Washington, DC—More than 300 orthopaedic surgeons from around the country will converge in Washington, D.C., on Thursday May 2, 2013, to lobby their members of Congress on critical orthopaedic issues as part of the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) National Orthopaedic Leadership Conference (NOLC). Attendees will meet with their Congressional offices in an effort to achieve a meaningful Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) replacement, protect patients’ right to in-office ancillary services (IOAS), and preserve Americans’ access to specialty care by repealing the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB).
One of the top issues for the AAOS is the repeal of the looming 27 percent physician payment cut called for by the Medicare SGR formula. Cuts of this magnitude threaten access to care as physicians may be forced to make employment reductions, reduce the number of Medicare patients they see, or worse yet, close their practices altogether. AAOS members will call for a more varied approach, urging the repeal of the SGR formula with a permanent replacement that provides a more fair and flexible payment system for physician services.
AAOS members also hope to raise awareness about the importance of preserving the ability of physicians to provide imaging and physical therapy services in their offices. The in-office ancillary services (IOAS) exception to the Stark Law allows for integrated care and is essential to efficiently diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal conditions. “Ancillary services are used on a daily basis by orthopaedic surgeons seeking to provide comprehensive, high quality services to their patients and are essential in delivering efficient, integrated care,” says Thomas C. Barber, MD, Chair of the AAOS Council on Advocacy.
In addition to SGR repeal and preservation of the IOAS exception, NOLC participants will ask Congress to support H.R. 351/S. 351, legislation to repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) a provision in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which they believe will threaten access to specialty care for their most vulnerable patients. “Leaving Medicare payment decisions in the hands of an unelected, unaccountable governmental body with minimal congressional oversight will negatively affect timely access to care for older Americans, military families and people with disabilities,” said Dr. Barber.
“AAOS members want the very best for their patients and members of Congress want the same for their constituents,” said Dr. Barber. “Understanding this shared goal, NOLC participants hope that a dialogue with members about issues threatening patient-access to specialty care will strengthen existing relationships with legislators and result in productive outcomes.”
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