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Advocacy Action Alert: Ask Congress to Sign Letter on EMG/Nerve Conduction Study Cuts
 December 6th, 2012

A clear and present danger for our community is upon us NOW: take immediate action before December 14th! We need your participation in this top priority advocacy campaign to assure that you and all neuropathy patients—as well as patients with other neuromuscular diseases—have continued and timely access to proper diagnosis and care.

THE ISSUE:

A few days ago, we told you the 2013 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently announced that reimbursement payments to physicians for needle electromyography (EMG) tests and nerve conduction studies (NCSs) will be severely reduced by 30%-70% beginning on January 1, 2013.

“If these testing procedures
will not be reimbursed by
Medicare or cut, doctors
will not have the tools they
need to diagnosis
neurological diseases.  IT
IS IMPERATIVE THAT
CONGRESS KNOWS HOW
IMPORTANT THESE TEST
ARE...........PLEASE ALERT
ALL THAT SUFFER FROM
NEUROLOGICAL ILLNESES,
LIKE MYSELF, TO CONTACT
THEIR CONGRESSIONAL
REPS FOR THEIR
AREA.................IF THIS GOES
AWAY, ONE OF THE MOST
IMPORTANT TOOLS FOR
DIAGNOSIS WILL BE GONE!!  
THIS IS HOW I WAS
DIAGNOSED 13 YEARS AGO
WITH IDOPATHIC NEUROPATHY!”
-  A patient’s request sent to The
Neuropathy Association’s
information line

TAKE ACTION TODAY: 
- Click here to contact your
representatives on Capitol Hill


- Click here to submit a letter
to CMS

EMG and NCSs are the primary diagnostic tools for peripheral neuropathy as well as other neuromuscular diseases like ALS, MS, and Parkinson’s. Implementing these cuts will deny millions—including our neuropathy community—access to proper diagnosis and care.

This CMS announcement left physicians with only 60 days to prepare for cuts of more than 50%, and no opportunity to provide official comment in advance of the final rule. As a result, The Neuropathy Association is hearing from many physicians that if the proposed cuts are enacted, they will no longer be able to afford to practice neuromuscular medicine…and many currently in practice will be forced stop seeing Medicare patients!

This is a crisis unlike any we have ever known before…and is a potential game changer for ALL patients and medical professionals within the neuropathy community. Early diagnoses will be reduced and misdiagnoses will increase. Patient access and care will suffer, exacerbating the challenges already facing neuropathy patients.

A 2010 poll by The Neuropathy Association showed that patients already face significant delays in diagnosis, during which irreparable nerve damage continues:

Neuropathy Diagnosis 2012

TWO WAYS YOU CAN TAKE ACTION:

FIRST, contact your members of Congress to ask them to add their names to a “Dear Colleague” letter that is being circulated by Representative Peter Roskam (R-IL) to members of Congress and by Senator C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD) to members of Congress.….click here to find an on-line form letter for you to use: we encourage you to personalize the letter by sharing your own neuropathy story in the space permitted. Your letters must be received by December 14th. This “Dear Colleague” letter will be sent to CMS to express concern about these cuts and the limited notice give to the medical community. To maximize the impact of this letter, we need as many members of Congress to sign on as possible.

SECOND, submit a separate individual letter to CMS to echo the concerns of how these proposed cuts would negatively impact our neuropathy community. To do so, please follow the steps below to submit official comments. Public comments are due December 31 by 5:00 p.m. ET. Note that submissions will be posted publicly. To share your comments with CMS:

1. Enter your contact information and paste (or upload) your comments at: http://www.regulations.gov/#!submitComment;D=CMS_FRDOC_0001–1076

2. Refer to file code CMS–1590–FC in your comments

3. Include specific examples of actions that may happen (e.g., layoffs, cutbacks, patient selection) when these cuts take effect

4. Discuss how these changes will affect patient care

5. Ask CMS to work with The Neuropathy Association and medical professional stakeholders to work together to find a solution to this drastic action

6. Hit “submit” at the bottom right–hand corner of the page

7. Send a copy of your comments to info@neuropathy.org

8. Encourage others (patients, healthcare professionals, colleagues, family members, and friends) to do the same!

Through the efforts of our community and The Neuropathy Association, we have only in recent years begun to make advances in the diagnosis and care of neuropathy patients: enacting these cuts potentially sends our community back to the “Stone Ages." Don’t risk letting that happen—take action today! And while these cuts immediately impact Medicare patients, keep in mind that other insurers follow Medicare’s lead...so, even if you are not on Medicare, this change has the potential to impact everyone in the neuropathy community.

The Neuropathy Association is working with medical professional societies, major U.S. medical centers, and other neurological patient groups to address this danger for all of us. Everyone’s voice is needed to speak out on this issue, and yours is urgently needed TODAY. Thank you for helping us speak out on this critical issue impacting our community! 

 

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