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Alzheimer's Patients May Face Looming Shortage of Neurologists
Date:4/18/2013

current Medicare payment system undervalues one-on-one evaluations by neurologists has led to the shortage of these specialists in the United States, the authors stated in the news release. They suggested that without fair reimbursement for neurological care, medical students and residents burdened by education debt will pursue more lucrative specialties.

This trend is particularly worrisome because brain diseases are becoming increasingly prevalent in the United States, the experts pointed out, with one in six Americans now currently affected by a neurological condition.

The study was published online April 17 in Neurology, just days before 150 neurologists were expected to head to Capitol Hill. The goal of the visit, scheduled for April 23, is to urge Congress to protect patients' access to neurologists through fair reimbursement for neurological care.

"We want Congress to act now to help alleviate this shortage at a time when baby boomers are aging and the number of people with Alzheimer's disease is expected to triple by 2050," American Academy of Neurology president, Dr. Timothy Pedley, said in the news release.

"Neurologists are the physicians best suited to care for the one in six people currently affected by neurological disease," Pedley explained. "It is therefore vital that they have access to neurologists who are specially trained in treating brain diseases."

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about U.S. neurologists.

-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas

SOURCE: American Academy of Neurology, news release, April 17, 2013


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