Legislation Introduced on Antitrust, Trauma, and Medicare Fraud Already this year, the 114th Congress has introduced a number of pieces of legislation important to orthopaedics. To start, Senator Cornyn (R-TX) introduced S. 141, which would repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), created by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to “reduce the per capita rate of growth in Medicare spending.” AAOS joined a number of medical organizations in a letter of support for the legislation, explaining that IPAB is the wrong solution for addressing budgetary challenges, and that such a policy could negatively affect timely access to quality health care. Read the letter here. Click here to read more.

New member benefit coming YOUR way
The Academy launches AAOS TV at next month’s Annual Meeting Introducing AAOS TV, a FREE member benefit that offers a new avenue for patient engagement in your waiting rooms.  Be one of the first to preview this new video at the AAOS Trending Exhibit during the 2015 Annual Meeting in Las Vegas. AAOS TV features content that is educational, informational and inspirational, including segments on injury prevention, orthopaedic advocacy calls-to-action and A Nation in Motion®, the Academy’s public awareness campaign. The goal of AAOS TV is to introduce patients to the depth of bone and joint health, and offer resources and tools to help them navigate their orthopaedic journey. Click here to read more.
SGR Lobby Day Results It was a real—as well as a virtual—convergence in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 4, 2015. Members of the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), as well as representatives from other medical specialty associations, flew to the Capitol to urge members of Congress to repeal and replace the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula before the current SGR patch expires on March 31. Physicians from around the country also participated virtually—using email, Twitter, and phone calls—to tell their representatives about the importance of a permanent SGR repeal to practices and their patients. “Permanent repeal and replacement of the SGR formula has been and continues to be a top priority of the AAOS,” stated Thomas C. Barber, MD, chair of the AAOS Council on Advocacy. “Continuing the reckless system of patch after patch is harmful to the economy and to Medicare patients seeking access to specialties they desperately need. Physicians must have adequate support to provide coordinated care that will improve health, prevent costly complications, and enable physician participation in new payment and delivery models. We urge Congress to enact legislation to repeal and replace the SGR before the expiration of the current patch.” Click here to read more.
ICD-10 Hearing and GAO Report On February 11, 2014, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health held a hearing to explore U.S. preparedness to adopt ICD-10 later this year. Physicians and other eligible professionals are expected to be in compliance with the newly government mandated ICD-10 diagnostic coding system by October, which would increase codes to 68,000 from the 13,000 ICD-9 diagnostic codes currently in place.  In the background memo, the committee notes that the International Statistical Institute, in 1891, began the process of creating an internationally recognized classification of diseases to help facilitate our understanding of mortality. “This effort, through successful revisions to the original list, would become known as the first International Classification of Diseases (ICD) Procedure Coding System,” the committee memo wrote. “The World Health Organization began work on the tenth edition of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10) coding system in 1983, and it has been available for adoption by countries for over a decade.” Click here to read more.
Members of Congress Address Extremity War Injuries Symposium Participants On January 26-28, 2015, AAOS – together with the Orthopaedic Trauma Association, Society of Military Orthopaedic Surgeons, and Orthopaedic Research Society – hosted the tenth annual Extremity War Injuries (EWI) symposium in Washington, DC. The EWI symposia series promotes the collaboration of military and civilian orthopaedic surgeons and researchers to advance the care of the wounded warrior. While past symposia have focused on a range of challenges facing military orthopaedists (from protective equipment to prevent injury to initial care of the injured combatant through resuscitation and air-evacuation), the tenth annual EWI focused on a return to health and function. EWI X featured sessions on posttraumatic osteoarthritis and prosthetic advancement, spine-related disabilities, and extremity injury and reconstruction, which also have applications in the civilian patient population. Click here to read more.
GOP Offers ACA Replacement Earlier this month, Sens. Richard Burr (R-NC) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) with House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) unveiled the Patient Choice, Affordability, Responsibility, and Empowerment (CARE) Act—a legislative plan that repeals the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and replaces it with reforms they say will reduce health care costs and increase access to affordable, high-quality care. A similar proposal was released last year by Hatch and Burr as well as former Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma. “Five years ago, America needed health reform. What we got was a law that has divided the country and hurt too many of the families that reform could have helped,” said Upton. “Republicans have always had positive ideas for how to strengthen our health care system by protecting patients with preexisting conditions, and empowering Americans with more affordable health care choices and transparency. With the Patient CARE Act, we’re presenting these ideas to the American people and offering a path to the health coverage and care they want and need.” Click here to read more.
Patient-Reported Outcomes in Surgery Conference On January 29–30, 2015 the Plastic Surgery Foundation held the Patient-Reported Outcomes in Surgery Conference in Washington, DC. The conference gathered world-renowned quality-of-life researchers and surgeons actively using Patient-Reported Outcomes (PRO) in their practices to discuss how to shape the future of PRO in all of surgery. The conference sought to develop strategies for making surgical PRO research data more accessible and interpretable to clinicians, patients, and payers to improve the quality of health care. Attendees also worked to identify issues with current PRO measurement, to prioritize research goals, and to create new reporting mechanisms. The program included presentations from patient advocates, payers, device industry representatives, and regulators. At the conference, many surgeons reported using PRO data to determine if surgery was necessary when comparing patients’ symptoms and outcomes. In addition, surgeons commented that using PRO data allowed them to more accurately provide estimated recovery time to patients. Quality-of-life researchers from the United Kingdom reported on a study on breast reconstructive surgery and questioned whether provider level comparison was the best use of the data. Instead, they suggested, the data would be better served if used to compare procedures. According to the researchers, provider level comparisons illuminate the outliers, but do little for promoting change. Click here to read more.
Congratulations to the Winners of the 2014 Stuart L. Weinstein, MD PAC 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. Throughout the year, the hard work in each of these states to increase grassroots fundraising efforts and engage their orthopaedic surgeons on the importance of the Orthopaedic PAC, have successfully set them apart as leaders in advocacy involvement. Please join us in congratulating their efforts! 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 www.aaos.org/pac 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!