State Societies and Hospital-Employed Orthopaedists

Gregory S. McDowell, MD

Hospital employment of orthopaedists may have some significant implications for orthopaedic state societies. The first inklings of the impact of hospital employment on state societies came during the Board of Councilors’ (BOC) 2008 fall meeting, when Thomas C. Barber, MD, and Matthew S. Shapiro, MD, presented data from state surveys in Oregon and California that suggested that state society participation was not a high priority for hospital-employed orthopaedic surgeons.

At the 2010 BOC fall meeting, Kevin J. Bozic, MD, MBA, moderated an excellent symposium on “Vertically Integrated Healthcare Delivery,” which included a question to the audience on their employment status. Within this leadership group (BOC members and Board of Specialty Society participants), 72 percent were not hospital employees. In fact, a longitudinal review of AAOS census data suggests that most U.S. orthopaedic surgeons are not hospital employees. According to the AAOS primer on “Hospital Employment of Orthopedic Surgeons,” only 500 of 5,000 accredited hospitals have a “bona fide orthopaedic employment program.”

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