This month, the President of the Upper Midwest Chapter of the National MS Society and the CEO of the American Academy of Neurology co-authored a letter to the editor to bring attention to the neurologist shortage we have in this country. This is a significant issue that needs to be addressed given that that one out of six people in the United States — nearly 52 million— has a neurological disorder. In addition, a study done by ABT Associates found that 72.2% of patients saw a neurologist for usual care of MS. There is also cause for alarm in the military – last March the United States Army issued a memorandum highlighting the shortage and its impact on our troops. Click here to read the memorandum for the United States Army.
Among other efforts, the National MS Society is supporting legislation that creates 1000 new residencies and a proposal to include neurologists in the Medicare payment incentive program. The current Medicare payment system creates a disincentive to enter neurology and that needs to be fixed as one part of a broader solution to the shortage issue.