House Subcommittee Approves Sports Bill, Legislators Discuss Medicare
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House Subcommittee Approves Sports Medicine Licensure Clarity Act
On Wednesday, June 8, 2016, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health, chaired by Rep. Joseph Pitts (R-PA), approved two public health bills, including H.R. 921, the Sports Medicine Licensure Clarity Act. The Sports Medicine Licensure Clarity Act, authored by Health Subcommittee Vice Chairman Brett Guthrie (R-KY), would clarify medical liability rules for sports medicine physicians and other medical professionals to ensure they are properly covered by their malpractice insurance while traveling with athletic teams in another state.

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Ways and Means Discusses Medicare Changes

On Thursday, June 9, 2016, the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health held a “Member Day Hearing” where interested legislators could share and discuss bills they have introduced concerning health care access and delivery for those who rely on Medicare.

“Today, similar to our last Member Day hearing on ‘Tax-Related Proposals to Improve Health Care,’ this subcommittee is providing a public platform for any and all interested Members of Congress to discuss bills they have introduced that modify the way health care is accessed and delivered to the more than 55 million seniors who rely on the Medicare program,” stated Subcommittee Chairman Pat Tiberi (R-OH). “Members have put a lot of work into developing and drafting these pieces of legislation. And this Member Day hearing is their opportunity to share with their colleagues— and the American people— why these bills are important and why this committee should take them up.”

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AMA House of Delegates – Annual Meeting 2016

AAOS delegate members met in Chicago, Illinois from June 11-15, 2016 for the American Medical Association (AMA) House of Delegates (HOD) Annual meeting. The HOD is the legislative and policy-making body of the AMA and is composed of elected representatives and others. This eventful meeting consisted of several key resolutions being adopted, CMS acting administrator addressing the entire house of medicine and the inauguration of an orthopaedic surgeon as the AMA President.

Pictured (from left to right): Joshua Kerr, John Gill, MD, Mike Zarski, Michael Suk, MD, JD, MPH, Alexandra (Alexe) Page, MD, Andrew Gurman, MD, William Shaffer, MD, Karen Hackett, FACHE, CAE, and Kimberly Templeton, MD

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What We’re Reading

MedPAC Report—June 2016

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) released its June 2016 Report to the Congress: Medicare and the Health Care Delivery System. As part of its mandate from the Congress, each June MedPAC reports on issues affecting the Medicare program as well as broader changes in health care delivery and the market for health care services. Three chapters in this report examine policy issues related to prescription drugs. The Commission remains concerned about rapid growth in drug prices, which can affect beneficiary access to needed medications, as well as the financial sustainability of the Medicare program. Furthermore, MedPAC presented basic principles concerning the alternative payment models (APMs) provisions in the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA). For example, the Commission believes that eligible alternative payment entities should be responsible for total Part A and B spending for their enrollees, should have opportunities to share savings with beneficiaries, and should receive some regulatory relief from CMS. The report also discussed some key considerations for the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) created in MACRA.

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Election 2016 Graphic of the Week

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ASCA Hosts Briefing on Benefits of ASCs

On Tuesday, June 14, 2016, the Ambulatory Surgery Center Association (ASCA), hosted a briefing on a study that found ambulatory surgical centers (ASCs) save billions in savings system-wide. The Medicare price differential for common outpatient services delivered in the hospital outpatient department (HOPD) vs. ambulatory surgery center (ASC) environment is well known and documented. On average, Medicare reimburses ASCs at 53 percent of the rate it reimburses HOPDs for the same procedure. The payment gap between services delivered at ASCs rather than HOPDs reduced the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) costs by more than $7 billion between 2007 and 2011. Commercial carrier payment rates are not publicly available. Therefore, less is known about the price differences and associated savings that exist between the ASC and HOPD environments for those employers and patients covered by commercial insurance.

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Politico Event – Bringing Health Home: Tech and Patient-Centered Care

On June 9, 2016, Politico hosted a briefing on health technology where experts in health care, technology, and policy came together to discuss how to reach isolated patients, innovations in overcoming societal health disparities, and more. The experts also discussed telehealth extensively, emphasizing that this is an area of the health care field that is developing steadily and with increasing importance, especially over the last 12 month period. Telehealth intertwines technology with health care to reach patients via computers, smartphones and applications from a distance. Because telehealth is a relatively new development in the eyes of the healthcare community, there are various concerns that physicians and patients both raise. Does this technology reach patients in isolated parts of the United States? Is cybersecurity a threat? Are homebound patients able to communicate effectively with their physicians in order to receive the help that they need?

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