdens from Medicare’s quality-

related programs, particularly the EHR meaningful use

requirements. On that front, due in part to AANS advocacy

efforts, Congress is considering several bills. The “Flexibility

in Health IT Reporting (Flex-IT) Act” (H.R. 270) would

permit the use of a three-month quarter EHR reporting

period to demonstrate meaningful use without regard to

the payment year or the stage of meaningful use criteria

involved. Another bill, the “Further Flexibility in HIT

Reporting and Advancing Interoperability (Flex-IT 2)

Act,” (H.R. 3309) would delay implementation of stage 3 of

meaningful use until at least 2017, harmonize the reporting

requirements across Medicare’s quality programs and would

institute a 90-day, rather than one year, reporting period.

Similar efforts are underway in the Senate.

Top to Bottom:

Daniel M. Sciubba, MD, FAANS, meets with Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) during the Alliance of Specialty

Medicine’s 2015 Legislative Advocacy Conference in Washington, D.C.

AANS/CNS Washington Committee chair, John A. Wilson, MD, FAANS, (pictured on the left) leads of group

of physicians at a meeting on Capitol Hill with Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.).

AANS/CNS Washington Office staff member, Cynthia M. Spriggs, mans the NeurosurgeryPAC booth during

the 83rd AANS Annual Scientific Meeting held in Washington, D.C.