Meaningful Use Delay Legislation, IPAB Implementation Date, and More
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Congress Focuses on Meaningful Use Delay and Interoperablity On July 30, 2015, Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC) introduced H.R. 3309 – the Further Flexibility in HIT Reporting and Advancing Interoperability Act or Flex-IT 2 Act – to address concerns with CMS’ proposed rules for Meaningful Use Stage 3 rules for the Medicare and Medicaid EHRs Incentive Programs. The legislation encompasses 5 measures: (1) delay Stage 3 Rulemaking until at least 2017, or MIPS final rules or at least 75 percent of doctors and hospitals are successful in meeting Stage 2 requirements; (2) harmonize reporting requirements (MU, PQRS, IQR) to remove duplicative measurement and streamline requirements from CMS; (3) institutes a 90-day reporting period for each year, regardless of stage or program experience; (4) encourages interoperability among EHR systems; and (5) expands hardship exemptions. Click here to read more.
IPAB Will Be Triggered in 2017 On July 22, 2015, the Medicare Trustees – a group that oversees the financial operations of the Hospital Insurance and Supplementary Medical Insurance trust funds – released a report that states implementation of the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) will be triggered for the first time in 2017. The IPAB, opposed by the AAOS, is required to recommend cuts if Medicare exceeds spending growth thresholds. The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation in June that would eliminate sections 3403 and 10320 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and repeal the IPAB before it is activated (read more in Advocacy Now here). The Senate companion version, S. 141, was introduced by Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) in January and it has so far received 41 cosponsors. However, the bill’s fate in that chamber is uncertain as many have argued there is no urgency to pass the legislation. The recent Trustees’ announcement directly refutes this idea and reinforces the need to repeal the IPAB as soon as possible. Click here to read more.
Ways and Means Introduces Legislation House Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI), Health Subcommittee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX), Health Subcommittee member Kenny Marchant (R-TX), and Human Resources Subcommittee Chairman Charles Boustany (R-LA) introduced three bills last week that would reform Medicare’s payment systems. The legislation builds on comments the committee received on Subcommittee Chairman Brady’s Hospital Improvements for Payment discussion draft, the recent regulatory notices from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and work done by the Medicare Payment Advisory Committee (MedPAC).

“Congress has already acted on payment reform earlier this year, passing H.R. 2,” the committee wrote in a press release. “That legislation, signed by the President, reforms the way Medicare pays physicians, making the program more accountable and putting quality first. These three bills would bring the same principles of reform to the hospital payment systems. The Committee looks forward to receiving feedback and comments on this approach to help improve on these concepts and make payment reform a successful endeavor.”

Click here to read more.

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AAOS Joins AMA Task Force on Opioids The AAOS has joined the American Medical Association (AMA) and more than two dozen other medical organizations to address the growing epidemic of opioid abuse. As expressed in an AMA press release, opioid abuse is a serious public health problem that has reached crisis levels across the United States, “with 44 people dying each day from overdose of opioids, and many more becoming addicted.” TheAMA Task Force to Reduce Opioid Abuse is working to identifying the best practices to combat this public health crisis and move swiftly to implement those practices across the country. “We have joined together as part of this special Task Force because we collectively believe that it is our responsibility to work together to provide a clear road map that will help bring an end to this public health epidemic,” said AMA Board Chair-Elect Patrice A. Harris, M.D., MA. “We are committed to working long-term on a multi-pronged, comprehensive public health approach to end opioid abuse in America.” Click here to read more.
Health Care Systems Committee Talks MIPs and APMs The Health Care Systems Committee, chaired by Alexandra Page, MD, held their annual Summer Summit in Rosemont, Illinois on July 24, 2015. The summit focused on the MIPs (Merit-based Incentive Program System) language as formed by MACRA (Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act) and the potential impact on orthopaedic surgeons. Kate Goodrich, MD, MHA, CMS Director of Quality Measurement and Health Assessment and Amy Bassano, CMMI Director of Patient Care Models Group presented via teleconference on MIPs and Alternative Payment Models (APMs) respectively. Bassano also discussed the recently proposed Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement (CCJR) payment model, which would test bundled payment and quality measurement for an episode of care associated with hip and knee replacements (read more in AAOS Now online here). AAOS staff and committee members were able to get clarification on the proposed rule. Click here to read more.
Podiatry Legislation Delayed After AAOS Efforts Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH) recently introduced the VA Provider Equity Act (H.R. 3016), which would essentially place podiatrists on the same fee schedule as doctors of medicine and osteopathy within the Veterans’ Affairs (VA) medical system. Furthermore, the bill would also make podiatrists eligible for the very same leadership positions usually reserved for highly qualified physicians. Both the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) and the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society (AOFAS) had immediate concerns with the legislation. Click here to read more.
Resident Assembly On August 18, 2015 at 8:15 PM eastern time, the Resident Assembly Health Policy Committee is holding a webinar on “Orthopaedic Advocacy: How to Get Involved as a Resident Member.”  It will feature AAOS President David Teuscher and Resident Assembly Health Policy Committee members Dennis Ortiz, Patrick Marinello, Daniel Davis, Nicholas Bonazza and Joe Petfeld as they discuss current health policy issues, their relevance to residents, and opportunities to become involved.  For residents, it is an excellent opportunity to get an update on relevant health policy issues.

Specifically, the webinar will include:

  • AAOS President David Teuscher discussing AAOS Health Policy initiatives
  • Resident Committee Members summarizing the four most important health policy topics applicable to you as residents
  • Opportunities to become involved as residents

RSVP for Webinar

AAOS Orthopaedic PAC Online Contribution Center

Starting July 29, 2015, please contact Graham Newson at with any Orthopaedic PAC questions or concerns!

The Orthopaedic PAC website features an online contribution center, which can 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 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!