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HOW TO BECOME AN ADVOCATE FOR NEUROLOGY

The AAN provides these and other opportunities for advocacy on a federal and state levels:

  • The Center for Health policy promotes state and federal advocacy initiatives – legislative, regulatory, coding, and reimbursement – as well as develops and disseminates clinical guidelines and practice management tools to benefit the practice of neurology and improve the lives of patients. The Legislative Affairs Committee develops policy statements and coordinates AAN advocacy efforts before Congress. The State Affairs program provides links to active state neurological society Web sites and provides reports (through the StateNet Legislation Tracking Report) on pending legislation related to neurology in each state.
  • The Office for Federal Affairs in Washington, DC, ensures that the interests of neurology are represented in Washington. The Office focuses on Medicare reimbursement and liability reform, among other national policy issues affecting neurology practice.
  • The Medical Economics and Management Subcommittee develops recommendations regarding the economics of clinical practice, reimbursement, and cost containment.
  • The Neurology Public Policy Fellowship, sponsored by the AAN along with the American Neurological Association and the Child Neurology Society, provides an opportunity to gain hands-on experience in federal policy and develop political relationships that promote neurological interests. Public policy fellows work, for up to year, in Washington DC – as members of Congressional staff or committees, or in the Executive Branch. Eligible participants may become involved in drafting legislation; working with constituents and lobbyists; participating in hearings and special policy sessions; and attending forums and meetings sponsored by federal agencies. The deadline for applying to the program is December 31.
  • The Donald M. Palatucci Advocacy Leadership Forum is a competitive program that convenes neurologists from the US and other countries for three days of training in media skills development and legislative advocacy. Participants are asked to develop advocacy “action plans” based on challenges in their particular area and practice; identify goals and target audiences; and target dates that relate to each goal. The next forum will be held January 4–7, 2007, in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.
  • Washington Wire is a weekly newsletter published by the Powers Syles Sutter & Verville, the AAN representative in Washington, DC, summarizing the latest health policy developments in Washington, as well as upcoming Congressional hearings and events.
  • AAN Online Advocacy Program enables members to contact members directly with their views on important issues. The AAN Web site link provides regular updates on current issues and Action Alerts, providing forms and letters that can go directly to the appropriate member of Congress.
  • Guidelines for Effective Advocacy tip sheets are available on how to become an effective advocate and how to best communicate key messages to legislators.

SEND US YOUR CHALLENGING CASES FOR CASE IN POINT

Have you encountered or observed a challenging or out-of-the-ordinary clinical case that required some extra detective work on your part? If so, we'd like to hear more about it for our feature, Case in Point. We're looking for a brief description of the clinical problem and the steps taken to solve the challenge; photos and illustrations are welcome. Send your cases for consideration for publication – in 300 words or less – including complete contact information to John Corboy, MD, john.corboyuchsc.edu.