Congress Holds MACRA Oversight Hearing, Passes Omnibus Spending Bill, and More
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MACRA Oversight Hearing

On March 21, the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health, chaired by Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL) held a hearing on “The Implementation of MACRA’s Physician Payment Policies.” MACRA (the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015) ended the Sustainable Growth Rate formula and replaced it with the Quality Payment Program, which includes two tracks: the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) track and the Advanced Alternative Payment Models (APMs) track.

Omnibus Spending Bill Increases Funding to HHS, CDC, and More

Last month, President Trump signed into law H.R. 1625, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, which will fund the federal government through September 2018. The legislation – which is referred to as the Omnibus bill because it combines all 12 annual appropriations bills into one bill – includes an additional $3.6 billion for opioid-addiction and mental-health services. The bill does not include provisions to stabilize Affordable Care Act insurance markets or industry-backed changes to the Part D program.

AAOS Sends Letter on Price Transparency

On March 23, AAOS sent a letter regarding price transparency to US. Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Tom Carper (D-DE), Todd Young (R-IN), and Claire McCaskill (D-MO), who are seeking feedback from the health care and patient communities as they develop legislation to improve price transparency in the health care market and lower costs.

“Real world experience and evidence-based policies from health care stakeholders and experts will be important to craft a policy that most positively affects consumers and involves best practices from providers and states,” the bipartisan group wrote to stakeholders. “We all agree that health care costs are too high and now is time to move towards a system that is more open, efficient, and accountable to the needs of the modern patient.”

House Discusses Opioid Epidemic

On March 21 and 22, Congress discussed options to address the opioid addiction crisis in this country. The Energy and Commerce Committee’s subcommittee on health discussed a wide variety of legislation proposals to try and curb the progression of this unprecedented public health epidemic. Over 20 legislative bills were discussed by a panel of experts over the two days to try and provide a solution.

AAOS Joins American Corporate Partners

AAOS is pleased to announce, through the leadership of the Council on Advocacy (COA), a partnership with a national nonprofit organization focused on helping returning veterans find their next careers through one-on-one mentoring, networking, and online career advice. American Corporate Partners (ACP), founded in 2008, engages people in unique volunteer opportunities to provide career guidance to returning military as they transition back into civilian life. More than 20,000 post-9/11 veterans have participated in ACP’s programs.

Orthopaedic surgeons are especially well-positioned to engage with this program, as they serve military personnel and veterans every day, treating some of the signature injuries of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. As mentors, participating orthopaedic surgeons will work with their mentee over the course of a year.

Quality Payment Program Updates

The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) ended the Sustainable Growth Rate formula, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) then replaced it with the Quality Payment Program. Remember – the Quality Payment Program has two tracks you can choose: Advanced Alternative Payment Models (APMs) OR the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS). AAOS has more information on our website, here:

Patients Over Paperwork – Documentation Review

CMS Administrator Seema Verma launched the Patients over Paperwork initiative, which is in accord with President Trump’s Executive Order that directs federal agencies to “cut the red tape” to reduce burdensome regulations. Through Patients over Paperwork, CMS established an internal process to evaluate and streamline regulations with a goal to reduce unnecessary burden, to increase efficiencies, and to improve the beneficiary experience.

What We’re Reading

House Lawmakers Hope to Bring Opioid Legislation to Vote Before Memorial Day, Stat, 3/29/18

FDA Working on a Dozen Polices to Boost Copycat Biotech Drugs, Reuters, 3/28/18

Inside the Collapse of a Bipartisan Obamacare Deal, Politico, 3/26/18

GOP Chairman Introduces Draft Bills to Curb Opioid Use, The Hill, 3/26/18

Federal Budget Deal Includes $4.6 Billion to Combat Opioid Epidemic, The Washington Post, 3/25/18

Health-Insurance Premiums Loom as Election Issue, The Wall Street Journal, 3/25/18

Insurance Market Stabilization Out: A Look at Congress’ Spending Omnibus, Modern Healthcare, 3/21/18

House Approves Right-to-Try Bill Giving Seriously Ill Patients Access to Experimental Drugs, The Washington Post, 3/21/18

AIDS Researcher Robert Redfield Named to Lead the CDC, The New York Times, 3/21/18

As U.S. Opioid Crisis Grows, Trump Calls for Death Penalty for Dealers, Reuters, 3/19/18

Registration is Open for the PSH Learning Collaborative 2020

The PSH Learning Collaborative brings together leading organizations and subject matter experts from across the country to learn from each other about how to achieve the quadruple aim: gratify providers, improve population health, reduce care costs and satisfy patients. The PSH Learning Collaborative 2020 will assist facilities in perioperative care redesign, PSH pilot implementation and optimizing and expanding PSH pilots post-implementation. Learn more.

Political Graphic of the Week

PAC Participation Leader Board by State

Click here, to view the interactive version of the map below, which features each state’s PAC support for 2017.

Thank You to Our Current Orthopaedic PAC Advisor’s Circle Members!
To learn more about the Advisor’s Circle, email Stacie Monroe at
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 and select Donate to the Orthopaedic PAC for more information or to contribute today.

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