Meaningful Use Final Rule, EHR Legislation, Senate Hearings, and More
For questions or concerns on these or other advocacy issues, contact the Office of Government Relations at
AAOS Disappointed in Release of Meaningful Use Stage 3 Final Rules

AAOS members took to Capitol Hill October 7th to express concerns with meaningful use program and release of Stage 3 rule.

On October 6, 2015, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released the final rule for Stage 3 of its meaningful use (MU) program for electronic health records (EHRs). AAOS, together with a multitude of other health care groups, had urged the administration to pause MU Stage 3 and reevaluate the program in light of recent changes to Medicare (read a recent letter to HHS here). EHRs are an essential foundation for the implementation of the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) program and Alternative Payment Models (APMs), and health information technology (HIT) generally is a fundamental component to improving our nation’s health care system. However, while approximately 80 percent of physicians are utilizing EHRs, less than 20 percent of physicians have successfully participated in MU Stage 2. The current HIT infrastructure does not provide for efficient electronic exchange of patient information and the MU program’s ambitious and prescriptive timetables hinder – instead of help – physicians’ abilities to provide quality care to their patients. Click here to read more.

Sharable content at your fingertips on the Academy?s social media pages
Creating daily posts on your social media pages can be challenging and time consuming. It also is a common dilemma that many social media users face.

The Academy can help! The AAOS social media pages can be YOUR resource for shareable, accurate bone and joint health content.  It’s where you can find posts on orthopaedic trends, breakthroughs, injury prevention tips and other musculoskeletal news. Simply follow us on Facebook and Twitter and share our posts. The following Academy sites are additional resources for valuable content for your social media pages:

  • provides inspirational patient stories and orthopaedic surgeon tips on maintaining bone and joint health, avoiding injuries, treating musculoskeletal conditions and navigating recovery.  Members who submit an “Ortho-pinion” or “Surgeon Bio” for A Nation in Motion® can link directly to their article, and post it on social media.
  • for patient information on hundreds of orthopaedic diseases and conditions.
  • offers an array of distracted driving resources, from facts and stats to a “Wreck-less Checklist,” videos and downloadable content.
  • The Academy’s YouTube channel, at, offers more than 140 short videos, including public service announcements and interviews on injury prevention, obesity and other patient health topics.
  • offers images and links to bone and joint health news, stats, facts and images.

Please email if you have questions.

Happy Sharing!

Senators Introduce Legislation to Improve Electronic Health Records Sens. Bill Cassidy, MD (R-LA) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) last week introduced bipartisan legislation to strengthen accountability and improve transparency in electronic health records (EHRs). The Transparent Ratings on Usability and Security to Transform Information Technology (TRUST IT) Act of 2015 would help ensure that certified health IT systems are performing as promised in the field, and establish a rating system that will enable consumers to compare different products based on that performance.

“As a physician, time is better spent looking into a patient’s eyes to make sure that she comprehends that even though she has cancer, there is hope — as opposed to clicking through a computer screen to document something unimportant to her and required by someone far removed from the exam room,” said Dr. Cassidy. “This bill implements better coordination in the electronic health records (EHRs) system. Doctors will be able to better care for their patients and in turn, deliver on the promise that their information is being used for their benefit and not for the benefit of others.”

“Right now, after a health IT product is certified for use, there’s no way to ensure that it continues to deliver as promised for doctors and patients, and no way to easily compare one product to another,” said Sen. Whitehouse. “This bill will establish important safeguards to prevent systems from underperforming and will grade them on their performance – changes that will improve market competition and drive innovation.  I thank Senator Cassidy for working with me on this bill and I hope we will have to opportunity to consider it in the HELP Committee in the months ahead.”

Click here to read more.

