Today’s Top Story
Can bundled payments help reduce readmissions?
A perspective piece published in HealthLeaders Media looks at the issue of bundled payments and 30-day readmissions. According to information from the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, all-cause 30-day hospital readmissions for Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries ranged from 19 percent to 19.5 percent from 2007 to 2011, but rates fell to 18.5 percent in 2012 and 17.5 percent in 2013. A spokesperson for one hospital that adopted a bundled payment system for hip and knee procedures states that readmission rates have fallen 60 percent since the introduction of bundled payments.
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Other News

Study: Preoperative chlorhexidine gluconate may help reduce infection among THA and TKA patients, but more research needed.
Two studies published in the July issue of the journal Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research suggest that use of a preoperative chlorhexidine gluconate disinfection protocol may reduce the risk of periprosthetic infections after total hip and total knee arthroplasty (THA and TKA). In the first study, researchers looked at data on 998 THA patients who used chlorhexidine cloths prior to surgery and 2,846 THA patients who underwent standard perioperative disinfection only. They found that patients in the intervention group were at reduced risk of infection compared to those in the control group. The researchers state that no differences were detected across cohorts when patients were stratified based on risk category, but note that the findings were underpowered.
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     In the second study, the research team reviewed data on 991 TKA patients who used chlorhexidine cloths before surgery and 2,726 TKA patients who did not. They found that use of the preoperative chlorhexidine cloth skin preparation protocol was associated with reduced relative risk of periprosthetic infection after TKA. However, when stratified by risk category, periprosthetic infection risk reduction was seen in the medium-risk category, but there was no significant difference across the low- and medium-risk groups. “Although future multicenter randomized trials will need to confirm these preliminary findings,” the research team writes, “the intervention is inexpensive and is unlikely to be risky and therefore might be considered on the basis of this retrospective, comparative study.”
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Senator requests information from HSS on advisory panel ties to pharmaceutical industry.
Modern Healthcare reports that, in a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), a U.S Senator is requesting information on the selection process for panelists that advised the National Institutes of Health on opioids and other painkillers. The Associated Press had previously reported that “nearly half” of non-federal members on the panel had apparent links to pharmaceutical companies or advocacy groups that receive funding from drug manufacturers. The senator has asked HHS to turn over information on standards used to choose panelists, and to explain how each panel member met those standards. He has also asked for copies of the nomination forms related to the panel and all instances when the panel received comments from the pharmaceutical industry.
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Study: Use of heat stroke protocol linked to reduction in exertional heat stroke deaths among high school football players.
Data from a study presented at the annual meeting of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association finds that adoption of heat acclimatization protocols has been associated with a reduction in the number of deaths related to heat stroke among high school football players. The researchers reviewed information on 48 high school football preseasons across 14 states that had adopted heat stroke prevention guidelines since 2011. They found only one exertional heat stroke death during the preseasons, and the incident was associated with violations of school policy. The guidelines were developed in association with the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Sports Medicine, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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As reported in AMA Wire, the Supreme Court of Florida will consider a case that could affect the release of patient safety information for use in medical liability suits. In the relevant case, a trial court had ordered the release of documents used for patient safety and quality improvement efforts as part of litigation discovery. An appeals court later overturned that decision, stating that information used for patient safety improvement efforts was privileged from discovery under the Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act of 2005.
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Submit your abstracts for the Orthopaedic Video Theater at the 2017 AAOS Annual Meeting!
Share your knowledge with orthopaedic surgeons from around the world at the 2017 AAOS Annual Meeting, to be held March 14-18, 2017, in San Diego. Nowhere else will your discoveries reach such a wide-ranging orthopaedic audience! July 15 is the deadline to submit abstracts for the Orthopaedic Video Theater. Please note that, prior to abstract submission, presenters and all coauthors must disclose current financial relationships in the AAOS Disclosure Database Program. Disclosure reported on April 1, 2016 or later is acceptable.
Submit your abstract…
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Last call: Council on Advocacy.
July 1 is the last day to submit your application for chair of the Council on Advocacy. The Council on Advocacy oversees and evaluates the legislative, regulatory, and health policy programs and initiatives of the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), as well as the Political Action Committee of the AAOS. Applicants for this position must be active fellows with experience in the AAOS committee and council structure and must have an understanding of the major legislative and regulatory healthcare issues of concern to the orthopaedic community.
Learn more and submit your application…(member login required)