Capitol Hill Report

Read the Academy's bi-weekly update on legislative and regulatory advocacy for neurology. 

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Neurologists take over capitol hill, visit 298 Congressional offices

March 12, 2018

16th Annual Neurology on the Hill Is Best Yet

Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) with the North Carolina delegation

The AAN’s 16th annual Neurology on the Hill (NOH) concluded last week with some amazing success.

  • 211 member advocates
  • 90 first-time member advocates
  • 49 states and DC represented
  • 298 US congressional offices visited
    • 200 House offices
    • 98 Senate offices
  • 3 million impressions on Twitter with the hashtag #NOH18

View photos of the event.

Whether you are an AAN member in private practice, academics, or something in between, there was an issue for you. As reported in the last edition of Capitol Hill Report, AAN advocates discussed:

  • Regulatory Burdens: NOH attendees shared their stories of insurers putting paperwork and process over patient care. Advocates encouraged offices to support the Standardizing Electronic Prior Authorization for Safe Prescribing Act of 2018 (H.R. 4841), which encourages greater adoption and use of electronic prior authorization in Medicare Part D.
  • Prescription Drug Pricing: Advocates shared stories about the impact c of high prescription drug costs and the need for better price transparency. They specifically asked for support of the Fair Accountability and Innovative Research (FAIR) Drug Pricing Act of 2017 (S. 1131/H.R. 2439), which would require drug manufacturers to provide justification to the US Department of Health and Human Services if they plan to increase the cost of a drug by more than 10 percent in one year or 25 percent over three years.
  • Research on Pain and Neurologic Disease: The AAN is known in DC for its strong support of medical research benefiting patients. This year’s NOH continued AAN advocacy for NIH funding with two requests:
    • Continued support for the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative. Commitment to neuroscience research received a significant boost in 2013 through the launch of the BRAIN Initiative, which has grown each year since its foundation, including $260 million in 2017 alone. The AAN asked for continued robust funding for 2018 and 2019.
    • Support for the Opioids and STOP Pain Initiative Act (S. 2260/H.R. 4733), which provides $5 billion over five years to expand, intensify, and coordinate NIH research with respect to opioid abuse, the understanding of pain, and the discovery and development of safer and more effective pain treatments.

The results are already rolling in with increased cosponsorships from members of Congress on these pieces of legislation. Look for future Capitol Hill Reports to track the progress.

If you didn’t get to attend #NOH18, think about applying for next year’s event when the application opens in the fall.

BRAIN Initiative Briefing and Dear Colleague Letter

Last week, the House Neuroscience Caucus led by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) invited the AAN, along with the American Brain Coalition and the Society for Neuroscience, to host a congressional briefing titled “Launching into the Next Phase of the NIH BRAIN Initiative.” Congressional briefings provide updates and information regarding current legislative issues. 

  • AAN President Ralph Sacco, MD, FAAN, welcomed 80 attendees made up of mostly congressional staff.
  • The event featured National Institutes of Health Directors Walter J. Koroshetz, MD, FAAN, of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) and Joshua Gordon, MD, PhD, of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) to provide an update on BRAIN Initiative progress which has significant bipartisan support on Capitol Hill.

Reps. Blumenauer and McMorris Rodgers, along with Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) and Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY), followed up the AAN’s efforts at the briefing and at NOH with a congressional Dear Colleague letter requesting support for increased funding for the BRAIN Initiative from the House Appropriations Committee. A Dear Colleague letter is an important tool inviting fellow members of Congress to support issues and legislation prior to it being sent to the leaders of influential committees. We need all AAN members to encourage their House member to sign the letter. Please act now.

AAN Updates Medical Marijuana Position Statement

The original AAN Medical Marijuana Position Statement was drafted in 2014. Since that time, 30 states and the District of Columbia have passed legislation to support comprehensive medical marijuana programs. While states have made significant progress, federal law still prohibits the research and prescribing of marijuana. The updated position statement declares:

  • The AAN supports scientific research of medical marijuana, which includes rescheduling from a Schedule I to a Schedule II substance.
  • The AAN does not support the legalization or prescribing of medical marijuana.

Capitol Hill Report Archives