Are you a spine care patient who has experienced difficulties accessing the treatments you require?
The National Association of Spine Specialists supports state and federal health care policies that provide our patients with access to the specialists and technologies they require for the treatment of spine disorders. The Association has developed a Legislative Action Center so that our members and their patients can obtain information on the latest legislative and regulatory proposals with the potential to affect your access to quality spine care and communicate with those that represent you in Washington and your state capitol. Access the NASS Legislative Action Center here.
Issues affecting your ability to receive timely, cost-effective access to quality spine care providers:
Patient Safety Initiatives aimed at decreasing medical errors and improving health care quality would lower costs for the entire health care system and provide patients with better access to quality spine care. Patient safety initiatives must be implemented using physician-derived measures and include a system of voluntary, confidential reporting; evaluation of patient safety data is also a key component of any successful program intended to improve patient safety.
Medicare Reimbursements remain unstable and as Congress continues to put a long-term fix to the physician reimbursement system on hold, physicians are finding it increasingly difficult to operate their practice and provide health care services to Medicare beneficiaries. Medicare reimbursements for physicians remain at 2001 levels and without Congressional action by June, physicians are expecting an additional 26% reduction over the next 18-months.
Medical Liability premiums in states that have failed to offer reforms continue to sky-rocket. It is not uncommon for a spine specialist in these states to incur premiums in excess of $250,000 per year. States with hostile medical liability climates experience severe access issues, with many of the states’ specialists moving to areas of the country with more favorable medical liability laws, and in return lower premiums. In the absence of federal medial liability reforms, many states have enacted legislation that caps non-economic damages and provides alternative reforms that lower the cost of premiums for physicians. In general, these reforms have been overwhelmingly successful.
Additionally, the Association supports measures to implement health information technology and quality reporting initiatives when appropriate and fair financial incentives are provided to participating physicians. The Association believes that investment in these areas will lower costs and increase patients’ access to quality spine care professionals.
Tell your representatives in Washington, D.C. and the state house that you support sound health care policy! If you are interested in helping us advocate on behalf of spine care patients visit the NASS Legislative Action Center.