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Published 10/1/2008
Jacque Roche

New advocacy committee tackles Medicare issues

Members will serve as a resource for external entities

What are your “hot-button” issues? The ones that you, as an orthopaedic surgeon, want to weigh in on? No doubt, among them are issues that may not be yours to decide, but the decisions are ones that you’ll have to live by.

Issues that affect the entire healthcare system—such as the hospital-acquired conditions payment policy, bundled payments, and Medicare payments—are frequently decided by external entities, such as the government and private payors. And with the new Health Care Systems Committee, the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) has a way to bring the concerns and ideas of orthopaedic surgeons to those entities.

The Health Care Systems Committee (HCSC), led by Kevin J. Bozic, MD, MBA, reports directly to the AAOS Council on Advocacy, chaired by David A. Halsey, MD. As stated in the charges, the overall mission of the committee is to provide the government, private payors, and other external entities with the provider input and clinical expertise needed to make informed decisions regarding the allocation of resources with respect to diagnosis, treatment, and management of musculoskeletal conditions and disorders.

Joining Dr. Bozic on the HCSC are the following AAOS fellows: Thomas C. Barber, MD (Board of Councilors representative); William R. Beach, MD (Board of Specialty Societies representative); Timothy Bhattacharyya, MD; Craig A. Butler, MD; David L. Cannon, MD; John Cherf, MD, MPH, MBA; Maureen A. Finnegan, MD; Mark I. Golod, MD; and Ranjan Sachdev, MD.

Each member brings a unique background, experience, and interests to the committee, providing it with a depth of resources to effectively address the many interactions and relationships among physicians, hospitals, other facilities, and payors.

The committee will focus on cultivating strong relationships in the provider payment arena to support the delivery of quality musculoskeletal care. At its first meeting, on Aug. 22, 2008, the HCSC discussed the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) payment systems, hospital-acquired and healthcare-associated conditions, bundled payments, approaches to comparative effectiveness, and potential Medicare national coverage determinations list.

Committee members have also helped prepare the AAOS’ formal comments to CMS on the proposed rules for the fiscal year 2009 Inpatient Prospective Payment System and the calendar year 2009 Outpatient Prospective Payment System/Ambulatory Surgical Center Payment System. The HCSC will also provide ad hoc clinical expertise to public payors, private payors, and other entities.

To find out more about the Health Care Systems Committee—including links to the charges, contact information for committee members, background information on issues, and the Aug. 22 meeting agenda and presentations—visit the AAOS Government Relations Web page, www.aaos.org/dc

Jacque Roche is a federal policy analyst in the AAOS office of government relations. She can be reached at roche@aaos.org