Today’s Top Story

CMS releases 2017 Open Payments data

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released Open Payments data for 2017. Data were disclosed by 1,525 manufacturers and group purchasing organizations related to payments and transfers of value provided to physicians and teaching hospitals, as well as ownership or investment interests held by physicians and their immediate family. CMS reported an $8.40 billion value in more than 11.5 million records, which is slightly lower than the previous two years. Specific allocations included $2.82 billion in general payments, $4.66 billion in research payments, and $927.16 million in ownership or investment interests.

View the Open Payments website…

Other News

Amazon steps into healthcare industry with purchase of PillPack

Amazon purchased the online pharmacy start-up PillPack that sells pre-sorted packets of prescription drugs and delivers them directly to customer homes. PillPack is licensed in all states and has relationships with most major drug-benefit managers, as well as Medicare Part D drug plans, providing Amazon access to much of the prescription drug market. PillPack has automated software that eliminates many manual pharmacist tasks, such as verifying refills, determining copays, and confirming insurance.

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Study compares intra-articular injection options for osteoarthritis of the ankle

Hyaluronic acid (HA) and platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections may provide effective pain management for patients with ankle osteoarthritis (OA), according to a study published online in the Foot & Ankle Journal. Researchers conducted a literature review of 27 observational and randomized, controlled trials (RCTs) that included 1,085 patients. The studies evaluated corticosteroid (CS), HA, PRP, and mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) treatments in cases of OA, rheumatoid arthritis, and hemophilic arthropathy. Case series observed symptomatic relief with CS, HA, PRP, and MSC; however, CS led to only short-term relief, and the MSC results were derived from a small patient population. Pooled results from 109 patients in three RCTs suggest significant improvement in Ankle OA Scores with HA treatment over saline at six-month follow-up, yielding a 12.47 point mean difference. Further research is needed to confirm efficacy of each injection.

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Study: Delayed diagnosis and treatment of capitellum fractures in adolescents may lead to worse outcomes

Capitellum fractures in adolescents may be missed on conventional radiographs, leading to delayed diagnosis and potentially worse functional outcomes, according to a retrospective study published online in the Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics. Researchers analyzed 13 surgically treated capitellum fractures in patients aged 10 to 16 years. Mean time to surgical intervention was 4.5 days (range, 1–18 days). Mean flexion-extension range of motion arc was 115 degrees (range, 45–150 degrees), and mean restriction for extension and flexion was 10.7 compared to 11.5 on the uninjured side. Mean Mayo Elbow Performance Index (MEPI) score was 87.7 points, and mean Turkish-language version of the shortened Disabilities of Arm, Shoulder, and Hand (QuickDASH) score was 11. The mean MEPI score was 95.6 in patients who had early surgery (≤ 3 days) compared to 75 in those who had late surgery (> 3 days). The mean QuickDASH score for the two groups was 2.62 and 25.0, respectively. Four patients developed elbow joint contracture. The researchers said CT is helpful in identifying capitellum fractures

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Recent Supreme Court decision on unions may affect health care

Last week, the Supreme Court ruled that public unions’ ability to collect fees from nonmembers violates workers’ free speech rights, overturning long-standing precedent that allowed unions to collect these agency fees for activities such as lobbying, advertising, membership meetings, and litigation. This ruling may impact healthcare unions, as nearly 1.5 million healthcare workers are represented by unions, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. While some public health system leaders support this ruling, others fear it could hurt public health efforts, as these unions are strong political advocates for protecting Medicare, Medicaid, and other social programs.

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The crisis in orthopaedic technology puts evidence-based medicine at risk

Improvements in orthopaedic patient care are typically connected to improvements in orthopaedic technology. However, the supply of new implants and procedures is not guaranteed. The successful commercialization of truly novel orthopaedic technology currently faces stiff headwinds, including regulatory risk, payer risk, and market risk. This may reduce interest in financing novel technologies within the venture community and among major device manufacturers.

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Fellows elect 2019 nominating committee

The members of the 2019 AAOS Nominating Committee have been identified. In June, the AAOS fellowship elected five members of the 2019 Nominating Committee, and the AAOS Board of Directors appointed the chair at its meeting in March. One additional member was jointly elected by the Board of Councilors (BOC) and the Board of Specialty Societies (BOS) at the National Orthopaedic Leadership Conference. The 2019 Nominating Committee will present its slate of nominees to the fellowship by Nov. 14, 2018, 120 days prior to the business meeting at the AAOS 2019 Annual Meeting. The 2019 Nominating Committee members are David D. Teuscher, MD (Texas), chair; Sara L. Edwards, MD (Calif.); Richard J. Hawkins, MD (S.C.); John D. Kelly IV, MD (Pa.); Richard H. Rothman, MD (Pa.); Jennifer M. Weiss, MD (Calif.); and Lawrence Halperin, MD (Fla.), BOC/BOS Representative. Kevin D. Plancher, MD, MPH, MS (N.Y.), was elected as the alternate member of the committee.