AANEM Successfully Introduces EDX Legislation in U.S. House
AANEM successfully introduced legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives to address EDX testing quality issues -- H.R. 8344, “Electrodiagnostic Patient Protection and Fraud Elimination Act.” This bill was led by Cong. Pete Sessions (R-TX) but has bipartisan support. H.R. 8344 addresses ongoing problems with EDX fraud and abuse, as well as poor-quality EDX testing by unqualified providers, many of whom are using substandard EDX equipment. A similar bill was introduced at the end of 2020 but, due to the global pandemic, stalled out. AANEM used this time to meet with other stakeholder groups and refined the language further before reintroducing the legislation.
AANEM Advocacy Advisors to the AANEM Board of Directors, Drs. Peter Grant and Vince Tranchitella, played an integral role in bringing this effort to fruition. When asked for their reaction to the news of the bill’s introduction, Dr. Tranchitella responded, “We are pleased that Congress is finally working with us to pass a bill addressing quality in electrodiagnostic medicine. The AANEM has worked tirelessly over the past 15+ years, with the core value that every patient who needs electrodiagnostic testing should receive the right tests, at the right time, performed and interpreted by a provider who is properly trained in electrodiagnostic medicine.” Dr. Grant added, “The introduction of this bill is the next, important step in achieving our mission and will ensure that patient safety and the highest quality of patient care is maintained.”
The bill was modeled after the approach taken by both mammography and sleep labs who faced similar battles with fraud and abuse in their areas of medicine. While these groups instituted complex accreditation requirements, AANEM’s goal was to simplify the requirements as much as possible while still maintaining assurance that the provider is qualified and the testing is legitimate. AANEM Health Policy Director, Millie Suk, JD, MPP, explained, “In essence, our legislation only requires that a physician demonstrate a minimum of 3 months of EDX training during either a residency or fellowship program to perform the needle EMG portion of the exam, oversee the nerve conduction study, and that the provider is using legitimate equipment.” The legislation in its current form would require providers to become accredited from a yet-to-be-determined accrediting body or bodies, but that requirement won’t go into effect until 2 years after the bill is passed giving interested labs time to achieve accreditation. AANEM currently has an extensive EDX Lab Accreditation program and is hopeful that AANEM will be chosen as an accrediting body.
Executive Director, Shirlyn Adkins, JD, noted, “AANEM members have been asking AANEM to end the fraud and assure that patients receive quality studies. We have tried educating insurance companies, working with local medical carriers, and meeting multiple times with CMS. We believe this legislation is the best path to achieve quality for patients and help decrease unnecessary procedures.”
Please keep an eye out for an action alert in the coming weeks for information on how you can help support this effort.