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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, May 13, 2021

AAOS Advocacy in Action

  • Joined with a coalition of healthcare groups in urging Congress and the Administration to provide an additional $3 billion for the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule to once again mitigate expected reductions and ensure financial stability for physicians and practices in 2022

The Bone Beat New Episode

Conversations on health policy issues affecting musculoskeletal care...

Episode Series on Orthopaedic Advocacy Week Issues
In an upcoming three-part episode series, AAOS will delve into the issues that orthopaedic surgeons are raising with lawmakers during Orthopaedic Advocacy Week. Episodes on prior authorization, telemedicine, and physician mental health will feature interviews with the original co-sponsors of each bill that AAOS is supporting. Members can tune into these new episodes, easily find old ones, or re-listen to their favorite conversations at aaos.org/thebonebeat.


Get Ready for Orthopaedic Advocacy Week
Orthopaedic Advocacy Week is rapidly approaching, but it is not too late to get involved and help amplify efforts May 24-28. Each day of the completely virtual event will focus on a tactic in AAOS' advocacy strategy toolbox and offer members quick, simple opportunities to advocate on behalf of the musculoskeletal community.

  • Monday, May 24: Growing Support with Grassroots
  • Tuesday, May 25: Amplify with Social Media
  • Wednesday, May 26: Shaping Policy through Rulemaking
  • Thursday, May 27: Virtual Capitol Hill Day with Lawmakers
  • Friday, May 28: Get Invested with Orthopaedic PAC

You can sign up to receive daily emails during the event or participate in these activities via aaos.org. Those who signed up for the Virtual Capitol Hill Day on May 27 can expect to receive a personalized, one-click login to view their meeting schedules no later than May 17. We look forward to your participation in this critical event to advancing musculoskeletal care! Visit the event webpage...

Healthcare Policy News

Legislation Introduced to Reform Prior Authorization
On May 13, champions in the U.S. House of Representatives introduced legislation that would streamline and add transparency to the prior authorization process under the Medicare Advantage program. The Improving Seniors’ Timely Access to Care Act was introduced by Reps. Ami Bera, MD (D-CA), Suzan DelBene (D-WA), Larry Bucshon, MD (R-IN), Mike Kelly (R-PA), and has 88 additional original cosponsors. Similar legislation gained immense support during the 116th Congress with 280 congressional supporters and the endorsement of more than 400 organizations. The AAOS will continue to make reforming these burdensome processes a top priority and is advocating for passage of the new legislation as part of the upcoming Orthopaedic Advocacy Week. Read the press release…

Changes Finalized for CJR, Joint Replacement Medicare Model
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently released the much-anticipated final rule which makes changes to the Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement (CJR) Model. The agency extended the model an additional three performance years through December 31, 2024, but excluded v oluntary participants from the change. It also modified the episode definition to include outpatient lower extremity joint replacement trigger procedures and made several modifications to the target price calculation and reconciliation process. Improvements to the program include elimination of the 50 percent cap on gainsharing payments, distribution payments, and downstream distribution payments when the recipient of these payments is a physician. CMS will also now count beneficiary age, dual-eligibility status, and CMS-Hierarchical Condition Category as episode-level risk adjustment factors and changed the reduction to the discount factor for good quality performance to 1.5 percent and to 3 percent for participants with excellent quality scores. Read AAOS' summary of the final rule...

House Bill Introduced to Protect Physicians During the Pandemic
This week, the Coronavirus Provider Protection Act was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Reps. Lou Correa (D-CA) and Michael Burgess, MD (R-TX). The bipartisan legislation, which AAOS supports and previously backed in the 116th Congress, would provide limited liability protections for health care responders and facilities who face litigation related to services offered during the COVID-19 public health emergency period or within 60 days of its termination. The services must also be within scope of licensure/certification and provided in good faith. The AAOS has signed onto a letter of support for this key legislation and will continue to promote these common-sense, limited protections in its advocacy efforts. Learn more about the new bill…

HHS Confirmations Continue with New Deputy Secretary
On Tuesday, the Senate confirmed Andrea Palm as Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Prior to her confirmation, Palm was the leader of Wisconsin’s Department of Health Services as well as chief of staff at HHS during the Obama Administration. Though Palm’s confirmation hearing received bipartisan support in April, the vote itself was delayed several weeks before she was ultimately confirmed by a 61-37 majority. In her new role, Deputy Secretary Palm will oversee the management of the department including the approval of rules coming out of the agency. However, the Senate has yet to bring a floor vote on the confirmation of Chiquita Brooks-LaSure for Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). While her confirmation hearing was largely uneventful, the recent recall of Texas’ Medicaid expansion waiver approved by the Trump Administration has all but brought the CMS confirmation to a halt. Yet other key positions including Food and Drug Administration Commissioner and Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget are still awaiting nominees. Read more about Palm…

States News

Efforts to Reign in Prior Authorization Continue to Advance
Reforming onerous prior authorization processes, which delay necessary patient care and undermine longstanding decisions appropriately made between physicians and patients, remains a focus for the AAOS at both the federal and state level. This week, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed legislation to increase prior authorization transparency. Senate Bill 80, authored by orthopaedic surgeon and state Sen. Kay Kirkpatrick, MD, FAAOS, requires insurers to make prior authorization requirements and clinical criteria publicly available online and also creates timelines for insurers to respond to requests. Last week, the Pennsylvania Orthopaedic Society, supported by the AAOS State Health Policy Action Fund, continued spearheading a media campaign to rally support for legislation aimed at reforming prior authorization and step therapy processes. AAOS Board of Councilor representative Suzette Song, MD, FAAOS, and Pennsylvania Orthopaedic Society Second Vice-President Matthew Kelly, MD, FAAOS, attested to the urgent need for policymakers to take action during an interview with an ABC affiliate.

OrthoPAC Corner

Get Invested with OrthoPAC during Orthopaedic Advocacy Week
As part of Orthopaedic Advocacy Week, orthopaedic surgeons nationwide will amplify their voices around the most crucial policy issues facing the orthopaedic profession and the patients they serve. The event will culminate in an Orthopaedic Political Action Committee (OrthoPAC) Day of Giving on May 28, when the OrthoPAC will thank their 2021 PAC members for their strong support, including an exciting prize sweepstakes. The Orthopaedic PAC is excited to offer as part of the inaugural Orthopaedic Advocacy Week a winner's choice vacation sweepstakes. After a trying year, it’s time to relax. Winners have two years, or until 2023, to redeem their vacation. All 2021 contributors to OrthoPAC will receive entries into the sweepstakes. Text SWEEPS to 41444 to enter. Learn More about the sweepstakes...

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