7 Things for Spine Surgeons to Know for Thursday

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Here are seven things for spinal surgeons to know for Feb. 14, 2013.1. AxioMed released Freedom Cervical Disc in Europe.
AxioMed Spine Corporation introduced its Freedom Cervical Disc in Europe, and the disc has been successfully implanted in Switzerland. AxioMed will also be conducting a post-market study of the device's treatment of cervical degenerative disc disease, and the results are expected to be used in a future Investigational Device Exemption to the FDA.

2. Practices are dropping Medicare.
About 10 percent of healthcare practice owners plan on converting from Medicare providers to concierge or direct pay practices in the next three years. Of the 14,000 physicians surveyed by Merritt Hawkins for The Physicians Foundation, 6.8 percent of physicians plan to stop taking insurance and instead opt for direct primary care. Experts attribute the trend to uncertainty with Medicare payments and the problematic sustainable growth formula, according to the report.

3. Los Angeles Minimally Invasive Spine Institute opened.
George Rappard, MD, opened the Los Angeles Minimally Invasive Spine Institute, a center for treatment of neck and back pain. The institute will use various treatment methods for management of spinal pain, including spinal injections and minimally invasive spine surgery. The center has access to open and dynamic MRI machines and has an active spine research department.

4. Obama pledges 'modest' Medicare reforms in State of the Union address.    
Medicare dominated healthcare components of President Barack Obama's State of the Union address Tuesday night. President Obama said looming healthcare spending for the nation's aging population will fuel the government's long-term debt unless lawmakers "embrace the need for modest reforms." He also pledged reduced subsidies to pharmaceutical companies and increased Medicare contributions from wealthy beneficiaries.

5. Legislation proposed to appeal medical device tax.
Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) introduced a bill to repeal the 2.3 percent medical device excise tax. Their bill, which has support from four Democrats and four Republicans, is identical to one introduced in the House by Representatives Erik Paulsen (R-Minn.) and Ron Kind (D-Wis.) with 178 co-sponsors.

6. Healthcare spending in 2012 growing more slowly than in the past.

Although national health expenditures grew at an estimated rate of 4.3 percent, higher than the 3.9 percent rate in each of the previous years 2009 to 2011, healthcare spending growth is still slower than the more than 50 years on record. National health expenditures in seasonally-adjusted annual dollars were $2.87 trillion in December, with hospital spending accounting for $921 billion of that — or 32 percent of total health spending, according to the report. Healthcare prices in December 2012 rose 1.7 percent over the previous December, the lowest rise year-over-year since February 1998.

7. Small bone and joint device market valued at $2B.
The U.S. market for small bone and joint devices was valued at more than $2 billion in 2012. The market report includes shoulder reconstruction implants, elbow repair devices, hand and wrist devices, foot and ankle devices and shape memory staples. All segments experienced positive growth, which is expected to continue as the aging population increases. However, capitated pricing has affected the shoulder reconstruction and hand and wrist device markets negatively, which could impact the overall market.

More Articles on Spine:
Shriners Hospital for Children Purchases EOS Imaging System for Spine
Economics, Politics & the Independent Spine Surgeon: Q&A With Dr. Craig Callewart
Can Spine Surgeons Legally Own Interest in ASCs?

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