SGR Talks Increasing, Annual Meeting Updates, Interoperability Legislation
Is a Permanent SGR Solution Possible?

This story is rapidly changing. For the most up-to-date information, visit or follow @AAOSAdvocacy on twitter. As the March 31 deadline to address the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula approaches, talks to offer a permanent solution are increasing. While nothing official has been released, legislators are discussing a bill that would partially pay for the cost of the repeal (approximately $70 billion of the total package), while addressing other policies like the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), a pay increase for Medicaid doctors, Medicare “extenders,” and anti-fraud measures. The $174 billion cost of repealing the SGR has been a major hurdle for legislators in the past, and disagreement on the how to pay for it stalled final passage of the bipartisan legislation introduced last year (see this AAOS Now article). This year, however, House leadership is hoping most members of Congress can get behind the partial pay-for strategy and finish SGR work for good. Click here to read more.


Last Chance: Sign Up for Hometown Radio
Don’t miss a FREE opportunity to sign up for a Hometown Radio interview at the Academy’s 2015 Annual Meeting in Las Vegas. From Wednesday, March 25 to Friday, March 27, Hometown Radio health reporter Christopher Michael will conduct short on-site interviews with interested members. After the Annual Meeting, the interviews will be edited and distributed to radio stations in your hometown. Space is limited and time windows are filling up fast, so click here to schedule an interview ASAP. Click here to read more.
Visit the Advocacy Booth (#2222) At The 2015 Annual Meeting! Understanding the legislative and regulatory issues that impact your daily life as an orthopaedic surgeon is a critical first step in becoming more politically active. Political advocacy covers a wide range of activities, including voting in elections, lobbying a member of Congress, or contributing to the Political Action Committee of the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons (Orthopaedic PAC). Not sure where to start? Going to the 2015 AAOS Annual Meeting in Las Vegas? Visit the Advocacy Booth!

At the Office of Government Relations (OGR) Advocacy Booth, you can learn about major federal and state legislative and regulatory initiatives so that you can become an advocate for orthopaedics in your home district. AAOS fellows, physician volunteers, as well as AAOS government relations staff will be on hand to answer your questions, provide information on advocacy issues, and give you the tools you need to better educate legislators about issues important to the orthopaedic community. Click here to read more.

