Published 7/1/2015

The Importance of State Orthopaedic Societies

As the eyes and ears of the AAOS, state orthopaedic societies play a critical role in the orthopaedic community, according to Diane Przepiorski, executive director of the California Orthopaedic Association. Speaking at the National Orthopaedic Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C., Ms. Przepiorski outlined the many benefits that state orthopaedic societies provide to their members and the orthopaedic profession as a whole.

“State societies are in the best position to understand the political landscape in their states; as such, they are legislative and regulatory advocates for their members. That is critical, especially in larger states,” Ms. Przepiorski said. “Although the adoption of legislation is a fairly deliberate process, influencing the regulatory process is much more difficult because decisions are not made by elected officials,” she explained.

State societies are also well acquainted with their representatives in Congress. Executive directors often have government relations or lobbyist experience and have worked with state representatives—many of whom were later elected to Congress—for several years on different healthcare issues, Ms. Przepiorski noted. They organize Capitol Hill and Congressional District visits for society members to meet with legislators on issues that are important to orthopaedics.

In addition, state societies are actively involved in political action. “When developing political contribution strategies, I urge orthopaedic surgeons to coordinate with their state societies to ensure that the money they are contributing is given wisely,” she said.

On the practice side, state societies can serve as clearinghouses and help their members and practice managers work through billing issues. Many societies offer continuing medical education courses and self-assessment examinations and may act as central repositories for disseminating critical information. “State societies are deluged with emails on a daily basis. We go through them and carefully select the most relevant information for our members,” Ms. Przepiorski said.

She added that state societies can provide a forum for members to share best practices—an important benefit in this era of value-based care. She also recommends that state societies help members identify ways to improve their on-line reputations and form alliances that help them drive down their operating costs and improve practice efficiencies.

State orthopaedic societies offer a wide array of benefits and are continually looking for ways to increase their value to members. “The biggest challenge state societies face is remaining relevant to members in all practice settings. This can be accomplished by finding ways to help them demonstrate their value, keep their practice options open, practice more efficiently, and reduce costs,” Ms. Przepiorski concluded.

For more information about your state society, visit www.aaos.org/states