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ADVOCACY UPDATE: ACCESS TO CRITICAL DIAGNOSTIC TESTS THREATENED! 

January 24, 2013

Stand Up For Neuropathy

On January 1, 2013, the drastic cuts to nerve conduction (NCSs) and electromyography (EMGs) studies proposed by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) late last year went into effect despite the efforts of The Neuropathy Association, the medical professional societies representing neurology and neuromuscular specialists, major U.S. medical centers, and other neurological patient groups to address and mitigate these cuts. The Association joined a coalition of patient and provider groups to voice concern about the cuts and submitted a letter from the U.S. House objecting to the cuts that was signed by more than 40 members of Congress as well as a similar bipartisan letter from the U.S. Senate.

As a community, we now face the impact of these cuts; not only do they reduce access to critical diagnostics tests for patients with neuromuscular diseases like neuropathy—thus delaying diagnoses for a community that already struggles with mis-diagnoses and under-diagnoses—but they will also negatively impact access to neuropathy treatments, clinical research trials, and research breakthroughs. CMS has requested information on patient access to care problems caused by these cuts on a quarterly basis.

In the interim, we encourage you to provide CMS with feedback on any access issues you might encounter by visiting www.medicare.gov/medicarecomplaintform/home.aspx. Be sure to also indicate the following in the complaint box: 

“Due to recent cuts in reimbursement for muscle and nerve diagnostic procedures, my provider is [insert nature of complaint i.e. limiting access to perform these procedures, not taking new Medicare patients, etc.]. As a result I [insert the result i.e. have to wait for an appointment for X months, have to travel X distance to find another doctor, have lost work time, remain undiagnosed and untreated, etc.]”

We hope we can count on you—patients, caregivers, health care providers, researchers, policy makers, and industry representatives—to share with us and with your legislators how these cuts are affecting you when we reach out to you in the coming weeks.

 

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