AANS partnership, biologics R&D & legislative influence: 9 big AAOS updates in 2019

Written by Alan Condon | December 18, 2019 | Print  |

Here are nine key developments from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons in 2019:

1. In March, Kristy Weber, MD, of Philadelphia-based Penn Medicine became the academy's first female president at AAOS 2019 in Las Vegas. Upon her appointment, she outlined objectives to define a new set of core values and shape a more inclusive culture within the organization by removing barriers for women and minorities in the field of orthopedic surgery.

2. AAOS invested in research and development for biologics in a five-year initiative announced in November. The organization plans to identify and build on the biologic gaps in musculoskeletal treatment and tackle the issue of misinformation, which stems from direct-to-consumer marketing of biologic treatments.

3. Dr. Weber criticized components of the surprise billing legislation proposal that would establish a dispute resolution system to replace arbitration. She was critical of the Lower Health Care Costs Act of 2019's use of median in-network rates because they are controlled by insurers and urged Congress to incorporate the fair market Independent Dispute Resolution standard, which is currently used in New York.

4. The organization also took issue with CMS' decision to remove hip replacements from the inpatient-only list in 2020, as well as its "failure" to apply updated evaluation and management values to global codes for 2021. The policies under scrutiny were outlined in CMS' 2020 Medicare Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System and ASC Payment System Final Rule, as well as its Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Final Rule, published Nov. 1.

5. The American Association of Neurological Surgeons partnered with AAOS to form a spine registry to reach more surgeons across North America. The American Spine Registry is jointly owned by both associations and includes the data science capabilities of AANS. The registry hopes to achieve more informed decision-making and better spine patient care.

6. AAOS launched the Registry Analytics Institute, which is a resource for orthopedic clinicians to submit proposals for analytical data within the American Joint Replacement Registry. The organization aims to leverage registry data to help identify outcomes of surgical interventions.

7. The society opposed legislation that would impose government-set payment benchmarks to address surprise medical bill disputes, saying it would threaten "the independent practice of medicine." The organization supports proposals designed to prevent unexpected out-of-network bills through arbitration, such as the bipartisan "Protecting People from Surprise Medical Bills Act."

8. AAOS partnered with the Musculoskeletal Tumor Society to launch the Musculoskeletal Tumor Registry pilot in February. Focusing on tracking function, complications and patient outcomes in those treated for bone or soft tissue sarcomas, the year-long feasibility pilot captures orthopedic oncology data at six U.S. academic centers, including Cleveland Clinic, Stanford (Calif.) University and Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

9. In the summer, the Political Action Committee of the AAOS endorsed fellow members Al Gross, MD, and Manni Sethi, MD, for the U.S. Senate. This is the first time two orthopedic surgeons have simultaneously run for the U.S Senate, according to Dr. Weber.

More articles on orthopedics:
Johns Hopkins, Carrum partnership grows to spine surgery
New York spine surgeon sentenced to probation, house arrest — 4 insights
11 PE transactions in orthopedics in 2019

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