Today’s Top Story

Study projects ‘Medicare for All’ costs

A study from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University in Virginia found that Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) “Medicare for All” healthcare plan would cost $32.6 trillion over 10 years (2022–2031), according to a report from The Associated Press. The plan is projected to provide significant savings on administration and drug costs (projected $846 billion over 10 years), but increased demand for care would drive up spending and require historic tax increases.

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Other News

Study: Hospitals could lower their mortality rates by switching from paper records to EHRs

A study published online in Health Affairs found that hospitals may see lower mortality rates after switching from paper to electronic health records (EHRs). However, fatalities could initially increase in the first year of the transition. Researchers examined the magnitude of digitalization and one-month fatality for patients 65 years and older from 3,249 hospitals between 2008 and 2013. Multiple hospitals had EHRs at the start of this period, and many did not make the transition until after 2009. Initially, hospitals displayed an additional 0.11 percentage point higher mortality rate for every new EHR function As time went on, each of these functions was associated with a 0.09 percentage point drop in mortality, and each function added mid-study yielded a 0.21 percentage point drop.

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Study: Genetic screening for BMD may determine risk of osteoporosis and fractures

A new genetic screening process may determine the risk for bone fracture and osteoporosis, according to a study published online in PLOS One. Researchers used data from the U.K. Biobank to create an algorithm that identified 1,362 independent single nucleotide polymorphisms that clustered into 899 loci associated with low bone mineral density (BMD), 613 of which had not been previously identified. The algorithm was also capable of assigning each of the participants a score indicating their risk for low BMD. Patients at high risk (2.2 percent of those tested) were 17 times more likely to develop osteoporosis and almost twice as likely to sustain a bone fracture. The researchers noted that early identification of those with an increased genetic risk for osteoporosis could help prevent or reduce the incidence of bone fracture.

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HHS secretary makes promises on Medicare, Stark law, and more

Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar fortified promises to change Medicare billing structures in an effort to lower government costs. He also said HHS will look to update guidance for providers on Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and anti-kickback laws with its request for information on the Stark law. Mr. Azar made promises to focus on the enhanced privacy law relating to substance addiction treatment (42 CFR Part 2) with regulation use. The medical community has advocated for repeal of the law because it prevents hospitals and practitioners from sharing patient addiction records with other providers. Mr. Azar also advocated for work requirements in states undergoing Medicaid expansion.

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In the States

Study: State-level mandates could increase insurance enrollment by millions and decrease premium costs

A study found that nearly 4 million Americans would obtain health insurance and premium costs would be reduced by 12 percent if every state enacted state-level individual mandates like those currently in place in Massachusetts and New Jersey, according to a report from The Commonwealth Fund and Urban Institute. These mandates replace the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) penalty for not having health insurance that was eliminated by Congress. With the removal of the ACA individual mandate penalty, effective January 2019, the Congressional Budget Office predicts premiums will increase and fewer people will be covered by insurance. If states act on their own to replace the mandate, however, there would be 7.5 million fewer uninsured Americans by 2022, according to the report.

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AAOS Now

MARCQI demonstrates value and impact of registries

As the American Joint Replacement Registry continues to evolve and take its place among its more established international peers, the Academy’s own ambitious plan to create a family of registries across orthopaedics is proceeding. A registry consortium in a single state, Michigan, demonstrates the palpable benefits of systematic data collection. The Michigan Arthroplasty Registry Collaborative Quality Initiative (MARCQI) operates under the umbrella of 18 statewide collaborative quality initiatives encompassing major medical specialties and focus areas.

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Your AAOS

Final call: Apply for Education Assessments and Examinations Committee member position

The Education Assessments and Examinations Committee has an open member position, a three-year term that runs from March 18, 2019, to March 25, 2022. The committee prepares and administers the annual Orthopaedic In-Training Examination, the triennial Orthopaedic Self-Assessment Examination, and the Orthopaedic Special Interest Examinations. The last day to submit an application is Aug. 3.

Learn more and submit your application… (member login required)

 

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