Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Headache Action Alert: Write Your Senators to Support Headache Specialists


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Did you receive the Alliance for Headache Disorders Advocacy Action Alert? If not, here is the text of the message. Whether you received it or not, please take a moment to send the message to your Senators using the link below and send anyone you know who cares about these issues a link to this post.

Dear AHDA advocates:

The AHDA is dedicated to improving the welfare of individuals suffering from headache disorders. Our near-term goals have focused on increasing NIH funding for headache disorders to lead to improved therapies. However, the health care reform bill currently being debated in Congress has forced us to take action in a slightly different direction to protect access to quality medical care for patients with headache disorders.

The Senate Health Care Reform Bill contains a particular provision to provide bonus Medicare payments to doctors from certain primary care specialties. This is a very good idea. It is intended to incentivize and encourage doctors to enter and stay in primary care practice.

Physicians who specialize in headache medicine provide primary or principal care for patients with headache disorders and more than 90% of them are neurologists. Unfortunately, neurologists have been unaccountably left out of eligibility for these bonuses. If the Health Reform Bill passes with the incentive program as it is written, it will significantly undermine the ability to recruit and retain doctors to the field of headache medicine. Headache doctors are already very scarce, and it will become that much harder to find one.

What can we do? Fortunately, Sen Klobuchar of Minnesota, along with Sen Collins of Maine and Senator Brown of Ohio, have offered a bipartisan amendment to the Senate Health Care Reform Bill that would add neurologists to the Medicare incentive program. We, at the AHDA, have added our voice of support for this amendment to those of other national groups with interests in patients with neurological diseases, including the American Academy of Neurology, the ALS Association, the Parkinson's Action Network, the Epilepsy Foundation, the Brain Injury Association of America, the Alzheimer's Foundation of America, and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

We are asking you to contact your two Senators right now through our website to urge them to co-sponsor the Klobuchar amendment. Doing this is as easy as just a few mouse clicks. Please do it as soon as possible. Also, please forward this email and ask everyone that you know that cares about someone with a neurological disorder to do so now too. The Klobuchar amendment will be voted upon by the Senate any day now.

Write your Senators at this link: Alliance for Headache Disorders Advocacy Action Alert. The body of the letter is already composed for you, but I encourage you to personalize your message if you have time to try to personalize the issue for your Senators. Thank you for your support of these important advocacy efforts.

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DISCLAIMER: Nothing on this site constitutes medical or legal advice. I am a patient who is engaged and educated and enjoys sharing my experiences and news about migraines, pain and depression. Please consult your own health care providers for advice on your unique situation.