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Published 10/1/2010

Second Look—Advocacy

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.

DePuy recalls two hip implants
DePuy Orthopaedics voluntarily recalled two hip replacement products due to higher-than-expected revision rates. According to data from the National Joint Registry of England and Wales, about 12 percent of patients receiving the company’s ASR Hip Resurfacing System and 13 percent of those receiving the ASR XL Acetabular System have undergone revision within 5 years. DePuy said that previous data had shown the devices performing similarly to other products in their class. The company states that it will pay for the cost of physician visits, tests, and other procedures associated with the recall. The resurfacing system was not offered for sale in the United States, although the acetabular system was available worldwide. Any products still on hospital shelves will be removed.

HHS approves EMR certifying organizations
Modern Healthcare
reports that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has named Certification Commission for Health Information Technology (Chicago), and the Drummond Group (Austin, Texas) as qualified to test and certify EMR systems under the meaningful use criteria required by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Under the Act, to be eligible for federal health information technology subsidies, healthcare providers must use certified EMRs in a meaningful manner.

FDA warning on MRI contrast agents
FDA has asked manufacturers to include a new boxed warning on the product labeling of all gadolinium-based contrast agents (GBCAs), which are used to enhance the quality of magnetic resonance images (MRI). The requested warning would state that patients with severe kidney insufficiency who receive gadolinium-based agents are at risk for development of nephrogenic systemic fibrosis (NSF)—a debilitating and potentially fatal condition.

Annual medical liability costs may exceed $55 billion
A study conducted by researchers at Harvard University estimates that annual costs related to medical liability are $55.6 billion (in 2008 dollars), or 2.4 percent of the nation’s healthcare spending. The researchers included the following costs in their calculations: payouts to patients who sue for malpractice; healthcare costs due to the practice of defensive medicine, which the authors estimate at $45.6 billion per year; administrative costs, including legal fees; and costs related to lost work time.

Meaningful use criteria
A report released by Computer Sciences Corporation says many hospitals’ electronic medical records systems will only be able to supply about one third of the data required under the federal government’s meaningful use incentives criteria. Certain requirements—such as data that must be entered in the emergency department where computer access is limited—are likely to present an even greater challenge in meeting the government’s criteria for incentive payments.

Consumer Reports rates heart surgery groups
Consumer Reports
is using a three-star rating system to grade selected surgical groups that perform heart bypass surgery. The 221 groups—less than a quarter of the total number of groups performing the surgery in the United States—permitted the publication to publish their information. Data were drawn from a registry operated by the Society of Thoracic Surgeons, which will eventually make the information public.