California association of neurological surgeons

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Advocating for the practice of neurosurgery in California to benefit our patients and profession

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A Message From
CANS President

June 30, 2021

Well, it appears to be official. The whole California county Covid 19 colored tier system with its associated graduated regulations for holding public events (regulations that were only put in place recently on April 16th), appears to have officially, suddenly, and completely collapsed and disappeared from the Governor’s Office website June 15th with the opening of the state from the pandemic. Hotel meeting venues have quickly reacted and are now negotiating contracts and planning events as if we will be back to business as usual with no restrictions in January 2022. We certainly hope that Covid does not turn out to be seasonal, and that we have enough vaccination population penetration to avoid another November/December surge that might bring restrictions back in some form at the last minute.

Good news is that the Neurosurgical Society of America (NSA) became the first neurosurgery professional society to hold an in-person, un-restricted, meeting since the pandemic in Stateline, Nevada from June 20-23. From all second-hand reports, the meeting came off without a hitch. The AANS/CNS Spine Section will be next with their in person, meeting in San Diego, July 28-31. This will be the first neurosurgery professional society to hold an in-person, un-restricted, meeting in California and we will be monitoring their experience very closely.

At this point I think it is safe to say that CANS will indeed hold a face-to-face meeting January 15-16, 2022 over Martin Luther King, Jr birthday weekend in either south Orange County or San Diego County. This will be our first in-person meeting in two years and promises to be a great opportunity to see friends again, renew old acquaintances, network, and catch up on the latest developments in surgical devises and supplies with our valued cooperate vendor/sponsor colleagues. At this point our venue short list has been reduced from four to three, and each venue has been re-toured with an eye toward a main “no restrictions” space plan as well as a back-up social distancing plan. In addition, most of our requests for contract modifications to allow for unexpected recurrent surge contingencies have been met and we are now in the process of reviewing the written contracts with an eye towards signing one in the very near future.

 

Stay tuned for the announcement of the final venue choice in the July CANS newsletter. Please be sure to reserve January 15-16,2022 over Martin Luther King Jr birthday weekend right now on your calendar for our meeting.

In terms of healthcare news on the national front, this month by a 7-2 vote, the Supreme Court denied a challenge by 18 states to throw out the Affordable Care Act due to the elimination of the penalty portion which was the crux of the court’s prior sustainment of the act as a legal form of congressional federal tax.

The ruling did not address the issue of whether the act still constituted a tax, but rather, denied the suit on the basis that the plaintiffs did not define any injury resulting from the act. This is the third Supreme Court challenge to the act that has failed, and the longer it survives (11 years now), the greater the likelihood that it will continue to survive by default as it becomes more and more established as a familiar standing piece of our national healthcare fabric.

Among several important policy actions arising from the recent June AMA Special Meeting (link), one of the most significant focused on the observation that while the use of telehealth exploded during the COVID-19 pandemic, critical issues related to health inequity, separate individual state medical licensure requirements, regulation and payment must be addressed for this mode of care to continue to flourish beyond the public health emergency.

The AMA is working to try and ensure that these critical issues are addressed and potentially resolved in order to allow telehealth to continue, cross state lines, and be reimbursed after the pandemic is over. Whether this will succeed or not, remains to be seen.

On the California state front, the legislature is currently considering a proposal to create an Office of Health Care Affordability (OHCA) under the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development. This proposal includes major policy changes and has far reaching implications for the health care delivery system. As currently drafted, the proposal will create enormous bureaucratic complexities within the health care delivery system and is overly burdensome on physician practices. The California Medical Association is working to appose this proposal, but needs all the help and support they can get.

In our April newsletter we alerted you to the California Assembly Bill AB 615, [Higher education Employer – employee relations act: procedures relating to employee termination or discipline] introduced February 12, 2021 by Assembly Member Rodriguez. As of the writing of this message, the bill has passed through its third reading in the Assembly on May 27th and on June 9th was referred to both the Committee on Labor and Employment as well as the Committee on Public Employment and Retirement, by the state Senate (https://openstates.org/ca/bills/20212022/AB615/ ). We will need to watch this bill closely as it will have potential significant effects on our California neurosurgery residency training programs.

The CANS Board will be holding our next Board meeting either the first or second weekend in August. The meeting must be early this year because the CSNS will be holding its Fall 2021 meeting prior to the AANS meeting in Orlando, Florida. The CSNS resolutions need to be considered by the CANS Board prior to the CSNS meeting.

Please let me know if there are any topics or issues that CANS members wish to be brought up or considered at our next meeting.

Please continue to stay safe everyone. Please consider getting involved. We are always in need of concerned, aware, and engaged neurosurgeons. Please do not hesitate to let me know if you would like to get more involved with CANS at mlinskey@hs.uci.edu. Even if you cannot dedicate your own time and effort, please consider financially supporting CANS, the national Neurosurgery Political Action Committee (Neurosurgery PAC (https://www.aans.org/en/Advocacy/NeurosurgeryPAC), and the CMA Political Action Committee (CalPAC – https://www.cmadocs.org/calpac/donate ). Please do whatever you can to support CANS, the NeurosurgeryPAC and the CMA, they are fighting for you.

 

All the best!

Mark Linskey, MD

CANS President

Mark you Calendars

CANS
Annual Meeting

Venue TBD

January 15-16, 2021

Be the Change

Our work

Since 1973, CANS has advocated for neurosurgeons and our patients in all practice settings in California on a state and national level. 

Engagement

We directly engage with state and national political leaders via CSNS, AANS/CNS Washington Committee, and Neurosurgery PAC.

Advocacy

We survey neurosurgery ER coverage data in California to ensure fair reimbursement and continue work to defend MICRA.

Representation

We send delegates to the California Medical Association. We participate in reimbursement advisory committees for both Medicare and private payors.

Help CANS continue to advocate for you and your patients