Published 12/1/2009

Second Look – Reimbursement and Regulation

If you missed these Headline News Now items the first time around, AAOS Now gives you a second chance to review them. Headline News Now—the AAOS thrice-weekly, online update of news of interest to orthopaedic surgeons—brings you the latest on clinical, socioeconomic, and political issues, as well as important announcements from AAOS.

AJRR seeks orthopaedic surgeons for BOD
The American Joint Replacement Registry (AJRR) is seeking four candidates to serve on its board of directors (BOD). The initial role of AJRR is to foster a national center for data collection and research on total hip and total knee replacement and to improve patient safety and quality of care, reduce medical spending, and advance orthopaedic science and bioengineering. The AJRR board will include orthopaedic surgeons, as well as representatives from orthopaedic industry, private payors, hospitals, and the public. Of the seven orthopaedic surgeons, four are to be self-nominated AAOS members with at least one in full-time private orthopaedic practice. In addition, one member will be nominated by the American Association of Hip & Knee Surgeons, one by the Hip Society, and one by the Knee Society. All applicants must complete the enhanced conflict of interest questionnaire required of AAOS Board members, and be approved by the AAOS Board. The length of service will vary from 1 to 3 years, so that not all members rotate off the board simultaneously. The deadline for submitting applications is Dec. 15, 2009.

Data on 850,000 physicians stolen
According to American Medical News, a laptop containing unencrypted identifying information for approximately 850,000 physicians has been stolen from an employee of BlueCross BlueShield Association (BC/BS). Social Security numbers (SSNs) for several thousand physicians were included in the lost data. BC/BS member plans are responsible for notifying network physicians; 12 months of credit monitoring is available automatically for physicians whose SSNs were included in the file, as well as for any other physicians who request the service through their local Blues plan.

DOJ pursues off-label marketing
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced the indictment of Stryker Biotech, LLC (Hopkinton, Mass.) and several high-ranking current and former employees. The indictment alleges that the defendants participated in an illegal marketing scheme to promote medical devices (the OP-1 Implant and OP-1 Putty) used during invasive surgeries. The indictment charges that the defendants promoted the use of these devices in a manner that was different from the use approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and that several patients experienced serious medical problems from the untested use of the products.

FTC delays enforcement of “Red Flags Rule”
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has delayed enforcement of the so-called “Red Flags Rule” until June 1, 2010. Healthcare providers, financial institutions, and other business entities subject to enforcement are required to comply with the Red Flags Rule and guidelines intended to detect, prevent, and mitigate identity theft.

DOD funds 5-year study on treating civilian, battlefield trauma
Twelve orthopaedic medical centers are participating in a 5-year, $18.5 million study funded by the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD). The study is designed to determine the best way to treat civilian and battlefield trauma.