Bipartisan Health Care Efforts Continue, While States Make Progress on Balance Billing
For questions or concerns on these or other advocacy issues, contact the Office of Government Relations at
Senate Takes Up Bipartisan Health Care Talks At a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee hearing this month, Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) said that “it’s clear to truly protect patients, we need to stabilize the markets, limit premium increases, and begin to lower premiums in the future.” The committee met to hear testimony from a state insurance commissioner, an insurer, a patient advocate and doctors on what could happen to patients if Congress does not reach a compromise. The committee is working to craft a bipartisan bill to stabilize the insurance markets, which they hope will be passed by the full Senate before the end of the month.

Help support the 2018 Communities in Motion event
In an effort to continue to promote the importance of exercise and healthy nutrition to families for better bone and joint health, the Academy will host its second Communities in Motion event on March 6 in New Orleans during its 2018 Annual Meeting.

The 2017 pilot event—held at the 2011 AAOS playground build site in San Diego—featured a series of interactive “challenge” stations highlighting cardio/aerobic activity, core strengthening and other exercises.

Health Care Workforce Discussed by House Committee On Wednesday, September 14, Chairman Michael Burgess of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health convened a hearing to examine the extension of funding for two primary care workforce programs, the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) and the Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education (THCGME) program. The hearing also reviewed legislation that reauthorizes PHSA Title VII health workforce and Title VIII nursing workforce education and training programs.

NHSC connects young providers with underserved communities, while Title VII and Title VIII programs support opportunities for continuing medical education for the healthcare workforce to keep up with revolving treatments. Title VII and Title VIII have expired, yet continued to receive appropriations on a year-by-year basis. Chairman Burgess stressed that reauthorization of the two programs, as well as the continued operation of NHSC and THCGME, would ensure longer-term stability for future generations of providers.

Webinar on Working with Members of Congress in Their Home District If you are a Congressional Ambassador or would like to become one, this webinar is an excellent opportunity to learn the skills you need to push for the policies you want. In 60 minutes, get tips from current AAOS Congressional Ambassadors, who share the simple building blocks of a lasting and successful advocacy effort.

Whether you are a novice advocate hoping to build your skill set, or an experienced ambassador looking to expand your tactics, this live presentation will give you more ways to pursue the advocacy efforts that benefit your practice and your patients.

Register online for this free live event! Or call AAOS Customer Service at 1-800-626-6726.

State Corner – AAOS, State Orthopaedic Societies Successful in Combating Insurer Campaign to Set Payment Rates to Medicare In 2017, AAOS continued to work through legislative proposals addressing out-of-network bills or “surprise” bills. In fact, more than half of all states had at least one proposal this year, but only a handful ended up being enacted. Of those enacted, four state laws (AZ, IN, NH and LA) were largely disclosure and/or study committee bills. Texas expanded their current mediation process, with the support of the Texas Orthopaedic Association, while Maine was the only state that passed broader bans on out-of-network billing. A problematic bill passed both Houses in Nevada, but was ultimately vetoed by Governor Brian Sandoval citing, in part, opposition from the Nevada Orthopaedic Society. Click here to read Governor Sandoval’s veto letter mentioning the Nevada Orthopaedic Society.

ICYMI: AAOS Comments on CMS Outpatient Rule, TKA Proposal On August 30, 2017, the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) submitted comments to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on its “Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment and Ambulatory Surgical Center Payment Systems” proposed rule. The comments highlight many concerns, including those related to computed/digital radiography changes, social risk factors and risk stratification, physician-owned hospitals, and needed health care system flexibilities. On the radiography changes, AAOS commented that the reduction in payments for services utilizing computed radiography technology is unreasonable; “providers who offer in-office services to improve access and convenience to patients should not be penalized for using this time-tested technology.” AAOS also called for further hardship exceptions in reporting requirements, electronic health records improvements, and increased access to Medicare claims data.

Apply For, Share New Advocacy Fellows Program for Residents The AAOS Office of Government Relations has established a new Advocacy Fellows Program for residents and encourages you to apply or consider sharing this opportunity with residents in your network! Applications are now being accepted for 2018. The goal is to encourage the participation of orthopaedic residents in the national health policy arena. The program seeks to foster the development of orthopaedic surgeons interested in health policy and advocacy who are willing to become key members of the AAOS advocacy team. It offers orthopaedic residents the opportunity to gain a greater understanding of the health policy process and contribute to the development of new policies and programs. Dr. Stuart Weinstein, former Chairman of the AAOS Political Action Committee, is directing the program.

Two fellows will be selected for the calendar year 2018. The deadline for applications is November 15.  A full description and application instructions can be found online here.

For more information contact OGR Senior Manager of Government Relations Julie Williams at

What We’re Reading Centrist Democrats Turn to Pragmatism, Seek Bipartisan ACA Fixes, Morning Consult, 9/15/17 Key Senator Whipping Last-Ditch Obamacare Repeal Bill, The Hill, 9/14/17 Senate Health Panel Aims for Deal on Stabilizing Markets Early Next Week, The Hill, 9/14/17 GOP Asks CBO: How Much Does Bernie Sanders’ Single Payer Bill Cost? Washington Examiner, 9/14/17 Senate Democrats Willing to Replace Obamacare’s Individual Mandate, Morning Consult, 9/14/17 Senate Health Bills Struggle to Win White House Backing, The Wall Street Journal, 9/13/17 Deal Struck to Extend Financing for Children’s Health Program, The New York Times, 9/12/17 Two GOP Senators Give Obamacare Repeal One More Try, NBC News, 9/11/17 Senate’s ACA Talks Aren’t Going As Well As They Seem, Axios, 9/11/17 Trump Wants One Last Senate Push on Obamacare Repeal, Politico, 9/5/17 Obstacles Await as Congress Resumes Health Care Fight, Associated Press, 9/4/17
Political Graphic of the Week

ASES Advocates for Physician Patient Relationship The American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons (ASES), an AAOS Orthopaedic PAC Advisor Circle member, visited Capitol Hill on September 7, 2017 to advocate for our profession. Drs. Anthony Romeo, Joseph Abboud and Brent Wiesel met with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and over a dozen members of Congress, including the Chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO), the Chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH), the Chairman of Energy and Commerce Rep. Greg Walden (R-OH), and Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) of Ways and Means Health Subcommittee. They discussed AAOS and ASES priorities such as getting total shoulder arthroplasty off the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in-patient only list, lifting the moratorium on physician owned hospitals, and partnering with Congress to curb the opioid epidemic rather than Congress interfering with the physician patient relationship.
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 shared the details of QPP and MIPS, which can be found on our website, here: and here:

On June 20, CMS released a proposed rule that would make changes in the second year of the Quality Payment Program, including participation requirements for 2018. AAOS has been working closely with CMS to address many concerns related to the Quality Payment Program, including the need for additional flexibility and simplification, as well as protection for small, solo, and rural practices. In this proposed rule, CMS has taken significant steps to respond to these concerns, and AAOS will be providing CMS with further comments by the August 21 deadline. For any questions or comments related to this proposed rule, please email


New Resident PAC One Pager
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!
AAOS Orthopaedic PAC Online and Mobile Donations Orthopaedic PAC is now mobile! Supporting 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. Don’t remember when you last contributed? Log in to the contribution center today to view your complete donation history!