Today’s Top Story
OIG issues fraud alert to physicians regarding compensation arrangements that could violate anti-kickback statute.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (OIG) has issued a fraud alert warning physicians to carefully consider terms and conditions of medical directorships and other compensation arrangements that could violate the anti-kickback statute. “Although many compensation arrangements are legitimate,” the alert reads, “a compensation arrangement may violate the anti-kickback statute if even one purpose of the arrangement is to compensate a physician for his or her past or future referrals of Federal health care program business. OIG encourages physicians to carefully consider the terms and conditions of medical directorships and other compensation arrangements before entering into them.” The alert notes that OIG recently reached settlements with 12 physicians who were alleged to have accepted improper remuneration under the anti-kickback statute for several reasons, including that the payments took into account the physicians’ volume or value of referrals and did not reflect fair market value for the services to be performed, and because the physicians did not actually provide the services called for under the agreements. Read more…
Read the OIG fraud alert (PDF)…
Read the OIG compliance guide (PDF)…

Other News

FDA: DePuy Orthopaedics recalls LCS COMPLETE RPS Knee System.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reports that DePuy Orthopaedics has issued a Class 2 recall of its LCS COMPLETE RPS Knee System. The company states that the device has been associated with higher rates of revision in Australia when the native patella is not resurfaced when compared to other unresurfaced posterior-stablized implants. If the LCS COMPLETE RPS Knee System is implanted and the native patella is not resurfaced, the patient may experience patellofemoral pain, potentially requiring a secondary procedure. Read the recall notice…

Study: RA patients with moderate disease activity at risk of major joint surgery.
Findings presented at the 2015 European League Against Rheumatism Annual Congress suggest that patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) treated with disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) and who have moderate disease activity may have a similar risk of requiring surgical treatment as those with high disease activity. The researchers reviewed data on 2,071 patients from two European registries, and found that 2,044 patients had at least two drug activity states (DAS) during a 5-year span. Of those, 21 percent were in remission, 15 percent in low DAS, 26 percent in low-moderate DAS, 21 percent in high-moderate DAS, and 18 percent in high DAS categories. After adjustment, the researchers found that patients with low-moderate DAS, high-moderate DAS, and high DAS categories were all predicted an increased risk of major joint surgery. Read more…
Read the abstract…

AMA adopts concussion policy aimed at young athletes.
At its annual meeting, the American Medical Association (AMA) has voted to adopt a new policy aimed at reducing the risk of concussion in young athletes. Among other things, the policy:

  • Addresses the need for prompt diagnosis and appropriate concussion management plans in treating sports-related concussions
  • Supports requiring youth athletes who are suspected of having sustained a concussion to be removed immediately from the activity and allowed to return only with a physician’s written consent
  • Encourages adoption of evidence-based, age-specific guidelines for physicians, other healthcare professionals, and athletic organizations to use in evaluating and managing concussion
  • Encourages development and evaluation of effective risk reduction measures to prevent or reduce sports-related injuries and concussions

Read more…

AAOS member named AMA president-elect.
AMA has announced the election of Andrew W. Gurman, MD, as its president-elect. Dr. Gurman has been an active member of the AMA Board of Trustees, and has served as speaker and vice-speaker of the AMA House of Delegates. He completed his surgical internship and residency in orthopaedic surgery at the combined Montefiore Hospital/Albert Einstein program in New York City, and a fellowship in hand surgery at the Hospital for Joint Diseases Orthopaedic Institute. He is scheduled to assume the office of AMA president in June 2016. Read more…

Physician survey finds orthopaedics to be highest-compensated specialty.
The annual Medscape Physician Compensation Report has been released, and finds orthopaedic surgeons, at $421,000 per year, to be the highest compensated physician specialty in the United States. In comparison, primary care physicians earn an average of $195,000 per year, while specialty physicians overall earn $284,000. The survey also finds that 31 percent of orthopaedists have added new ancillary services during the past 3 years, and that 67 percent of orthopaedic surgeons would choose the same specialty again. The survey findings reflect responses from 19,657 physicians across 26 specialties. Read more…
View the report…

Turnover in AAOS Treasurer position.
With the resignation of Ken Yamaguchi, MD, as AAOS Treasurer, the AAOS Board of Directors has unanimously elected Frederick M. Azar, MD, AAOS past president, to serve as AAOS Treasurer until March 6, 2016. Dr. Azar had previously served as AAOS Treasurer from 2009-2012. The 2016 Nominating Committee will recommend an individual to begin serving a 3-year term as Treasurer at the end of the 2016 Annual Meeting. Dr. Azar will continue his role as Past President on the AAOS Board of Directors. In announcing these changes, AAOS President David D. Teuscher, MD, indicated he accepted Dr. Yamaguchi’s resignation with regret, and praised his “professionalism, dedication, and many contributions past and future” to the AAOS fellowship. He also expressed thanks to Dr. Azar for his “continued willingness to serve the AAOS and the orthopaedic profession.”

Fellows elect 2016 Nominating Committee.
The members of the 2016 AAOS Nominating Committee have been chosen. In May, the AAOS fellowship elected six members of the 2016 Nominating Committee, and the AAOS Board of Directors appointed the chair at its meeting in March. The 2016 Nominating Committee members are:

  • John R. Tongue, MD (Ore.), Chair
  • Timothy J. Bray, MD (Nev.)
  • Lawrence D. Dorr, MD (Calif.)
  • Thomas A. Einhorn, MD (N.Y.)
  • John T. Gill, MD (Texas)
  • Richard F. Kyle, MD (Minn.)
  • Thomas P. Sculco, MD (N.Y.)

Ann E. Van Heest, MD (Minn.), was elected as the alternate member of the committee.

The 2016 Nominating Committee will present a slate of candidates for the following positions:

  • Second vice-president
  • Treasurer
  • Board member-at-large (age 45 or older on March 3, 2016)
  • Board member-at-large (younger than age 45 on March 3, 2016)
  • Member, AAOS National Membership Committee
  • Four nominees, American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery (ABOS)

The 2016 Nominating Committee is actively soliciting suggestions for individuals who might serve in these positions. Please prepare your recommendations, along with a paragraph on your candidates and why you believe they are uniquely qualified for the position for which you are nominating them. Send this information to John R. Tongue, MD, chair, 2016 Nominating Committee, c/o AAOS Office of General Counsel, 9400 West Higgins Road, Rosemont, Ill. 60018-4202.