The American Association of Neurological Surgeons and the Congress of Neurological Surgeons made significant strides in accomplishing their 2022 legislative and regulatory agenda, thus ensuring that neurosurgical patients continue to have timely access to quality care.
PROTECT PATIENTS’ TIMELY ACCESS TO CARE
Bipartisan legislation to streamline prior authorization in the Medicare Advantage program—the Improving Seniors’ Timely Access to Care Act (S. 3018 / H.R. 3173)—garnered overwhelming support from 380 members of Congress. The House of Representatives unanimously passed the bill, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued proposed rules that mirror the provisions in this legislation. Compliance with Medicare’s appropriate use criteria program for advanced diagnostic imaging was delayed indefinitely.
FIX THE BROKEN MEDICAL LIABILITY SYSTEM
Legislation based on proven reforms that are in place in California and Texas—the Accessible Care by Curbing Excessive LawSuitS (ACCESS) Act (H.R. 9584)—was introduced. Additional liability protection for volunteers—the Good Samaritan Health Professionals Act (S. 2941 / H.R. 5239)—and legislation to protect providers from COVID-19-related lawsuits—the Coronavirus Provider Protection Act (H.R. 3021)—was considered.
IMPROVE THE HEALTH CARE DELIVERY SYSTEM
The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023 (P.L. 117-328) extended funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for two years through fiscal year 2029. Medicaid and CHIP will now offer 12 months of continuous coverage for children to ensure that the 40 million children on Medicaid and CHIP have uninterrupted access to health care throughout the year.
ALLEVIATE THE BURDENS OF ELECTRONIC HEALTH RECORDS
CMS took multiple steps to improve interoperability and reduce burdens associated with data sharing. To improve mental health among health care professionals, the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act was signed into law (P.L. 117-105)
SUPPORT QUALITY RESIDENT TRAINING AND EDUCATION
Recognizing the need to ensure the availability of well-educated and trained physicians, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023 funded 200 additional Medicare-supported graduate medical education (GME) positions and increased funding for the Children’s Hospital GME. Additionally, legislation to add 14,000 Medicare-funded residency training positions and defer medical student loan interest during residency—the Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act (S. 834 / H.R 2256) and the Resident Education Deferred Interest Act (S. 3658 / H.R. 4122), respectively—achieved strong bipartisan support.
AANS/Advocacy News | December, 2022