Washington, DC—On Thursday, July 18, 2013, select leadership members of the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), including AAOS President Dr. Joshua J. Jacobs, will meet with Congressional offices to educate members of Congress on critical orthopaedic issues, including Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) replacement legislation, protecting patients’ right to integrated care, and support for the Cutting Costly Codes Act of 2013 (H.R. 1701/S. 972).
One of the top issues for the AAOS remains comprehensive Medicare payment reform and the repeal of the 27 percent physician payment cut called for by the Medicare SGR formula. Given the upcoming House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee markup of SGR legislation, AAOS leadership will ask members of Congress for their continued commitment to achieve a more stable and sustainable payment system. “AAOS appreciates the committee’s diligent work on this important issue and looks forward to a bill that replaces the flawed SGR system with a permanent and flexible payment system for physician services,” says Dr. Jacobs. “We are eager to see enactment of a payment system that guarantees patient access while keeping burdens on physicians at a minimum.”
AAOS leadership will also raise awareness about the importance of preserving the ability of physicians to provide imaging and physical therapy services in their offices. More than one in four Americans have a bone or joint injury or disorder, and integrated care is essential to efficiently diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal conditions, restoring patient mobility, and preventing future injury. “The AAOS is invested in quality initiatives to ensure that only clinically appropriate services are performed on our patients,” says Thomas C. Barber, MD, Chair of the AAOS Council on Advocacy.
Additionally, AAOS leadership will express support for the Cutting Costly Codes Act of 2013, introduced by Representative Ted Poe in the House and Senator Tom Coburn in the Senate, which would prohibit the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services from replacing the current ICD-9 diagnostic code set with ICD-10. AAOS believes that prohibiting the transition to ICD-10 will enable physicians and other stakeholders to assess an appropriate alternative and help to reduce costs weighing on physician practices, as well as help to keep new, more efficient models of health care delivery and payment on track.
“As these issues develop, we urge Congress to act in a way that will allow orthopaedic surgeons and other physicians to continue to provide the highest quality of care for our patients,” Dr. Barber stated. “Healthcare is a critically important issue for every American and we will remain active in protecting patient access to specialty care.”
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