Orthopaedic PAC Members: Visit the PAC Lounge for a Mid-Meeting Break Need a place to charge your iPad, grab coffee, or arrange a casual meeting with other AAOS fellows? If you are an Orthopaedic PAC member, don’t miss the opportunity to take a break during Annual Meeting by visiting the Orthopaedic PAC Lounge, exclusively for use by members of the PAC. Pick up complimentary beverages and snacks while stopping in to charge your electronics and visit with other PAC members. The PAC Lounge will be open 9:00am-5:00pm on March 25-26 and 9:00am to 4:00pm on March 27, 2015. The Lounge will be located at booth 2222 in the technical exhibits area. Not yet a PAC member? Join today at or donate onsite at the lounge to gain admittance. For more information, please contact Kristin Brackemyre at or 202.548.4150.
Legislation to Address Claims Data and Interoperability Legislators are moving forward on two bills to streamline the exchange of healthcare information. First, Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and John Thune (R-SD) reintroduced a bill that would expand the use of Medicare data under CMS’s Qualified Entity (QE) program, which allows organizations to access and analyze comprehensive Medicare claims data for select purposes. According to the senators, the program has the potential to empower health care decision-makers to make better choices, but “current law is far too restrictive on which organizations can participate in the QE program; what QEs can do with the Medicare data once they have received it; and the degree to which QEs can support their own data maintenance infrastructures.” Click here to read more.
What We’re Reading The 5 Most Important Quotes from SCOTUS’ Obamacare Arguments, National Journal, Mar. 4, 2015 House GOP Plans Votes on Budget, Medicare Cuts in March, The Hill, Mar. 11, 2015 CMS Preps ‘Next Generation’ ACO Model, Modern Healthcare, Mar. 10, 2015 ICD-10 Letter to CMS from AAOS, AMA and More, Mar. 4, 2015 Medical Device ID Effort Hits Snag, Wall Street Journal, Mar. 10, 2015
Don’t Forget: New EHR Attestation Deadline for Medicare Eligible Professionals: March 20, 2015 Eligible professionals now have until 11:59 pm ET on March 20, 2015, to attest to meaningful use for the Medicare Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program 2014 reporting year. According to its announcement, CMS extended the deadline “to allow providers extra time to submit their meaningful use data. CMS continues to urge providers to begin attesting for 2014 as soon as they can.” Providers who do not successfully attest for the 2014 program year will not receive incentives and will be subject to Medicare penalties starting January 1, 2016. The EHR reporting option for PQRS has also been extended until March 20, 2015. AAOS has aggressively and continually urged both CMS and Congress to address the reporting difficulties associated with these programs. To read more about recent efforts, see this previous Advocacy Now article. For AAOS information on EHR and health information technology, please visit You can also visit the AAOS Practice Management website at [login required]. To learn more from CMS, see the Educational Resources on the CMS EHR Incentive Programs website. For help, call the EHR Information Center at 1-888-734-6433 Monday – Friday, 8:30 am – 7:30 pm (ET). For details regarding PQRS participation, please see the How to Get Started page of the PQRS website.
Senate Committee Talks Medical Innovation On March 10, 2015, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions held a hearing titled “Continuing America’s Leadership in Medical Innovation for Patients.” The witnesses, Dr. Francis Collin from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Dr. Margaret Hamburg from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), spoke to the committee about what obstacles exist to the development of translational therapies. As explained at the hearing, the low rate at which novel therapeutics are introduced to patients is disproportionate to the funds invested in biomedical research. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) spoke to the universal relevance of medical innovation to Americans, emphasizing the tremendous cost of the discovery process and the disparities in scientific knowledge that exist. Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) added that the United States needs to maintain its preeminence in the field of medicinal excellence. By building upon the progress we have already made, she emphasized, the United States is better situated to secure its position.  Click here to read more.
Improving Device Data Capture in Electronic Health Information The SMART Medical Device Informatics Think Tank Meeting, sponsored as part of the MDEpiNet public private partnership and hosted on February 24 – 25, 2015, was a meeting focused on improving device data capture in electronic health information. A collaborative environment of medical professionals and innovators presented their projects and ideas over a two-day session that created a “think tank” of individuals all with a similar goal of improving structured device data capture at the point of care. The main objectives were to promote focused collaboration across those involved in both pre- and post-market device data collection and exchange.  Click here to read more.
Save the Date: Sixth Annual Physician & Dentist Candidate Workshop, July 10-11, 2015 With many health policy challenges on the horizon, it is more important than ever that individuals who understand and care about the future of medicine are elected to public office. Fortunately, physician involvement in politics has grown considerably in recent years. In the 114th Congress there are 17 physician members serving in Congress, including two orthopaedic surgeons: Dr. Tom Price (R-GA-06) and Dr. John Barrasso (R-WY). Many more physicians are serving their communities through elected office at the state and local level. Click here to read more.
Congratulations to the Winners of the 2014 Stuart L. Weinstein, MD PsAC Participation Awards! The Stuart L. Weinstein, MD PAC Participation Awards were established in 2013 to honor the states with the highest PAC participation rate as well as the individual state that has demonstrated the greatest improvement in PAC participation from one year to the next. Congratulations to Puerto Rico for achieving the highest participation rate in the Orthopaedic PAC at an impressive 69 percent! Congratulations to Vermont for seeing the greatest improvement in their PAC participation, up from 16 percent in 2013 to 58 percent in 2014. Click here to read more.
AAOS Orthopaedic PAC Online Contribution Center The Orthopaedic PAC website features an online contribution center, which can now 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. Consider joining the Orthopaedic PAC with a monthly contribution of $25 or make a $1,000 contribution manageable through $250 quarterly contributions to qualify for the new “Capitol Club”. 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!