Orthopaedic PAC Sets Records Under Leadership of PAC Chair Stuart L. Weinstein, MD Following nearly a decade of continued growth, the Orthopaedic PAC remains the only national PAC in Washington, D.C., representing the interests of orthopaedic surgeons before Congress. Through the leadership of PAC Chairman Stuart L. Weinstein, MD, the interest and involvement of AAOS fellows has continued to rise, culminating in a record-setting participation rate during the 2013–2014 election cycle. Although Dr. Weinstein’s term as PAC chair will end with the 2015 AAOS Annual Meeting, he hopes to see the PAC continue to grow as it has in the last decade, stressing the work is far from over. “We’ve achieved remarkable success, but we still have a long way to go. We still haven’t reached even a third of membership participation, and ideally, every AAOS member should understand the importance of contributing to the PAC,” he said. Click here to read more.
Ways and Means, Energy and Commerce Committees Advance Legislation On February 26, the House Ways and Means Committee advanced the Protecting Integrity of Medicare Act (PIMA), a bipartisan Medicare fraud package that includes the AAOS-endorsed Preventing and Reducing Improper Medicare and Medicaid (PRIME) Act. Specifically, the legislation includes increased outreach and education for providers by Medicare contractors, other program integrity efforts, and requires that the Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary issue guidance on the application of the “Common Rule,” which is a priority for hospital-based registries including the American Joint Replacement Registry (AJRR). “Every year that passes without addressing rampant Medicare fraud costs taxpayers billions and depletes the quality of this critical program for the American seniors who depend upon it for their healthcare,” said Congressman Roskam. “I’m proud that key provisions of my PRIME Act are included in this bipartisan package to root out deficiencies that leave Medicare vulnerable to scams and fraud. These commonsense reforms are necessary to ensure Medicare dollars can go to providing important health services, not lining the pockets of crooks. Congressman Carney has been a tremendous partner in the effort to develop these thoughtful reforms, and I want to thank him for his leadership on this issue and commitment to making government work better for the American people.” Click here to read more.
Sports Medicine Licensure Clarity Act Introduced Earlier this month, Representatives Brett Guthrie (R-KY) and Cedric Richmond (D-LA) reintroduced the Sports Medicine Licensure Clarity Act of 2015, which clarifies medical liability rules for sports medicine professionals to ensure they are properly covered by their professional liability insurance while traveling with athletic teams in another state. Specifically, the legislation (H.R. 921) stipulates that for the purposes of liability, health care services provided by a covered sports medicine professional to an athlete, an athletic team, or a staff member of an athlete or athletic team in a secondary state will be deemed to have been provided in the professional’s primary state of licensure. Today, most states do not provide legal protection for sports medicine professionals who travel to a secondary state, and medical liability insurance carriers do not cover sports medicine professionals when they travel with their team to states where they are not licensed to practice medicine. Click here to read more. Follow Our New Twitter Account @AAOSAdvocacy
What We’re Reading

King v. Burwell: A Quick Take on a Crucial Case, New York Times, Feb. 25, 2015 CMS Extends ‘Meaningful Use’ Deadlines, MedPageToday, February 25, 2015 Permanent SGR ‘Fix’ Unlikely in Near Term, MedPageToday, Feb. 24, 2015 Docs Don’t Need Fixing – Medicare Does, Forbes, Feb. 24, 2015 Supreme Court Case May Be A Wake-Up Call For Republicans, Kaiser Health News, Feb. 23, 2015 Working Together: The Only Approach to Prescription Abuse, Roll Call, Feb. 20, 2015

New EHR Attestation Deadline for Medicare Eligible Professionals: March 20, 2015 Eligible professionals now have until 11:59 pm ET on March 20, 2015, to attest to meaningful use for the Medicare Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program 2014 reporting year. According to its announcement, CMS extended the deadline “to allow providers extra time to submit their meaningful use data. CMS continues to urge providers to begin attesting for 2014 as soon as they can.” Providers who do not successfully attest for the 2014 program year will not receive incentives and will be subject to Medicare penalties starting January 1, 2016. The EHR reporting option for PQRS has also been extended until March 20, 2015. As laid out by CMS, providers can attest by submitting data to the Registration and Attestation System, which includes 2014 Certified EHR Technology (CEHRT) Flexibility Rule options. Tips for speed, according to CMS, include attesting during non-peak hours (such as evenings and weekends), and starting now to check that your information is up to date and begin entering your 2014 data. Click here to read more.
Governor Bob Ehrlich to Headline 2015 Orthopaedic PAC Luncheon

Thanks to the support of over 5,800 AAOS Fellows, the Orthopaedic PAC experienced its highest-ever participation rate and its federal disbursements ranked the PAC the 10th largest Association PAC in the country this election cycle. To show our appreciation, 2014 PAC donors are invited to attend the annual PAC luncheon on Wednesday, March 25, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada at 11:30AM (room: Venetian, Palazzo Ballroom M). If you would like to attend and have not yet RSVP’d, please contact Katrina Wallace at rsvp@aaos.org. Click here to read more.

2015 Washington Health Policy Fellows Announced

The Washington Health Policy Fellows Selection Committee has chosen Youssra Marjoua, MD, MPP and Daniel K. Moon, MD, MS, MBA as the 2015 Washington Health Policy Fellows. The program, through collaboration with the AAOS Office of Government Relations, seeks to foster the development of orthopaedic surgeons interested in health policy and advocacy. The fellows work on a number of projects, participate in the development and implementation of a cohesive health care policy strategy, and develop a strong foundation toward becoming leaders in a challenging and exciting health care environment.

Youssra Marjoua, MD, MPP graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and is a rising PGY5 orthopaedic surgery resident at the Harvard Combined Orthopaedic Residency Program in Boston, MA. Dr. Marjoua has pursued her interest in health policy through graduate training at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. There, she worked to analyze how health care systems can support or impede the appropriate delivery of care, to understand the existing infrastructure of health care delivery in the U.S. while also interpreting the wave of newly implemented rules and regulations through the lens of orthopaedics. She later worked as a health policy fellow in Congress prior to starting residency, and Dr. Marjoua intends to continue building the experience and expertise necessary to draw out the implications of policy for orthopaedic surgeons. Click here to read more.

Supreme Court Rules Against NC Dental Board

While not directly affecting orthopaedics, many have speculated that state medical boards may find it harder to “fence off the practice of medicine from nonphysicians” in the wake of last month’s ruling by the Supreme Court that North Carolina’s dental board violated antitrust laws when it shut down non-dentists from providing teeth whitening services (see this Medscape article). According to the American Medical Association (AMA), though the issue may be “couched” as a minor modification to the procedures of a dental practice board, “in fact this case will impact all professions, especially including the medical profession. If sustained, the FTC decision will infringe on the states’ powers, and it will undermine public health.”

The case centered on the issue of whether an official state regulatory board created by state law may be properly treated as a private actor because a majority of the board’s members are market participants. In North Carolina, the board, charged with regulating the practice of dentistry in North Carolina, had issued cease and desist letters to non-dentist teeth whitening service providers and distributors of teeth whitening products and equipment. In response, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) claimed that it was violating Section 5 of the FTC Act, 15 USC § 45 and for purposes of the antitrust laws, should be deemed a private person rather than part of a state government. The dental board, on the other hand, argued that it should not be subject to antitrust regulation under the immunity for state regulatory agencies. Click here to read more.