Today’s Top Story
HHS issues warning on ransomware attacks.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has issued email guidance regarding a recent ransomware attack on healthcare organizations. Ransomware restricts user access to the computer until the user pays a fee to the attackers, and can be delivered via email by attachments or links within the email. In the recent series of attacks, malicious users have been directing attacks at Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) servers open to the internet. HHS advises the following:

  • If you do not need RDP, disable the service on the computer.
  • If you need RDP, block unauthorized network connections using Access Control Lists or firewalls, especially from any address on the internet.

In addition, HHS urges users to use caution when opening emails, as attackers can impersonate other senders; not to click unexpected links in emails; and to keep their antivirus software up to date. Read the HHS email…
Learn more about the ransomware attack…
Read more in The New York Times

Other News

Bills in some state legislatures would limit effect of MOC requirements.
According to an article in MedPage Today, at least 17 states are considering bills that, if enacted, would limit the ability of health plans, hospitals, and/or state licensing agencies to require physicians to be board certified and/or participate in periodic maintenance of certification (MOC) programs. Supporters argue that some MOC programs are outdated and have little impact on quality of care. The article also cites concerns among providers that some states may begin requiring board certification as a condition of state licensure. Read more…(registration may be required)

Study: Operative treatment may offer little advantage for acute, complete AC joint dislocation.
Findings from a study conducted in Canada and published online in the Journal of Orthopaedic Trauma suggest that hook plate fixation may not be superior to nonoperative treatment for acute, complete acromioclavicular (AC) joint dislocation. The authors conducted a randomized, controlled trial of 83 patients with acute, complete dislocation of the AC joint. Overall, 43 patients were treated nonoperatively and 40 were treated operatively. At 3-month follow-up, they found that patients in the non-operative cohort had better physical health scores than the operative cohort based on the Short Form-36 (SF-36) version 2 survey. There were no significant differences between the physical health scores of the two groups at any other time point (6 weeks, 6 months, 1 year, and 2 years). Further, SF-36 mental health scores were similar between the non-operative and operative groups at all follow-up intervals. Read the abstract…

Study: More older patients undergo spinal deformity surgery, but no increase in complication rates.
A study published in the May issue of The Spine Journal examines trends in spinal deformity surgery among older patients. The researchers reviewed information from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample database on an estimated 29,237 patients who underwent adult spinal deformity surgery between 2004 and 2011. They found that surgical incidence among patients aged 60 years and older increased during that period from 1.9 to 6.5 cases per 100,000 people, while utilization in patients younger than 60 increased from 0.59 to 0.93. Data suggest that the largest increase in surgical utilization was for patients aged 65–69 years, with an increase of 0.68 patients per 100,000 people per year, followed by patients aged 70–74 years, with a rate of 0.56 patients per 100,000 people per year. The researchers write that, although complication risk increased with age, within-age group rates remained stable over time. They note that inflation-adjusted mean hospital charges increased from $171,517 in 2004 to $303,479 in 2011. Read the abstract…

The Associated Press reports that a bill passed by the Missouri General Assembly would, if enacted, limit the amount of money plaintiffs could receive for medical costs in injury lawsuits. Under the proposal, those who file suit could request reimbursement for medical costs only up to the amount actually paid by plaintiffs and insurers, not the amount billed by providers. Supporters say the change would prevent lawyers from asking for more money than is warranted. Critics argue that the legislation could punish people for purchasing health insurance, noting that their medical costs likely will be lower since insurance companies can negotiate lower rates. Read more…

As reported in The Bulletin, the Oregon Supreme Court has ruled that patients can bring medical liability cases not only when they are injured, but also when they are denied a treatment with a potentially better outcome. A circuit court had previously dismissed the case on the grounds that so-called “loss of chance” is not a cause of action for medical liability suits in the state, and an appellate court had upheld that decision. Some observers state that the ruling could increase the number of lawsuits, drive up the cost of medical liability insurance, and increase the practice of defensive medicine. Read more…

Last chance to vote on AAOS 2018 Nominating Committee, two resolutions, and three bylaw amendments.
Voting is open to elect the six members of the 2018 Nominating Committee and to determine action on two AAOS resolutions and three bylaw amendments. Online voting is quick, secure, and confidential. For the resolutions and bylaw amendments, at least 5 percent of the total fellowship must cast ballots for the voting to be valid. Ballots must be submitted by Wednesday, May 17, 2017. If you have questions, please contact the AAOS Voting Hotline, at 800-999-2939. An AAOS member ID is required to vote. Learn more and cast your ballot…(member login required)