oday’s Top Story
AMA introduces MACRA payment model evaluator for physician practices.
The American Medical Association (AMA) recently unveiled its Payment Model Evaluator, a free online tool designed to help physicians determine how new Medicare payment models under the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) of 2015 will impact their practices. According to the AMA, the instrument, developed with the expertise of physicians and input from partners, provides physicians and their staffs with guidance on how to participate in the MACRA payment model best suited for them, and also provides relevant resources. The AMA will continually update the Payment Model Evaluator to respond to regulatory changes and to keep practices up to date about evolving MACRA rules.
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Other News

Physicians outscore symptom checkers in test of diagnostic accuracy.
A research letter published this week in JAMA Internal Medicine finds that physicians’ diagnostic accuracy is better than that of online symptom-checker programs, Modern Healthcare reports. The researchers distributed 45 standardized patient cases to 234 physicians and compared the physicians’ diagnostic accuracy against 23 symptom checkers. Physician diagnoses were reviewed by two separate doctors to determine whether the correct diagnosis was listed first or in the top three diagnoses. Across all cases, physicians listed the correct diagnosis first 72.1 percent of the time, while symptom checkers listed the correct diagnosis first 34 percent of the time. Physicians were also more likely than symptom checkers to list the correct diagnosis for more serious conditions and more uncommon diagnoses; the symptom checkers fared a bit better at listing the correct diagnosis for less serious conditions and more common diagnoses.
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Hospital-sponsored study points to drug companies for spikes in prescription spending.
A report commissioned by two hospital industry groups found that increases in spending on inpatient drugs have largely been driven by sharp increases in prescription drug prices and not by higher usage of the same drugs or switching to pricier alternatives for treatment of the same condition. Between 2013 and 2015, hospitals’ average annual inpatient drug spending increased by some 23 percent, the study reported, with the increase on a per-admission basis even higher—39 percent. At a press briefing, the chief pharmacy officer of the Cleveland Clinic noted that hospitals were seeing large price increases for generic drugs whose prices had long remained stable, reported Kaiser Health News in Healthcare IT News. “It would be one thing if price increases were associated with clear and important clinical improvements, but they’re not,” said Chip Kahn, chief executive of the Federation of American Hospitals, which sponsored the study along with the American Hospital Association. A spokesperson for a pharmaceutical trade group said the report gave a distorted picture by focusing on isolated examples and drugs and downplayed the effect of hospital markups in driving the drug spending increases.
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Study: Higher surgeon volume linked to fewer complications for TAA.
A study published in the October issue of the journal Foot & Ankle International suggests that increased surgeon volume may be associated with decreased complication rates and hospital length of stay following total ankle arthroplasty (TAA). The authors conducted a retrospective cohort study of 4,800 TAA patients and found that the 90th percentile of surgeon volume was 21 cases per year. Based on multivariate analysis, they found that procedures performed by high-volume surgeons were associated with decreased overall complications and rate of medial malleolus fracture, shorter length of stay, and lower hospital charges.
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Study: Revision MOM and MOP patients may see similar outcomes at 1 year.
Data published online in The Journal of Arthroplasty suggest that patients who undergo revision following the failure of metal-on-metal (MOM) total hip arthroplasty (THA) bearings may see similar outcomes as those who undergo revision of metal-on-polyethylene (MOP) bearings. The research team compared physical (PCS) and mental (MCS) function at preoperative baseline and postoperative follow-up for 75 first-time MOM THA revisions and 104 first-time MOP revisions. They found that PCS did not vary between cohorts preoperatively, nor at 1-month, 3-month, and 1-year follow-up. The research team noted that MCS was lower in the MOM cohort compared to patients in the MOP cohort preoperatively and at 1- and 3-month follow-ups, but at 1 year, MCS scores were not significantly different between cohorts.
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Call for volunteers: AAOS Emergency Medical Services Program Product Line series editor.
Oct. 28 is the last day to submit your application for the position of series editor designee for AAOS’s Emergency Medical Services product line. Applicants for this position must be active or emeritus fellows with extensive knowledge or current experience as an emergency medical technician, paramedic, or emergency medical services director.
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Call for volunteers: NQF Infectious Disease Standing Committee.
AAOS seeks to nominate members to the National Quality Forum (NQF) Infectious Disease Standing Committee. As part of NQF’s ongoing work with performance measurement for infectious diseases and conditions, this project seeks to identify and endorse performance measures for accountability and quality improvement. Overall, 16 NQF-endorsed measures due for maintenance and newly submitted measures will be reevaluated against the most recent NQF measure evaluation criteria. Applicants for this position must be active fellows, candidate members, candidate members osteopathic, candidate member applicants for fellowship, or candidate member applicants for fellowship osteopathic. In addition, all applicants must provide the following: an online AAOS CAP application, a current curriculum vitae, a 100-word biosketch, and a letter of interest highlighting their expertise in the subject area. All supporting materials must be submitted by Nov. 1, 2016, at 11:59 p.m. CT, to Kyle Shah at shah@aaos.org.
Learn more and submit your application…(member login required)