AAOS Now

Published 3/24/2021
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Kerri Fitzgerald

‘The Bone Beat’ Podcast Celebrates One-year Anniversary

This month, AAOS’ advocacy-focused podcast, “The Bone Beat,” reached the one-year mark since launching in March 2020. Through engaging conversations and insights from experts, the show is designed to expand the Association’s reach and build opportunities to lead conversations about health policy initiatives affecting musculoskeletal health care, as well as communicate the organization’s efforts supporting advocacy efforts in those areas.


“The Bone Beat” is hosted by Kristen Coultas, who leads advocacy communications for the AAOS Office of Government Relations. She is often accompanied by various cohosts from the advocacy team in Washington, D.C. Each episode focuses on one topic and features either a surgeon leader or policy expert as the guest.

The podcast explores advocacy issues that are important to AAOS and its members, striving to engage listeners and break down what are often complex issues.

AAOS has leaned on its surgeon leaders who are out in the field, experiencing the impact of healthcare policies daily, to shed light on how they affect orthopaedic care and the need for change. It has also drawn on the expertise of members of Congress, regulatory officials, and legal experts who are on the other side of policymaking and implementation.

The podcast’s formal launch was planned to coincide with the AAOS 2020 Annual Meeting; however, COVID-19 forced AAOS to change the in-person meeting to a virtual format. Despite the setback, the first episode aired during the virtual Annual Meeting event, with then AAOS President Kristy L. Weber, MD, FAAOS, as the guest. The team has continued to produce monthly episodes on the last Tuesday of each month, with additional “special episodes” covering timely or breaking advocacy news.

Topics have ranged from healthcare disparities to elimination of the inpatient-only list to the election to the regulatory landscape of biologics.

The podcast has five physician advisors who helped launch the show and provide direction on topics and guests: Wilford K. Gibson, MD, FAAOS, then chair of the Advocacy Council; Claudette M. Lajam, MD, FAAOS, Board of Councilors (BOC) secretary; John J. McGraw, MD, FAAOS, emeritus member and 2019 Distinguished Congressional Ambassador; Marlene DeMaio, MD, FAAOS, member of the Advocacy Resources Committee; and Matthew Conti, MD, 2019 Resident Advocacy Fellow. Douglas W. Lundy, MD, FAAOS, joined the group when he became the new Advocacy Council chair on March 15.

“I’ve had the opportunity to be involved with ‘The Bone Beat’ podcast since its inception, and it has been so exciting to watch the podcast grow and evolve over the past 12 months, especially in this challenging time,” said Dr. Conti, who made launching the show his 2019 fellowship project. “I enjoy listening to the episodes on my way to work or while doing chores around the house, and they are a quick way to stay up to date on political issues that affect orthopaedic surgeons. I think it’s an important initiative that AAOS and the advocacy team have undertaken. I’m looking forward to the expansion of the podcast with new and engaging interviews and growing our number of listeners.”

“My favorite episode of ‘The Bone Beat’ was the January episode, ‘Repeal of Antitrust Exemption for Health Insurers.’ This issue is near and dear to my heart because repeal of the McCarran-Ferguson Act was something I championed when I ran for secretary of the BOC about 10 years ago and later as chair-elect and chair,” said Dr. Gibson.

“The information in the podcast is current and provides actionable information. I’m hopeful that ‘The Bone Beat’ can continue to be responsive and create timely material ahead of written updates and periodicals to allow our Fellows the opportunity for up-to-date information in a concise, easy-to-digest fashion, which ultimately helps us deliver a personalized and seamless member experience,” he added.

With a year under its belt, the podcast team has found that the most popular episodes covered a trending healthcare policy topic or provided education on an aspect of advocacy and the policymaking process. Future podcast episodes will set the stage for policy discussions and facilitate productive conversations representing multiple sides of an argument or issue.

The podcast is produced and recorded 100 percent virtually and is made possible, in part, by support from the Pfizer Lilly Alliance.

Subscribe to “The Bone Beat” on your preferred podcast platform (including AppleGoogleSpotify, and Stitcher) to receive alerts when a new episode is available. If you like what you hear, leave a rating or write a review to help other members of the musculoskeletal community find the show.

AAOS wants its listeners to be a part of the podcast production; submit questions for guests, topic ideas, and feedback to dc@aaos.org. Learn more about “The Bone Beat” at aaos.org/thebonebeat.

Kerri Fitzgerald is the managing editor of AAOS Now. She can be reached at kefitzgerald@aaos.org.

A look back on the first year of ‘The Bone Beat’

Listen to each podcast episode from the first year

  • “Advocacy as a Strategic Plan Enabler,” with guest AAOS Past President Kristy L. Weber, MD, FAAOS
  • Special episode: “Congressional Response to COVID-19,” with guest Representative Brad Wenstrup, DPM (R-Ohio)
  • “Intro to the Office of Government Relations,” with guest AAOS Advocacy Council then-Chair Wilford K. Gibson, MD, FAAOS
  • Special episode: “CMS Regulatory Response to COVID-19,” with guest Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Senior Medical Advisor Marion Couch, MD
  • “Power of the Orthopaedic PAC,” with guest AAOS Orthopaedic Political Action Committee (OrthoPAC) Chair John T. Gill, MD, FAAOS
  • “Reducing Disparities in Health Care,” with guest Movement Is Life Chair Mary O’Connor, MD, FAAOS
  • “Lifting Restrictions on Physician-Owned Hospitals,” with guest Representative Michael Burgess, MD (R-Texas)
  • “In-District Event and Grassroots Advocacy,” with guest AAOS President Daniel K. Guy, MD, FAAOS
  • Special episode: “Impact of Payment Policy Changes,” with guests Dr. Gibson and James I. Huddleston III, MD, FAAOS
  • “Elimination of IPO and Shift to Outpatient Setting,” with guests AAOS Past President Joseph A. Bosco III, MD, FAAOS, and Health Care Systems Committee Chair Daniel Murrey, MD, MPP, FAAOS
  • “Why the Election Matters for MSK Care,” with guests OrthoPAC Treasurer Douglas W. Lundy, MD, FAAOS, and former candidate for Congress Knute Buehler, MD, FAAOS
  • Regulatory Landscape of Biologics, with guests David Jevsevar, MD, MBA, FAAOS, and Raymond Golish, MD, PhD, MBA, FAAOS, from the AAOS Committee on Devices, Biologics, & Technology
  • Special episode: “Bundled Payments and Value-based Care,” with guests Drs. Gibson and Lundy, as well as Joel James from Signature Medical Group and Chris Vannello from Rothman Orthopaedic Institute
  • “Shaping Health Policy During the Coronavirus Pandemic,” with guest Claudette M. Lajam, MD, FAAOS
  • “Repeal of Antitrust Exemption for Health Insurers,” with guest Senior Policy Counsel for Consumer Reports George Slover
  • “Partisanship and Public Health in the New Administration,” with guest Erin Durkin, National Journal healthcare correspondent

Access all episodes of “The Bone Beat” at aaos.org/thebonebeat.