House Passes AAOS-Endorsed Legislation, Congress Writes Letter to CMS, and More
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Houses Passes Sports Medicine Licensure Clarity Act On September 12, 2016, the House of Representatives passed a bipartisan bill by voice vote that would provide licensure clarity for sports medicine professionals. H.R. 921, the Sports Medicine Licensure Clarity Act – introduced by Reps. Brett Guthrie (R-KY) and Cedric Richmond (D-LA) – will clarify medical liability rules to ensure team providers are properly covered by their professional liability insurance while traveling with athletic teams in another state. From high school to college to professional levels, it is important that the men and women who are trained to protect and care for athletes and who best know the players’ medical histories are able to engage in the treatment of injured athletes. Click here to read more.
Letter Sent to HHS on Global Surgery Codes On September 16, 2016, Reps. Ami Bera, MD (D-CA) and Larry Buschon (R-IN) led a bipartisan letter to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia Burwell and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt opposing recent efforts by CMS to collect data for all 10- and 90-day global services from all practitioners who perform these services, rather than from a “representative sample” of practitioners. Over 100 members of Congress joined in the effort to ask CMS to not implement this proposal, which was first announced on July 7th in the Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) proposed rule. Click here to read more.
State Corner: South Carolina Court Overturns Ban on Integrated Care In a major win for the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), the South Carolina Supreme Court agreed with two orthopaedic surgeons in their decade long fight protecting the integration of physical therapy (PT) and physician services. In Joseph v. South Carolina Department of Labor, the court overturned a previous ruling and agreed with arguments that physician practices should be able to employ physical therapists. This result could have national implications on the ability of physicians to own ancillary services and is a major victory for patient care. AAOS and the South Carolina Orthopedic Association (SCOA) have invested significant time and resources into arguing that integrated physical therapy (PT) services are in the best interest of patients. Click here to read more.
H.R. 4365 Approved By Committee Authored by Reps. Richard Hudson (R-NC) and G.K. Butterfield (D-NC), the Protecting Patient Access to Emergency Medications Act (H.R. 4365) will allow physician medical directors to continue overseeing the care provided by paramedics and other emergency medical service (EMS) practitioners through “standing orders.”  These standing orders are especially important in the administration and delivery of controlled substances, as they allow physicians to establish pre-set protocols for EMS practitioners to follow in delivering emergency medical care. The bill also makes EMS liable for the receiving, storing and tracking of controlled substances – similar to the current procedure in hospitals. Click here to read more.
Election 2016 Graphic of the Week Click here to download graphic.
Don’t Forget! ICD-10 Grace Period Ending The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently updated a FAQ on requirements related to the ICD-10 transition, reminding physicians that the flexibility program, announced July 2015, is ending October 1.

CMS announced the flexibility program last year after pressure from AAOS and other organizations. The flexibility period ensured that doctors would not be penalized with claims denials or quality-reporting penalties as long as they select a diagnosis code from the right family of codes for the first year of implementation.

Click here to read more.

FDA Discusses Wound Care Products On September 20 and 21, 2016, the General and Plastic Surgery Devices Panel of the Medical Devices Advisory Committee discussed and made recommendations regarding the classification of certain wound care products containing antimicrobials and other drugs as part of the routine process for device classification.  The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has grouped these products under code “FRO.”  These products included solid wound dressings, gels, creams, ointments, and liquid wound washes and collectively were referred to as wound dressings. Click here to read more.
Congressional Pediatric Trauma Caucus Briefing On September 21, the Congressional Pediatric Trauma Caucus held its second briefing, which focused on injuries in sports. The panel included a number of experts in the field of surgery, neuropsychology, biomedical engineering, sport trauma and former NFL linebacker Buddy Curry. David S. Weisman, MD, a Pediatric Orthopaedic Traumatologist from New Brunswick, New Jersey, represented the AAOS on the panel and provided great expertise in the area of pediatric trauma injuries.

Click here to read more.

FDA Precision Medicine Initiatives

On Wednesday, September 14, 2016, the American Medical Association (AMA) hosted Food & Drug Administration (FDA) staff for a meeting to discuss FDA’s work on precision medicine initiatives and how physicians can best work with the AMA and other medical specialties to ensure the success of the President’s Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI).

FDA discussed their recent work in the precision medicine space, Next Generation Sequencing. This is new technology that involves genomic tests and a type of sequencing that enables analysis of the genome very rapidly. FDA has drafted two draft guidances to regulate Next Generation Sequencing (NGS). These draft guidance are the “Use of Standards in FDA Regulatory Oversight of Next Generation Sequencing (NGS)” and “Use of Public Human Genetic Variant Databases to Support Clinical Validity for Next Generation Sequencing (NGS).” The purpose of the draft guidances is for FDA to anticipate and support the needs of rapidly-evolving NGS technologies, support reliable, accurate and understandable test results and promote an efficient path to market for all test developers.  Click here to read more.

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