Fig. 1 The Florida Orthopaedic Society shared information and strategies for establishing a risk purchasing group during the state society strategy meeting.
Courtesy of Florida Orthopaedic Society


Published 7/1/2009
Nick Piatek

State societies discuss strategies

AAOS education program aims to strengthen state societies

Addressing issues such as scope of practice, medical liability reform, and the provision of ancillary services on the state level is much different than campaigning for them on a federal level. Yet state legislation may have as powerful an impact on an orthopaedic practice as federal regulations.

Recognizing the importance of state orthopaedic societies in advocating for their members, the AAOS sponsored a state society strategy meeting in Washington, D.C., just prior to the National Orthopaedic Leadership Conference. More than 100 state orthopaedic society officers, directors, and members of the AAOS Board of Councilors (BOC) attended the educational and planning initiative.

“The purpose of this meeting is to educate state society officers and executive directors on important organizational and legislative issues, said Dirk H. Alander, MD, who co-chaired the meeting, “so they can strengthen their societies to better serve their members and advocate on their behalf. In essence, this strategy session brought together information and created an institutional memory that will serve all states in meeting member needs and advancing their advocacy efforts.”

Responding to state needs
The all-day program was developed in conjunction with the state societies, the BOC State Legislative and Regulatory Issues Committee, and the BOC State Orthopaedic Societies Committee. State society executive directors and officers provided input on organizational and legislative issues of importance to them.

Thomas C. Barber, MD, BOC chair, opened the meeting and welcomed participants. Attendees were encouraged to ask questions and participate throughout the entirety of the program.

“This was one of the finest programs the Academy has sponsored for state orthopaedic society executive directors,” said Steve Landerman, executive director of the Ohio Orthopaedic Society. “The information was well presented and covered topics that we deal with on a day-to-day basis in the states.”

Presentation topics included the following:

  • impact of the stimulus bill on the healthcare industry
  • variations in surgical prices and utilization in workers’ compensation
  • evidence-based practice guidelines
  • the battle at the state level over ancillary services
  • the American Medical Association’s perspective on scope of practice
  • legal responsibilities of state orthopaedic society boards of directors
  • navigating physician/industry collaborations
  • membership tools to recruit, retain, and engage members
  • risk purchasing pools and state orthopaedic societies

Fraser Cobbe, executive director of the Florida Orthopaedic Society, and Stuart Fischer, MD, president of the New Jersey Orthopaedic Society, discussed their experiences in developing and implementing risk purchasing groups (RPGs). Designed to reduce medical liability premiums for state society members, an RPG can also help increase membership in the state society (Fig. 1).

Taking the message home
Participants received educational materials and instructions on state legislative and organizational issues from a variety of experts including orthopaedic surgeons, lawyers, marketing professionals, and state society executive directors and officers. Discussions on healthcare reform and scope of practice were especially fruitful. In addition, attendees voiced concerns on a wide range of issues and received feedback from legal, legislative, marketing, and healthcare professionals.

“The sessions enabled state society executive directors and officers to network and provided them with the most up-to-date legislative information,” said Charles N. Hubbard, MD, chair of the BOC State Orthopaedic Societies Committee. “This will enhance the efficiency of our state societies and help them manage our message during the legislative process.”

“The relationships that were established and fostered at this meeting will help create a group synergy to overcome the more daunting trials of dealing with the legislative processes,” agreed Dr. Alander.

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Nick Piatek is communications specialist in the AAOS office of government relations. He can be reached at