Today’s Top Story
Report: Primary care physicians rank high in dollar return to hospitals.
Orthopaedic surgeons are among the highest earners in terms of personal compensation at their hospitals, but family care physicians generate a higher ratio of revenue to salary for their institutions, a study reports. According to HealthLeaders Media, Merritt Hawkins, the Texas-based physician recruiting firm, reported that orthopaedic surgeons were paid an average of $497,000 in 2015, which yielded about $2.7 million for their hospitals—5.5 times their compensation. The average starting salary for family physicians was $198,000, and their services provided $1.4 million for the hospital, a return of 7.5 times their compensation value. The average compensation for all medical specialties was $1.56 million, according to Merritt Hawkins, up from $1.44 million in 2013. HealthLeaders Media also reports that, according to a Medscape survey, self-employed specialists and primary care physicians make more money than employed peers, but the gap is dwindling.
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See the Merritt Hawkins report (PDF)…

Other News

Study: Outcomes for radial head replacement sustained in longer-term follow-up.
Patients who underwent treatment for radial head fractures with modular metallic radial head replacement had outcomes at a mean 8-year follow-up, with no evidence of functional deterioration, that were comparable to those previously reported in shorter-term studies, an article in the The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery reports. The Level IV study’s authors retrospectively reviewed the cases of 55 patients with unreconstructible radial head fractures who received the implants. The authors note that in the time since a longer-term outcomes study (mean of 12 years) for radial head replacement appeared in 2001, “important advances have been made in implant sizing, surgical technique, and our understanding of elbow biomechanics.” They note that “radial head arthroplasty with a smooth-stemmed metallic modular implant is a good treatment option for patients with acute unreconstructible radial head fractures, and sustained clinical outcomes may be expected beyond 5 years of follow-up.”
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Why physician participation in PDMPs may be lacking.
National efforts to the curb the opioid epidemic include prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) that track patients who attempt to get multiple prescriptions for controlled substances. Bloomberg reports that although 49 states and Washington, D.C., have authorized PDMPs, the systems are being underutilized by physicians. States have steps available, however, to increase prescriber enrollment by making these systems more usable, according to Cindy Reilly, director of the prescription drug abuse project at the Pew Charitable Trusts. These steps include enabling busy prescribers to delegate checking the patient’s prescription history to other staff members, linking PDMPs to electronic health records, and ensuring that the software can alert doctors to risky patterns and deliver the information in a meaningful way.
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Senator requests information on company response to rhBMP-2 trials.
In a letter to the chief executive of Medtronic and to the commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), U.S. Senator Al Franken (D-Minn.) has voiced concerns regarding trials of the Minnesota-based company’s recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein-2 (rhBMP-2) product Infuse, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. The manufacturer has admitted that it did not report more than 1,000 adverse events to FDA within the required 30-day time frame. The letter requests information on changes Medtronic may have made to address the issue, including improvements to employee training and assurances that the company can rule out any intentional lack of reporting of adverse event data.
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      A recent article published by the Star Tribune looks at controversy surrounding the use of rhBMP-2. A spokesperson from Medtronic states that the article “fails to include important information regarding the [retrospective chart review] and Medtronic’s actions.”
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Healthcare experts advocate for changes to pain management standards.
In a letter sent today to The Joint Commission, more than 60 nonprofit groups and medical experts urged the agency to reexamine its pain management standards, The Charlotte Observer reports. The signees contend that the current guidelines, which instruct physicians to routinely ask patients to assess their pain, inadvertently encourage overprescribing of addictive drugs, contributing to the opioid overdose epidemic in the United States. Co-signed by health commissioners from Vermont, Pennsylvania, Alaska, and Rhode Island, the letter was spearheaded by Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing, which advocates for alternative treatments to opioids, including non-opioid pain relievers, physical therapy, and psychotherapy.
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FDA seeks advisory members.
The FDA is recruiting for vacancies on the Orthopaedic and Rehabilitation Devices Advisory Panel. The panel is in particular need of hip and knee surgeons from the Northwest Region of the United States, which includes Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, Idaho, California, Oregon, Washington, Hawaii, and Alaska. Nominations must include confirmation that the nominee is aware of the submission; self-nominations are also accepted.
See the vacancy listings and nomination application requirements…

Please complete your 2016 AAOS Orthopaedic Surgeon Census now!
AAOS is asking all members to participate in the AAOS 2016 census of orthopaedic surgeons. The census is taken to ensure that AAOS members are accurately represented in advocacy, funding, and reimbursement efforts.The information also helps AAOS tailor programs, products, and services to address professional needs and interests of its members. All individual responses are kept confidential. Watch your email or postal mail for your census form. In addition, this year, AAOS is holding a census contest, with prizes awarded to the states with the highest per capita level of participation!
Read more…(member login required)
For further information, please contact the AAOS research department, at