Today’s Top Story

CMS Issues Proposed Changes to the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule for 2021

Late on Aug. 3, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released its proposed changes for Medicare payments under the Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) as well as other Medicare Part B issues for calendar year 2021 Among other changes, the agency is proposing to reduce the work relative value units for hip and knee arthroplasty by 5.4 percent. As a result of the policies within this proposed rule, all orthopaedic surgical services would be reduced by approximately 5 percent. AAOS issued a public media statement expressing its disappointment in the recommendations, which would reduce the value of and access to musculoskeletal care and is urging CMS to refrain from finalizing the proposed changes.

Read the CMS fact sheet…

Read the AAOS press release…

In Other News

Study: Traditional Longitudinal Incision Versus Bikini Incision in THA

A randomized, controlled trial (RCT) published online in The Journal of Arthroplasty compared postoperative outcomes between the traditional longitudinal incision versus bikini incision in total hip arthroplasty (THA) using the direct anterior approach. The main outcomes were the scar cosmesis assessment and rating (SCAR) scale; visual analog scale (VAS) pain score; Oxford Hip Score; and University of California, Los Angeles activity level rating. Bikini incision patients had significantly better SCAR scores. Postoperative functional recovery and complications did not differ between the groups.

Read the abstract…

Study Compares Closed Versus Nondrainage for Single-level Lumbar Diskectomy

An RCT published online in BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders assessed the effect of closed drainage on complications in single-level lumbar diskectomy. Patients were randomized to either the closed drainage (n = 214) or nondrainage (n = 206) group. The nondrainage group had a higher fever rate, but there were no significant between-group differences in symptomatic epidural hematoma, wound infection, or revision operation rates. The drainage group had significantly better pain relief, per the VAS score, on the first day postoperatively than the nondrainage group. Other VAS scores of operation areas, VAS scores of the lower extremity, and Oswestry Disability Index scores did not largely differ between the groups.

Read the study…

CMS Issues Proposed Changes for the Outpatient and Ambulatory Surgical Setting

On Aug. 4, CMS proposed policy changes to the Medicare Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System and the Ambulatory Surgical Center Payment System, geared toward giving beneficiaries more options for where they can seek care as well as reducing out-of-pocket surgery costs. Under the proposed rule, hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers will have more flexibility. The agency is also proposing to eliminate the Medicare inpatient-only list which, if finalized, would mean that about 300 musculoskeletal procedures will now be reimbursable in the outpatient setting.

Read the CMS fact sheet…

COVID-19 Updates

Trump Signs Orders Increasing Telemedicine, Healthcare Access in Rural Areas

President Donald J. Trump signed executive orders aimed at improving healthcare and telemedicine access in rural areas. The order proposes that CMS extend parts of telemedicine coverage beyond the COVID-19 public health emergency, as well as proposes a payment model to improve rural health care through the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation.

Read more…


Orthopaedic Surgeon Transitions to Frontline COVID-19 Physician

Julie Balch Samora, MD, PhD, MPH, FAAOS, deputy editor of AAOS Now, interviewed Alexander Golant, MD, FAAOS, associate director of sports medicine at the New York–Presbyterian/Queens Department of Orthopaedic Surgery in Flushing, N.Y., and assistant professor of clinical orthopaedic surgery at Weill Cornell Medicine, about his transition from orthopaedic surgeon to frontline physician during the COVID-19 pandemic

Read more…


Final Call: Submit Nominations for Diversity, Humanitarian, and Tipton Leadership Awards

AAOS annually recognizes three of its living members with the following awards that are presented at the Annual Meeting: the Diversity Award; Humanitarian Award; and William W. Tipton, Jr, MD Leadership Award. AAOS Awards nominations will remain open through Aug. 7. Questions about the AAOS Awards should be directed to

Learn more and submit nominations…