Today’s Top Story
HHS raises patient/prescription limit for buprenorphine for opioid addiction.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, has finalized a rule increasing from 100 to 275 the number of patients that qualified physicians who prescribe buprenorphine for opioid use disorders can treat. The rule change comes as part of the Obama administration opioid initiative that HHS launched last year and represents a push for expanded access to medication for treatment of opioid abuse. As a partial agonist, buprenorphine has a “ceiling effect” and is prescribed as an alternative to methadone, a full agonist with no ceiling effect. The eligibility criteria for prescribers includes practitioners with additional credentialing in addiction medicine or addiction psychiatry or those practicing in a qualified setting.
Read more…
Read the HHS rule fact sheet…
Read a comparative review of buprenorphine and methadone…

Other News

CMS makes Medicare claims data available to qualified entities.
New rules under the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) Centers allow qualified entities to confidentially share or sell analyses of Medicare and private sector claims data to providers, employers, and other groups, Healthcare IT News reports. The rationale is that the data would be used to help individuals and organizations make more informed healthcare decisions.
Qualified entities must combine the Medicare data with other claims data, such as private payer data, to produce quality reports that are representative of how providers and suppliers are performing across multiple payers. According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), 15 organizations have already applied and been approved as qualified entities. CMS added that future rulemaking is expected to expand the data available to include standardized extracts of Medicaid data.
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“Nocturnalist” physicians offer patients increased overnight presence at the hospital.
An article in The Boston Globe looks at the issue of “nocturnalists”; hospitalists hired specifically to work overnight shifts on general medical floors. The writer notes that hiring nocturnalists offers patients the benefit of an in-person supervising physician during the overnight shift, and a reduced need to call physicians at home for late-night patient management. Nocturnalist physicians note that overnight shifts tend to be more casual, with less emphasis on meetings and office politics and a greater emphasis on patient care.
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Study: Protein may hold key to muscle regeneration.
Researchers from the Carnegie Institute for Science have demonstrated that the ß1-integrin protein is critical for maintaining the cycle of hibernation, activation, proliferation, and return to hibernation in muscle stem cells, Science Daily reports. The findings, published in Nature Medicine, could have promising implications for therapeutic interventions to regenerate muscle in older patients, particularly after injury or surgery. The researchers found that the function of ß1-integrin is diminished in aged muscle stem cells. Yet, when the protein was artificially activated in mice with aged muscles, their regenerative abilities were restored to youthful levels. Regeneration, strength, and function also improved when the treatment was applied in animals with muscular dystrophy, demonstrating the protein’s potential importance for the treatment of muscle disorders.
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Read the abstract…

Study: Active smokers may be at increased risk of complication when undergoing TAA.
A study published online in the journal Foot & Ankle International suggests that active cigarette smokers who undergo total ankle arthroplasty (TAA) may be at increased risk of complications and poor outcomes compared with former and nonsmokers. The authors reviewed data on 642 TAA patients (34 current smokers, 249 former smokers, and 359 nonsmokers). They found a significant, increased risk of perioperative complication among active smokers compared to nonsmokers. In addition, active smokers displayed an increased rate of infection, revision surgery, and nonrevision surgery, although the difference was not statistically significant. Compared with preoperative outcome scores, all groups demonstrated improvement at 1- and 2-year follow-up. However, there was less improvement among active smokers compared to nonsmokers. The authors note that there was no significant difference in outcome scores when comparing nonsmokers with former smokers.
Read the abstract…

Act now to nominate future AAOS leadership!
The 2017 Nominating Committee is actively soliciting your suggestions for individuals to serve in the following positions:

  • Second Vice-President
  • Member-at-Large [No Age Designation]
  • Member-at-Large [Under Age 45] (younger than age 45 on March 16, 2017)
  • National Membership Committee Member

Nominations close Friday, Aug. 12, 2016. Nominations may be submitted by mail to Joshua J. Jacobs, MD, chair, 2017 Nominating Committee, c/o AAOS Office of General Counsel, 9400 West Higgins Road, Rosemont, IL 60018, or (preferred) electronically. Descriptions of the responsibilities, desired experience, and time commitments associated with the positions are available online.
Learn more about the positions and access the nomination form…

Call for volunteers: Content Committees.
Applications are now open for positions on Content Committees. Members of Content Committees identify member knowledge gaps and recommend development of new education programs to the Council on Education. The following content committees are currently seeking a chair and one resident-at-large member:

  • Basic Science
  • Foot & Ankle
  • Hand & Wrist
  • Hip & Knee
  • Musculoskeletal Oncology
  • Pediatrics
  • Shoulder & Elbow
  • Spine
  • Sports Medicine
  • Trauma

The deadline for chair applicants is July 31; the deadline for resident applicants is Aug. 15. Applicants for the chair positions must be active fellows with a practice emphasis in the relevant topic. Applicants for the resident positions must be PGY-2, PGY-3, or PGY-4 and provide a letter of support from the residency program director.
Learn more and submit your application…(member login required)