What We’re Reading *** McCarthy Drops Out of House Speaker Race – Follow @AAOSAdvocacy on Twitter for Updates! After McCarthy’s Exit, Who’s in the Running to Replace Boehner? Politico, 10/8/15 Kevin McCarthy Drops Out of House Speaker Race, New York Times, 10/8/15 Obama Signs Bipartisan Tweak of Healthcare Law, The Hill, 10/8/15 OIG Alert Hints at Increased Scrutiny over Data Blocking in Health IT, Modern Healthcare, 10/8/15 Mixed Reviews for CMS’s Final Meaningful Use Rules, Medpage Today, 10/7/15 Senators Propose Bill to Create Health IT Rating System, FierceEMR, 10/7/15 Legislation Would Bar Medicare Advantage Plans from Dropping Doctors Midyear, Modern Healthcare, 10/7/15 Hillary Clinton’s Health Care Plans Might Be Headed Nowhere, National Journal, 10/4/15
Senate HIT Hearing On October 1, 2015 the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) held a hearing entitled, “Achieving the Promise of Health Information Technology.” This hearing was the sixth hearing in the 114th Congress on health information technology (HIT) and electronic health records (EHR). The two key witnesses were Dr. Karen B. DeSalvo, MD, MPH, MSc, National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, and Dr. Patrick Conway, MD, MSc, Acting Principal Deputy Administrator, Deputy Administrator for Innovation and Quality, and Chief Medical Officer at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Click here to read more.
Legislators Introduce Loan Forgiveness Legislation for Pediatric Subspecialists Earlier this year, Representatives Chris Collins (R-NY) and Joe Courtney (D-CT) introduced the Ensuring Children’s Access to Specialty Care Act of 2015 (H.R. 1859), which would modify the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) loan repayment program to allow pediatric subspecialists working in underserved areas to participate. AAOS sent a letter of support to Collins and Courtney last week, saying the bill “takes the significant steps to begin to address the need for fairness in the loan repayment program.” Click here to read more.
Risk Evaluation & Mitigation Strategies: Understanding and Evaluating Their Impact on the Health Care Delivery System & Patient Access The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a public meeting entitled, “Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies (REMS): Understanding and Evaluating Their Impact on the Health Care Delivery System and Patient Access.”  The FDA hosted this meeting on October 5, 2015.  The purpose of the public meeting was to engage in constructive dialogue and information among various stakeholders concerning the impact of REMS on the healthcare delivery system, including the impact of patients and health care providers.  The meeting was built on prior stakeholder feedback on the design, implementation, and assessment of REMS obtained through public meetings, stakeholder outreach, and comments to the public docket.  There were also recommendations and suggestions recently summarized in the Agency’s report entitled “Standardizing and Evaluating Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies.”  Click here to read more.
PQRS Informal Review Process In 2016, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will apply a negative payment adjustment to individual eligible professionals (EPs) and group practices participating in the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) and group practice reporting option (GPRO) that did not satisfactorily report PQRS in 2014. Individuals and groups that receive the 2016 negative payment adjustment will not receive a 2014 PQRS incentive payment. Click here to read more.
Ambulatory Surgery Center Association Meets in DC On September 24-25, 2015, the Ambulatory Surgery Center Association (ASCA) hosted a meeting on the “Evolution of Outpatient Surgery Summit,” at the St. Regis Hotel in Washington, DC.  The focus of this meeting was so that the Ambulatory Surgery Center Association (ASCA) may display the value of moving higher acuity orthopaedic cases into the outpatient setting to national commercial health insurance companies.  To achieve this, ASCA brought together ASC management company’s senior staff, surgeons, ASC administrators, innovative payers, and leading manufacturing corporations to discuss how the industry can conform to the evolving procedures performed in the outpatient setting. Click here to read more.
MDEpiNet PPP Annual Meeting- October 1 -2, 2015 The American Joint Replacement Registry (AJRR) attended and presented at the 2015 Medical Device Epidemiology Network (MDEpiNet) PPP Annual Meeting, “Harnessing Evidence from Clinical Experience: Ecosystem-Driven Solutions to Patient-Centric, Device-Focused Information” meeting hosted by MDEpiNet.  The goal of MDEpiNet is to develop tools, data sources, scientific infrastructure, and operational best practices for the implementation of the “National Device Evaluation System.”  Click here to read more.