September 29, 2017

Today’s Top Story
Tom Price, MD, resigns as HHS secretary.
According to a statement from the White House, Thomas E. Price, MD, has resigned as secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). President Trump intends to designate Don J. Wright, MD, MPH, FAAFP, to serve as acting secretary. Dr. Wright currently serves as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health and Director of the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.
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Read the White House statement…

Other News

FDA to require manufacturers to offer training in prescribing IR opioids.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) states that it has issued letters to 74 manufacturers of immediate release (IR) opioid analgesics intended for use in the outpatient setting that such drugs will now be subject to a more stringent set of requirements under a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS). Among other things, the agency will require manufacturers to offer training to healthcare providers who prescribe IR opioids, including education on safe prescribing practices and consideration of non-opioid alternatives. With this update, IR opioids are now subject to the same regulatory requirements as extended release/long-acting (ER/LA) opioid analgesic formulations. In addition, the FDA Opioid Policy Steering Committee is considering the possibility of requiring mandatory prescribing education for healthcare professionals.
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Study: Segond fracture may not be associate with increased risk of revision ACL reconstruction.
Findings from a study published online in The American Journal of Sports Medicine suggest that presence of a Segond fracture may not increase risk of revision anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction. The authors conducted a retrospective review of 552 patients who underwent primary ACL reconstruction. Of those, 47 met inclusion criteria and underwent revision ACL reconstruction. They found that the incidence of Segond fractures was 6 percent in the primary reconstruction group, but no patients undergoing revision surgery had a Segond fracture, and no patient with a Segond fracture had graft failure. The authors note that following ACL reconstruction, the Segond fracture healed in 90 percent of patients.
Read the abstract…

Senate passes bill that would offer more tools to ACOs.
The Hill reports that the U.S. Senate has passed the so-called CHRONIC Care Act. If enacted, the bill would, among other things, amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to allow prospective, voluntary assignment of Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries to accountable care organizations (ACOs), and allow ACOs to operate beneficiary incentive programs. The bill would also modify various provisions regarding the use of telehealth service, and calls for the U.S. Government Accountability Office to conduct studies regarding establishment of a payment code for longitudinal comprehensive care planning services.
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Read the bill…

CMS updates information for providers affected by Hurricane Maria; expands insurance enrollment periods for certain beneficiaries.
The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has posted updated information for providers affected by Hurricane Maria. The agency had previously stated that it will “exercise allowable flexibilities and issue waivers as needed to accommodate the needs of those impacted by an emergency or disaster.” The agency notes that providers do not need to apply for an individual waiver if a blanket waiver has been issued; if no blanket waiver has been issued, providers can request an individual waiver.
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     CMS also announced that, as a result of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, the agency will make available special enrollment periods for all Medicare beneficiaries and certain individuals seeking health plans offered through the Federal Health Insurance Exchange. In addition to the special enrollment periods, individuals who reside in or move from areas affected by a hurricane in 2017 will be eligible for a special enrollment period that extends the 2018 Annual Open Enrollment Period through Dec. 31, 2017.
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An article in HealthLeaders Media profiles efforts by a physician network in California to reduce utilization by providing special attention to patients most at risk for readmission after hospitalization. Under the program, a non-clinician representative works with patients to identify unmet needs and circumstances that may place them at increased risk for acute utilization. The publication reports that, in its second year, the program has reduced 30-day hospital readmissions for participating members by 67 percent.
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Call for volunteers: Diversity Advisory Board.
Oct. 11 is the last day to submit your application for a position on the Diversity Advisory Board (one opening—Communications Cabinet liaison). This board provides resources to assist AAOS members in providing culturally competent care to diverse populations, and develops and implements strategies to overcome barriers faced by minorities when choosing orthopaedics as a career. The Communications Cabinet liaison is responsible for representing the Advisory Board’s issues and concerns to the Communications Cabinet. Applicants for this position must be active fellows with a demonstrated interest in advancing diversity in orthopaedics and fostering culturally competent care.
Learn more and submit your application…(member login required)


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