Today’s Top Story
Action needed to prevent increase in drug-resistant infections.
A report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) projects an increase in the number of drug-resistant infections unless immediate action is taken. Among other things, the report recommends that hospital owners and healthcare facility administrators:

  • Implement systems to alert receiving facilities when transferring patients who have drug-resistant germs.
  • Review and perfect infection control actions in each facility.
  • Make leadership commitments to join area healthcare-associated infection/antibiotic resistance prevention activities.
  • Connect with public health departments to share data about antibiotic resistance and other hospital-acquired infections.
  • Provide clinical staff access to prompt and accurate laboratory testing for antibiotic-resistant germs.

CDC recently announced awards of nearly $110 million to help states and communities strengthen their capacity to track and respond to infectious diseases. Read more…
Read more on the CDC funding initiative…
Read the complete report…

Other News

HHS releases overview of HIPAA regulations.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has released an overview of the basics of regulations implementing the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). The guidance discusses the HIPAA Privacy Rule, the Security Rule, and the data breach notification process. The document notes that the Privacy Rule sets standards for when protected health information (PHI) may be used and disclosed, the Security Rule requires safeguards to ensure only those who should have access to electronic PHI will have access, and the Breach Notification Rule requires HIPAA-covered entities to notify HHS, affected individuals, and, in some cases, the media of breaches of unsecured PHI. Read more…
Read the guidance document (PDF)…

Articles examine CPG development process, including AAOS revision of CPG on knee OA.
An article in Medscape discusses the process of updating the AAOS clinical practice guideline (CPG) on knee osteoarthritis earlier than originally planned. The writer notes that the National Guideline Clearinghouse recommends that CPGs undergo revision every 5 years, but AAOS began the updating process on its 2008 OA guideline in 2010, due to concerns about the use of systematic reviews rather than primary research in the original CPG and the more recent availability of higher quality data. In addition, language in the revised guideline was updated during the peer review process from “recommended against,” which reviewers thought could be interpreted as implying harm or risk associated with treatments such as acupuncture or hyaluronic acid, to “we cannot recommend” to clarify that the recommendation is based on the efficacy of the treatment. Read more…(registration may be required)
On a related note, a perspective piece published in the Aug. 3 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association looks at the development process for CPGs, and notes that some experts have argued that CPGs should be developed not by specialty societies, due to potential conflicts of interest, but by public entities such as the National Institutes of Health or the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. The writer takes the position that “the CPG development process should continue to be led by specialty societies, but with a new model that integrates other stakeholders, including patients.” Read more…

CMS updates recent guidance document on ICD-10 transition.
Health Data Management reports that the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has revised a recently released guidance document intended to help healthcare providers manage the transition to ICD-10. Specifically, the agency has clarified the answers to question 3: “What is a valid ICD-10 code?” and question 5: “What is meant by a family of codes?” As previously announced, the agency plans to establish an ombudsman office to help resolve problems during the transition, and will not penalize physicians for errors in selecting and calculating quality codes for the meaningful use, Physician Quality Reporting System, and Value-based Modifier reporting programs as long as they use codes within the appropriate family of codes. All Medicare and Medicaid claims with dates of service of Oct. 1, 2015 or later will be required to be submitted using a valid ICD-10 code. Read more…
Read the revised CMS guidance document (PDF)…

WEDI survey suggests many physician practices will not be ready for Oct. 1 transition to ICD-10.
The nonprofit Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange (WEDI) has released findings from its June 2015 ICD-10 Industry Readiness Survey. The organization finds that almost 75 percent of hospitals and health systems have started or completed external testing of ICD-10, but only about 20 percent of physician practices have done so, with less than 50 percent estimating that they will be ready for the Oct. 1 transition. In a letter to the U.S. Secretary of HHS, the organization made the following recommendations:

  • HHS should expeditiously provide full transparency regarding the readiness of individual Medicaid agencies by state.
  • The recently-announced ombudsman position should be appointed as soon as possible.
  • The go-live ICD-10 support plan should include leveraging the implementation support programs of both WEDI and CMS.
  • Additional outreach is needed in order to help providers with complying with most recent local coverage determination codes.

The survey data are based on responses from 453 providers, 72 vendors, and 96 health plans. Read more…

New Jersey.
According to NJ Spotlight, a bill under consideration in the New Jersey Assembly would, if enacted, reduce the maximum amount charged by hospitals for paper copies of medical records from $200 to $100. The bill would not lower the current $100 maximum allowed to be charged by physicians and other professionals who are licensed by the State Board of Medical Examiners, but would reduce the per-page fee for patients whose files are less than 170 pages from $1 per page to 50 cents per page. The sponsor of the bill states that the measure has been introduced in response to concerns raised by elderly residents. Read more…

Act now to nominate future AAOS leadership!
The 2016 Nominating Committee is actively soliciting your suggestions for individuals to serve in the following positions:

  • Second Vice President
  • Treasurer
  • Member-at-Large [Age 45 or Older] (age 45 or older on March 3, 2016)
  • Member-at-Large [Under Age 45] (younger than age 45 on March 3, 2016)
  • National Membership Committee Member
  • Nominees to the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery (ABOS)

Nominations will close on Friday, Aug. 14. Please submit nominations to John R. Tongue, MD, chair, 2016 Nominating Committee, c/o AAOS Office of General Counsel, 9400 West Higgins Road, Rosemont, IL 60018, or online at: Read more…

Call for volunteers to help develop AUC for Management of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
The Appropriate Use Criteria (AUC) Section seeks AAOS fellows to participate on the writing panel of the Management of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome AUC. The writing panel is responsible for constructing a comprehensive patient factors list and a treatment list for carpal tunnel syndrome. Writing panel members will be required to construct and review materials, correspond with AAOS staff electronically, and participate in approximately 5 to 10 conference calls, spanning 1 to 3 months, to produce the AUC materials. Members should have experience treating patients for carpal tunnel syndrome. Nominees for the writing panel may have relevant conflicts and will be required to complete the AAOS conflict of interest enhanced disclosure form online. To participate, please contact Erica Linskey by Monday, Aug. 10, 2015, at: