January 8, 2019
Gov. Shutdown, FDA Warning
For questions or concerns on these or other advocacy issues, contact us at dc@aaos.org.
Government Shutdown Implications on Health Care

On December 22, a partial government shutdown began for the 19th time since the mid-1970s. Fortunately, Congress had already passed five of its major appropriations bills funding about three-fourths of the federal government including the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Veterans Affairs. As a result, flagship government health programs such as Medicaid and Medicare were insulated from the shutdown battle, while other public health operations remain vulnerable.

Will you be in Las Vegas for Annual Meeting?
Sign-up for Media Training
Reserve your spot today as space is limited
The AAOS will offer an interactive media training session to active AAOS Fellows, Candidate Members and Emeritus Fellows on Friday, March 15th in Las Vegas.

Equip yourself with the skills and confidence required to deliver clear, compelling and persuasive messages in even the most challenging situations.

Led by a former TV journalist, this session will help you understand how the news media works, and give you insight into best practices that can help you take control of an interview. Each attendee will get an opportunity to deliver a mock-television interview. Whether you speak with reporters on a regular basis, or are interested in learning more about media relations and public speaking, there is something for everyone in this highly-engaging training session.

Space is limited, so sign-up today! To secure your spot, simply select session #701 titled “From Insights to Sound bites: Your Orthopaedic Expertise and the News Media” when registering for the Annual Meeting.

The cost to attend media training is $25.00. Continental breakfast is included.

Media Training Details below:
Friday, March 15th
Time: 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM PT
If you have other specific questions, please email communications@aaos.org.

FDA Warns Against Unapproved Stem Cell Treatments

On December 20, 2018, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning letter to Genentech, Inc. citing numerous deviations from current good manufacturing and tissue practices. The compliance issues were discovered during a facility inspection between June 18-22, 2018. The agency also found that the company was engaged in the manufacturing and distribution of umbilical cord blood products which were not the subject of an approved biologics license application nor an investigational new drug (IND) application—thereby violating the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and Public Health Service Act.

OrthoPAC Advisor’s Circle Now Accepting New Members

The Orthopaedic PAC Advisor’s Circle is now accepting new members for 2019. The exclusive PAC Corporate Donor Program is designed to provide AAOS Members’ group practices and specialty societies with a leadership role within the Orthopaedic PAC. When the program launched two and a half years ago, we could not have imagined the success it would foster or the positive impact it would have on our legislative and regulatory advocacy efforts. Today, it is 16-groups strong and has a 100 percent member retention rate.

Pain Management Task Force Releases Draft Report

The U.S. Department of Health and Humans Services (HHS) Pain Management Best Practices Inter-Agency Task Force (task force) recently released a draft report identifying gaps or inconsistencies and proposing updates to best practices and recommendations for pain management. The report comes after one year of regular meetings with the task force, which was authorized by section 101 of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016 (CARA). The group’s findings are critical for addressing the mounting public awareness of opioids and clinical efforts to reduce the number of opioids prescribed.

House Democrats Elect New Leadership Team

The 116th Congress officially convened on Jan. 3 with Democrats taking control of the House of Representatives for the first time in eight years. The new shift in party power means that every committee has a new chair and every leadership position has been changed.

Here are some of the party’s key House leaders: 
Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was elected for a second time to become the Speaker of the House. Despite early challenges and many incoming freshmen campaigning on a “never Pelosi” platform, only 15 democrats defected, with 12 casting votes for other people and three simply voting “present.” She retakes the position 12 years after becoming the first female House speaker in history and has already indicated that health care will be a key focus for Democrats in the 116th Congress. The day after the election, Pelosi said, “Democrats pledge, again, a new majority, our ‘For the People’ agenda, lower health care costs, lower prescription drugs, bigger paychecks, building infrastructure, clean up corruption to make America work for the American people’s interest, not the special interests.”

Resident Participation Requested for Medicare TJA Survey

AAOS and the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons (AAHKS) are collecting information on total joint arthroplasty as it relates to Medicare. We are asking residents to complete a one-question survey regarding how much Medicare reimbursement levels influence their choice of specialty. The survey is part of our ongoing effort to address potentially misvalued codes identified in the 2019 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Final Rule, including 27130 (total hip arthroplasty) and 27447 (total knee arthroplasty).AAOS and AAHKS are advocating against any change to relative value units for these procedures. They save the United States economy a combined $28 billion in lifetime societal savings, and a decrease in value could impair patient access to high quality orthopaedic care.

Access the one-question survey here.

Read AAOS’ full statement on the potentially misvalued codes here.

CMS Finalizes Overhaul of Medicare ACO Program

In late December, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued a final rule that dramatically redesigns and sets a new direction for Medicare Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs). ACOs are groups of health care providers that take responsibility for the total cost and quality of care for their patients, and in exchange they can receive a portion of the savings they achieve. More than 10.4 million individuals in Fee-for-Service Medicare receive care from providers participating in a Medicare ACO.The new rule, called “Pathways to Success,” requires ACOs to take on risk sooner or be booted out of the program, with the goal to push Medicare ACOs more quickly into two-sided risk models. Lower revenue or physician-led ACOs can remain in no-risk programs for three years, new ACOs for two years, and existing ACOs get just one year. Then all must take accountability for health care spending. Medicare expects that it will save the program $2.9 billion over 10 years.

Thank You to Our Current Orthopaedic PAC Advisor’s Circle Members!



  • Last call! Today (Jan. 8) is the deadline to apply for two open positions on the Orthopaedic PAC Executive Committee: secretary and resident fellow. New committee members will help oversee all activities relating to political fundraising and financial support for candidates for federal office. Learn more about the positions and application process here.
  • The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has officially opened the data submission period for Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) eligible clinicians who participated in Year 2 (2018) of the Quality Payment Program. Submit your data before April 2, 2019 here.
  • In preparation for the 2019 performance year of MIPS, CMS has posted several new resources to the Quality Payment Program Resource Library. Access cost measure code lists, quality measure benchmarks, a quality performance category fact sheet, and much more here.
  AAOS Orthopaedic PAC Online and Mobile Donations

Did you know? Supporting our Orthopaedic PAC by phone is easy: simply text AAOS to the number 41444, and follow the link, no log-in required. We encourage our supporters to share this technology with your colleagues who have yet to renew or join and to encourage signing up on a recurring basis. For just $84 a month, or $250 a quarter you can become part of our Capitol Club Program. And don’t forget! The Orthopaedic PAC website features an online contribution center, which can accept contributions via credit card by visiting the site and using your AAOS login credentials. Credit card contributions can also be conveniently scheduled for a monthly, quarterly or yearly recurring donation. Visit www.aaos.org/pac and select Donate to the Orthopaedic PAC for more information or to contribute today.

Don’t remember when you last contributed? Log in to the contribution center today to view your complete donation history!


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