|Sports Bill Passes Senate; Hospital Consolidation; Infection Control for Ortho|
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|Senate Passes Sports Medicine Licensure Clarity Act
Following its passage out of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) committee on July 9, the Sports Medicine Licensure Clarity Act (S.808) unanimously passed the full Senate on September 6. The legislation, should it become law, would ensure that sports medicine professionals are properly covered by their malpractice insurance while traveling with athletic teams in another state.
“We’re proud to see this bill get the support of the House and now the Senate,” said American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) President David A. Halsey, MD. “Traveling sports medicine providers should not have to choose between treating injured athletes at great professional and financial risk, or handing over care to a less familiar provider—reducing patients’ access to quality health care services.”
|House Committee Calls for Scrutiny of Hospital Consolidations
In an August 30 letter to the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC), Republican leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee called for an investigation into how the spate of hospital mergers is impacting Medicare costs. “Hospitals play a significant role in the health care market and are thus likely to have a role in influencing health care costs, particularly as it relates to the Medicare program,” they wrote.
According to a report from the Government Accountability Office, vertical integration among hospitals increased 21 percent from 2007-2013. The letter points out that there is conflicting information, however, how this trend is affecting health care costs for patients. For example, a 2016 report suggested that consolidation can help reduce costs by 15 to 30 percent. Other reports conclude that it generally results in higher prices, often exceeding 20 percent. The letter states, “Even more concerning is a study that suggested merging hospitals resulted in 40 percent higher prices than non-merging hospitals.”
|NIH Study Broadens Understanding of High Impact Chronic Pain
A new study released on August 7, marks an important step forward in identifying High Impact Chronic Pain (HICP) in the United States. The HICP designation was first coined in the National Institute for Health’s (NIH) National Pain Strategy, released on March 18, 2016, which served as the federal government’s first coordinated plan for reducing the burden of chronic pain.
The National Pain Strategy focused on six key areas:
1. Population research
2. Prevention and care
4. Service delivery and payment
5. Professional education and training
6. Public education and communication.