Advocacy Now

Advocacy Now is an email newsletter produced bi-weekly by the Office of Government Relations to keep AAOS members on top of important health care policy issues as well as supporting advocacy efforts. Questions or concerns about related content can be emailed to staff at dc@aaos.org.

Below are updates from the most recent newsletter, as well as an archive of old issues.

Advocacy Now, September 23, 2021

AAOS Advocacy in Action

  • Submitted formal comments on the proposed changes to the Medicare Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment and Ambulatory Surgical Center Payment Systems for 2022, including abruptly reversing the Inpatient Only (IPO) List elimination.
  • Submitted formal comments on the proposed changes to the Medicare Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment and Ambulatory Surgical Center Payment Systems for 2022, including abruptly reversing the Inpatient Only (IPO) List elimination.

The Bone Beat: New Episode

Special Episode: Resident Involvement in Advocacy

At the AAOS 2021 Annual Meeting, new host and Advocacy Council Chair Douglas Lundy, MD, MBA, FAAOS, recorded a live, on-site interview with Austin Beason, MD, who is Chair of the Resident Assembly and host of the AAOS Career Podcast. They discussed the value of increasing resident involvement in political advocacy as the future leaders of musculoskeletal health, whether it is by participating in grassroots via the Advocacy Action Center, joining the PAC, or becoming engaged with state orthopaedic societies.

Featuring: Douglas Lundy, MD, MBA, FAAOS, Chair, Advocacy Council; and Austin Beason, MD, Chair, Resident Assembly

AAOS News

Comments Submitted on Proposed 2022 Medicare Payment Policy Changes
The AAOS recently issued formal comments to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on the agency’s proposed payment policy changes for Calendar Year (CY) 2022, including changes to the Outpatient Prospective Payment System/Ambulatory Surgical Center payment systems (read comments here) and the Physician Fee Schedule (read comments here). The Associations’ comments addressed significant proposed changes that would impact musculoskeletal care, including abruptly reversing elimination of the Inpatient Only List (pulling back the 298 procedures, including 266 musculoskeletal procedures, that were removed from the list on Jan. 1), reducing the conversion factor by a proposed 3.75 percent, and failing to incorporate office/outpatient evaluation and management code updates into the global surgical codes. Read the press release...

Preview of Combined NOLC/Fall Meeting Advocacy Issues
The AAOS National Orthopaedic Leadership Conference (NOLC) and the Fall Meeting have been combined into a single annual event taking place for the first time this year September 26-29 in Washington, D.C. The meetings were combined so that Board of Councilors and Board of Specialty Society members may efficiently conduct organizational business and engage in Hill visits. During the upcoming event, AAOS leaders will raise three healthcare policy issues to Congress: Medicare payment policy changes, prior authorization reform, and funding for orthopaedic research. All AAOS members can learn more about the three issues, including the legislation that AAOS is endorsing as well as the list of congressional co-sponsors, and join in advocacy efforts by visiting the Advocacy Action Center. Learn more about the issues...

Healthcare Policy News

Good Samaritan Health Professionals Act Reintroduced in the House Earlier this month, Representatives Raul Ruiz, MD (D-CA), and Larry Bucshon, MD (R-IN), re-introduced The Good Samaritan Health Professionals Act (H.R. 5239) in the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill would ensure disaster victims’ access to medically necessary care by providing volunteer health professionals with the same level of civil immunity that they would receive in their home state during a federally declared emergency. Due to inconsistent state laws and a lack of federal policy, it is often unclear whether protections against unnecessary lawsuits exist for medical volunteers who cross state lines. This uncertainty disincentivizes physicians from volunteering, and in some cases has resulted in trained and qualified professionals being turned away. Senators Bill Cassidy, MD (R-LA) and Angus King (I-ME) are expected to introduce companion legislation in the U.S. Senate in the coming weeks, and AAOS is signing onto a Medical Professional Liability Association-led letter thanking them for their leadership on the issue. Learn more about the bill…

CMS Proposes Repeal of Medicare Coverage of Innovative Technology (MCIT) Policy
On September 15, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released a proposed rule withdrawing a rule that was finalized during the final days of the Trump administration and is set to take effect on December 15, the Medicare Coverage of Innovative Technology (MCIT) and Definition of “Reasonable and Necessary." The MCIT pathway would have provided immediate Medicare coverage of newly FDA market authorized breakthrough devices for up to four years. CMS cites the primary reason for walking back the policy over concerns that it could “provide coverage without adequate evidence that the Breakthrough Device would be a reasonable and necessary treatment for the Medicare patients that have the particular disease or condition that the device is intended to treat or diagnose." The agency also proposes repealing the definition of “reasonable and necessary,” though it is seeking stakeholder feedback on whether the definition should be decoupled from the MCIT policy and remain finalized. See AAOS' summary of the rule…

HHS Announces Additional $25.5 Billion in COVID-19 Provider Funding
On September 10, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced $25.5 billion in new funding for healthcare providers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, including funds for the Provider Relief Fund (PRF) Phase 4 and the American Rescue Plan for providers serving rural Medicaid, Children's Health Insurance Program, or Medicare patients. HHS also announced a final 60-day grace period for PRF Reporting requirements for providers who do not meet the Sept. 30 deadline for the first Reporting Time Period. HHS will not initiate collection activities or similar enforcement actions for noncompliant providers during this grace period, but deadlines to use funds and the Reporting Time Period will not change. Learn more about eligibility requirements and apply…

COVID-19 Vaccination Requirements Expanded to Medicare- and Medicaid-certified Facilities
On September 9, the Biden-Harris Administration announced that COVID-19 vaccinations will be required for staff in all Medicare- and Medicaid–certified facilities. Vaccinations were previously required for workers in nursing home facilities, but the decision expands the mandate to require vaccines for staff at hospitals, ambulatory surgical settings, home health agencies, and more, for the facility to qualify for participation in the Medicare and Medicaid programs. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services are expected to release an Interim Final Rule with Comment Period on this issue in October. Read the CMS press release…

OrthoPAC Corner

REMINDER: Capitol Club Members Invited to Reception at Combined NOLC/Fall Meeting
As a reminder, all 2021 Orthopaedic PAC (OrthoPAC) Capitol Club Donors are invited to the Sixth Annual Capitol Club Reception at 7:00pm ET on Tuesday, September 28 at La Vie in Washington, D.C. Guests will enjoy food, drinks, and sweeping views of the Capitol and Potomac River with great company. In addition to AAOS advocacy and OrthoPAC leaders who will be in attendance, we anticipate welcoming several members of Congress from both sides of the aisle and will announce the winners of the 2021 Congressional Bipartisanship Award. This event is for 2021 Capitol Club donors only. You can check your Orthopaedic PAC donation history on your My AAOS Dashboard. To renew your membership or increase to the Capitol Club level, you can text AAOS to 41444 or visit aaos.org/pac. RSVP and let us know if you have questions...

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