Today’s Top Story
Death of Supreme Court justice could affect healthcare cases.
An article in Modern Healthcare looks at possible effects the death of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia could have on pending cases. Justice Scalia was a noted conservative voice on the court, and joined a dissenting opinion in the 2012 case that upheld the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act. He also wrote the dissenting opinion in last year’s King v. Burwell decision, which allowed Americans in all states to receive insurance premium subsidies. The publication notes that the court is currently considering a case that addresses data sharing, and another with the potential to affect the number of False Claims Act suits brought against healthcare providers and other companies. President Obama has announced his intention to name a successor to fill the vacancy on the court, but opposition in the U.S. Senate is expected to complicate that process. Read more…(registration may be required)

Other News

Senate committee approves legislation to improve HIT systems.
The U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee has unanimously approved bipartisan legislation designed to help improve the use of health information technology (HIT). Provisions in the Improving Health Information Technology Act include:

  • Gathering input from stakeholders to minimize the documentation burden on providers while maintaining quality
  • Encouraging certification of HIT for specialty providers and sites of service
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) oversight to investigate and establish deterrents to information blocking practices
  • Requirements that HHS give deference to standards developed in the private sector

Read more…
Read the bill…

     The American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) has filed a letter in support of the bill. Read the AAOS letter (PDF)…

Study: Lower preoperative haematocrit level linked to increased risk of transfusion after shoulder arthroplasty.
A study published in the Feb. 5 issue of The Bone & Joint Journal looks at factors identified with the need for perioperative blood transfusion among patients who undergo shoulder arthroplasty. The researchers reviewed data on 1,174 shoulder arthroplasties performed on 1,081 patients at a single center. They found that 53 cases (4.5 percent) required transfusion postoperatively. Predictors of blood transfusion included lower preoperative haematocrit, and shoulder arthroplasty undertaken for post-traumatic arthritis. Receiver operating characteristic analysis identified pre-operative haematocrit of 39.6 percent as a 90 percent sensitivity cut-off for transfusion. The authors recommend that patients with a preoperative haematocrit <39.6 percent be advised of an increased risk for blood transfusion, noting that those with a haematocrit above that level are less likely to require transfusion.> Read the abstract…

Study: What factors are linked to necrosis after closure of open malleolar ankle fracture?
Information published online in the journal Foot & Ankle International examines factors linked to postoperative wound necrosis following primary wound closure of open malleolar ankle fracture. The authors reviewed data on 110 patients with open malleolar ankle fractures and found that postoperative wound necrosis occurred in 16 percent (n = 18) patients. Of those, variables that were independently associated with an increased risk for postoperative wound necrosis included American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) class ≥2, Gustilo grade III open injury, and the use of pulsatile lavage at index surgery. Read the abstract…

Study: Poorer QOL, not bracing, linked to poorer body image among female AIS patients.
Findings published in the February issue of the journal Spine suggest that wearing a brace may not negatively impact body image or quality-of-life (QOL) for female adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) patients with moderate curve sizes (20°–40°). The research team drew data on 319 participants in the Bracing in Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis Trial, 132 of whom participated in a randomized treatment arm and 187 in a preference treatment arm, with 199 brace-treated and 120 observed. Through 2-year follow-up, the research team noted no significant difference between study arms or treatments regarding body image or QOL, based on the Spinal Appearance Questionnaire and the Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory 4.0 Generic Scales. Overall, poorer body image was significantly correlated with poorer QOL regardless of study arm or treatment. The research team found that patients who crossed over to a different treatment and patients with Cobb angles ≥40° had significantly poorer body image, in particular self-body image, compared with those that did not. Read the abstract…

Study: Distracting questions affect resident performance during simulated arthroscopy.
A study published online in the journal Orthopedics finds that residents may be susceptible to distraction when performing arthroscopic simulation. The researchers followed 25 orthopaedic surgery residents as they performed a diagnostic knee arthroscopy computer simulation using a checklist of structures to identify and tasks to complete. The same residents repeated the task at least 2 weeks later while simultaneously answering distracting questions. During distracted simulation, the researchers found that residents overall had significantly fewer completed checklist items compared with the initial simulation. They also noted that, compared with junior residents, senior residents completed both initial and distracted simulations in less time, with fewer chondral injuries and fewer instances of looking at their hands. The researchers suggest that addressing even straightforward questions during an operation may affect surgeon performance. Read the complete study…

Apply now for the 2016 AAOS/OREF/ORS Clinician Scholar Career Development Program.
March 31 is the last day to submit your application to participate in the Clinician Scholar Career Development Program (CSCDP). The program is a joint project of AAOS, the Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation (OREF), and the Orthopaedic Research Society (ORS). CSCDP seeks applicants in years PGY2 to PGY5 of orthopaedic residency, fellows, and junior faculty through year 3 who have the potential and desire to become orthopaedic clinician scholars (scientists and investigators). Up to 15 applicants will be selected to participate in the 1.5-day training workshop, with up to 10 additional participants sponsored by orthopaedic specialty societies. The 2016 AAOS/OREF/ORS CSCDP will take place Sept. 15-17, 2016, in Rosemont, Ill. Please submit applications, along with curriculum vitae and a letter of support, by 11:59 PM CT on March 31, 2016 to:
Learn more and submit your application…

Call for volunteers: AMA Senior Physicians Section Governing Council.
AAOS seeks to nominate members to the American Medical Association (AMA) Senior Physicians Section Governing Council. The Governing Council is comprised of seven physicians who direct Section programs and activities. The purpose of the group is to support projects of interest to the senior physician community, including continued communication with colleagues, advocacy on behalf of senior physician issues, and ongoing development of member benefits and activities. Nominations are currently being accepted for the following positions, with terms commencing in June 2016:

  • Delegate- 2-year term (one opening)
  • Alternate delegate- 2-year term (one opening)
  • Officers-at-large- 2-year term (two openings)

Nominees for these positions must be physicians who are 65 years or older; working full-time, part-time or retired; and active members of the AMA. In addition, applicants must provide the following: an online AAOS CAP application, a current curriculum vitae, a letter of interest, an AMA nomination form, an AMA biosketch form, and a headshot photo in JPEG format. To request forms and submit supporting materials, please contact Kyle Shah by Sunday, Feb. 21, 2016 at 11:59 p.m. CT, at:
Learn more and submit your application…(member login required)