Because 2008 is a presidential election year, AAOS members can anticipate an increased focus on healthcare issues at the national level as candidates tout their reform proposals. (See “Where do they stand on healthcare?” page 34.) Although the leading presidential candidates are recommending sweeping changes to the healthcare system, many specific issues will continue to be addressed at the state level. That’s where state orthopaedic society can make a difference—and why the AAOS is launching a membership drive to support state orthopaedic societies.
“We are committed to the growth of state societies,” said Alan Routman, MD, chair of the Board of Councilors State Orthopaedic Societies Committee. “The Academy is working hard on behalf of orthopaedic surgeons on Capitol Hill, but the state societies are quite valuable in demonstrating solidarity at the state level, where a lot of important legislative issues are addressed.”
Legislative issues being decided at the state level include scope of practice, workers’ compensation, and access to care. Local marketplace issues are reshaping practices and require a concerted response.
State societies are effective
In many states, state orthopaedic societies have been very effective. For example, the Nevada Orthopaedic Society (NVOS) was instrumental in achieving liability reform in the state. NVOS was a driving force in a grassroots effort to pass a ballot initiative that strengthened the initial tort reform bill. It also helped defeat two ballot initiatives introduced by trial attorneys in an attempt to make important tort reform provisions unconstitutional.
The Florida Orthopaedic Society played a pivotal role in saving and reforming the state’s no-fault automobile insurance system. For the first time, the state statute recognizes the critical role that specialists play in the delivery of emergency care by reserving a portion of the benefits to ensure physicians receive compensation for rendering emergency services.
In scope of practice issues, both the Tennessee Orthopaedic Society and the Texas Orthopaedic Association were successful in helping set patient care-focused boundaries for podiatry practices.
Grassroots efforts pay off
“State orthopaedic societies form the grassroots of our orthopaedic community,” Dr. Routman said. “We encourage AAOS members to embrace these grassroots efforts and support their state societies through membership and active participation.”
In addition to their advocacy efforts, state societies deliver a myriad of critical services to members on a local level. For example, many state societies host annual scientific meetings, provide practice management resources, and conduct socio-economic seminars and training for members and residents. State society communications networks can alert members about state-level regulatory issues and payer reimbursement rules that affect the business of orthopaedics.
Sign up with your state
The AAOS state society membership drive will continue through September 2008, and will recognize state societies that achieve the greatest membership increases (absolute and percentage growth).
For more information about how to contact the orthopaedic society in your state, visit the AAOS state societies Web page at www.aaos.org