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Joshua M. Rosenow and Katie O. Orrico

Object

Medicare reimbursement for physician services has been declining even as the number of Medicare enrollees has been increasing. The number of Medicare participants will only continue to grow as the American population ages and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act goes into effect. Efforts to increase reimbursement for physician services through Medicare are often met with data showing that most neurosurgeons continue to participate in the program despite these cutbacks. To better understand this dichotomy, practicing neurosurgeons were surveyed to gauge their response to cutbacks in the Medicare program beyond just their participation status.

Methods

An Internet-based survey invitation was emailed to 3469 practicing neurosurgeons. Reminder emails were sent at intervals over several weeks to help increase the response rate.

Results

Among respondents, an overwhelming percentage (96.8%) participated in Medicare. The neurosurgeons indicated that about one-third of their patient population was covered by Medicare. They also reported limiting the number of Medicare patients they see through a variety of mechanisms: only seeing Medicare patients with a specific diagnosis or from certain referring physicians or limiting the number of appointment slots for Medicare patients. Many respondents stated that further declines in Medicare reimbursement would lead to a reduction in their participation.

Conclusions

While most responding neurosurgeons do participate in the Medicare program, a substantial proportion modulates their participation through a variety of mechanisms. These barriers to care access for Medicare patients are only expected to become greater if further declines in reimbursement are implemented through the program.

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Henry H. Woo, Adam S. Arthur, J Mocco, Katie O. Orrico, John A. Wilson and Brian L. Hoh

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Brandon G. Rocque, Bradley E. Weprin, Jeffrey P. Blount, Betsy D. Hopson, James M. Drake, Mark G. Hamilton, Michael A. Williams, Patience H. White, Katie O. Orrico and Jonathan E. Martin

OBJECTIVE

The number of children with complex medical conditions surviving to adulthood is increasing. A planned transition to adult care systems is essential to the health maintenance of these patients. Guidance has been established for the general health care transition (HCT) from adolescence to adulthood. No formal assessment of the performance of pediatric neurosurgeons in HCT has been previously performed. No “best practice” for this process in pediatric neurosurgery currently exists. The authors pursued two goals in this paper: 1) define the current state of HCT in pediatric neurosurgery through a survey of the membership of the American Society of Pediatric Neurosurgeons (ASPN) on current methods of HCT, and 2) develop leadership-endorsed best-practice guidelines for HCT from pediatric to adult neurosurgical health care.

METHODS

Completion of the Current Assessment of Health Care Transition Activities survey was requested of 178 North American pediatric neurosurgeons by using a web-based questionnaire to capture HCT practices of the ASPN membership. The authors concurrently conducted a PubMed/MEDLINE–based literature review of HCT for young adults with special health care needs, surgical conditions, and/or neurological conditions for the period from 1990 to 2018. Selected articles were assembled and reviewed by subject matter experts and members of the ASPN Quality, Safety, and Advocacy Committee. Best-practice recommendations were developed and subjected to peer review by external expert groups.

RESULTS

Seventy-six responses to the survey (43%) were received, and 62 respondents (82%) answered all 12 questions. Scores of 1 (lowest possible score) were recorded by nearly 60% of respondents on transition policy, by almost 70% on transition tracking, by 85% on transition readiness, by at least 40% on transition planning as well as transfer of care, and by 53% on transition completion. Average responses on all core elements were < 2 on the established 4-point scale. Seven best-practice recommendations were developed and endorsed by the ASPN leadership.

CONCLUSIONS

The majority of pediatric neurosurgeons have transition practices that are poor, do not meet the needs of patients and families, and should be improved. A structured approach to transition, local engagement with adult neurosurgical providers, and national partnerships between pediatric and adult neurosurgery organizations are suggested to address current gaps in HCT for patients served by pediatric neurosurgeons.