Today’s Top Story
CMS to phase out use of Social Security numbers for Medicare; providers will need to update EHRs.
An article in Modern Healthcare notes that providers will need to change certain billing practices as the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) works to remove Social Security numbers from Medicare identification cards. The agency has mandated the removal to reduce risk of identity theft and fraud. According to a panel of experts assembled by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, providers will be required to update their electronic health record (EHR) systems to accept new Medicare identification numbers, or risk losing their ability to bill Medicare once the old numbers are phased out on Jan. 1, 2020. Read more…(registration may be required)

Other News

Study: Transosseous technique may reduce pain following arthroscopic rotator cuff repair.
Data published online in The American Journal of Sports Medicine suggest that postoperative pain may decrease more quickly after transosseous hardware-free suture repair compared to single-row anchor fixation for rotator cuff repair. The authors conducted a randomized, controlled trial of 69 patients with rotator cuff tear, 35 of whom were treated with metal anchors and 34 of whom were treated with standardized transosseous repair. They found no significant difference between the two arthroscopic repair techniques in terms of functional and radiological results. However, patients in the transosseous cohort had significantly less pain, especially from postoperative day 15. Read the abstract…

Study: What factors are associated with wound complication following TAA?
A study published online in the journal Foot & Ankle International examines factors that may be linked with increased risk of wound complication following total ankle arthroplasty (TAA). The researchers reviewed prospectively collected data on 762 consecutive primary TAAs. They found that 26 patients (3.4 percent) had a total of 49 operative procedures to treat major wound issues. Compared to patients in the control group, the researchers noted that patients with major wounds had a significantly longer mean surgery time and trended toward a longer median tourniquet time. Overall, patients without wound complications were more likely to have posttraumatic arthritis, while those with wound complications were more likely to have primary osteoarthritis. Read the abstract…

CMS navigation program appears to have positive effect on dual-legible Medicare-Medicaid enrollees.
According to a report released by CMS, early findings of the CMS Financial Alignment Initiative to test integrated care and financing models for dual-eligible Medicare-Medicaid enrollees suggest that implementation of the program has been associated with improved care for low income disabled patients. The researchers drew information from site visits and various data sources regarding enrollment, disenrollment, and other operations of the Medicare-Medicaid Plans. Read more…(registration may be required)
Read the report (PDF)…

Study: Moderate to vigorous physical activity linked to increased bone strength among adolescents.
Findings from a study published online in The Journal of Bone and Mineral Research suggest that a lack of physical activity may reduce bone strength in adolescents. The research team used high resolution peripheral quantitative computed tomography (HR-pQCT) to evaluate 209 participants aged 9 to 20 years at baseline. They conducted a maximum of four annual measurements at the tibia (n = 785 observations) and radius (n = 582 observations). The research team found that moderate-to-vigorous physical activity was a positive independent predictor of bone strength and bone volume fraction at the tibia and radius, of total area and cortical porosity at the tibia, and a negative predictor of load-to-strength ratio at the radius. Read more…
Read the abstract…

Do non-profit hospitals “cherry pick” patients?
An article in Modern Healthcare examines comments from the chief executive of a large, not-for-profit healthcare system, who recently stated that the system may prioritize commercially insured patients to remain fiscally viable. The writer notes that non-profit hospitals are exempt from federal, state, and local taxes, in return for providing benefits to the community such as care for the publicly insured, uninsured, or indigent. However, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service does not set a minimum of community benefits that hospitals must provide to gain tax exemptions, and a 2009 study of not-for-profit hospitals found that about 9 percent of the hospitals accounted for 60 percent of the aggregate community benefit expenditures, based on data from 2006. Read more…(registration may be required)

Last call: Committee positions closing soon!
A number of openings on the AAOS Committee Appointment Program website are closing March 31. Act now to apply for the following positions:

  • Biological Implants Committee (one member)
  • Central Evaluation Committee
    • Hand (two members)
    • Oncology (one member)
    • Shoulder and elbow (one member)
  • Health Care Systems Committee (two members, one member-at-large)
  • Instructional Course Committees
    • Pediatrics (one member)
    • Spine (four members)
    • Tumor (two members)
  • Program Committees
    • Adult Reconstruction Hip (five members)
    • Adult Reconstruction Knee (five members)
    • Practice Management/Rehabilitation (three members)
  • Women’s Health Issues Advisory Board (one member-at-large)

Learn more and submit your application…(member login required)