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 Weekly Member Update - April 13, 2012

Volunteer's Note

AMA Membership Update

Comprehensive Review: A Great Reason to Visit Chicago in July

Apply Today for Prestigious Bunnell Fellowship

Listserv Hot Topic: Medial Epicondylitis and Cubital Tunnel

ASSH Job Board Can Help You Find What You're Looking For

Thank You to AFSH Donors

Delay Compliance On ICD-10 Code Set Until October 2014, CMS Says

Volunteer's Note

The Hand Society's Coding and Physician Reimbursement Committee (CPRC) has been organized and led by Daniel J. Nagle, MD for more than 15 years and has played a pivotal role in maintaining reimbursement for hand surgery services.

Through Dan's leadership, I became involved in this committee about 10 years ago and continue to participate in a variety of the committee's activities.  Specific tasks that our committee addresses include establishment of coding detail for surgical procedures and office services, creation of global service designations, management of correct coding initiative (CCI) edits, as well as ICD-9 and 10 updates.  Perhaps the most critical tasks are the presentation and defense of codes in front of the AMA Relative Value Update Committee (RUC) and the introduction of new CPTTM codes that reflect either new procedures or new technology (or both).

The CPRC meets yearly at the ASSH Annual Meeting and also communicates as needed via email throughout the year.  Email tasks include completion of code valuation surveys as well as answering coding-related questions from ASSH members.

The number of volunteers on our committee has grown over the past several years, and we now have approximately 35 members.  Over the past two years, I have particularly focused on trying to decipher Medicare’s Payment Advisory Committee guidelines and, as a result, have a better understanding of how government regulators (as well as insurance companies) view the American medical landscape.

Despite the initial perception that the subject matter might be the "dry" topics of statistics or accounting, CPRC work has been particularly rewarding for our member volunteers.   I have been able to appreciate this by being involved over many years as well as by benefiting from Dr. Nagle's terrific enthusiasm and energy.

What becomes obvious rather quickly is that this committee establishes not only fair and ethical relationships between hand surgery service provision and payment, but also establishes the much more fundamental concept of value confirmation for hand surgeons.  The CPRC fights for the principles that hand surgeons have truly unique value and that no outside administrative body can unilaterally diminish our professional skills or value to society.

This committee work serves as one more reminder of what a privilege it is to be a hand surgeon and to work in an occupation where we can so often make our patients' quality of life better.

Leon S. Benson, MD
Co-Chair, Coding and Physician Reimbursement Committee

AMA Membership Update

AMA rules stipulate that in order to qualify for a seat in the AMA House of Delegates, 25% of our members must be AMA members.  We remain 31 members shy of the 25% mark, following a week in which the ASSH Central Office received no notifications of Hand Society members who've recently joined or rejoined the AMA.

Having a seat in the AMA House of Delegates allows the ASSH to have a voice in decisions that directly affect you and your patients.
Have you joined or rejoined the AMA since January 1, 2012?  Please let us know by contacting so we can track the progress of your AMA membership.  ASSH will reconcile our membership list with the AMA to get credit for our members.
Have your voice heard: Join the AMA.

Comprehensive Review: A Great Reason to Visit Chicago in July

The ASSH Comprehensive Review in Hand and Upper Extremity Surgery is designed as an advanced review course and update for practicing hand surgeons, as well as residents and fellows in training.
The course, which will be held July 13-15 in Chicago, will review the topical concepts of anatomy, biomechanics and pathology, as well as diagnostic and treatment methods relating to hand, wrist and elbow surgery.
Course faculty are recognized experts in hand and upper extremity surgery and have been selected for their knowledge, expertise and contributions relating to the subject matters they present.   Visit the course page to see a complete list of faculty, topics, objectives and CME credit information.  The deadline to register is June 21.



Apply Today for Prestigious Bunnell Fellowship

The Sterling Bunnell, MD, Traveling Fellowship, named for the founder and first President of the ASSH, has fostered vital contributions to the field of hand surgery by supporting many elite surgeons since its inception in 1982.

The Bunnell Fellowship provides scholarship funding for a young hand surgeon to pursue an educational or academic goal that:

- Requires national and international collaboration.

- Fosters the principles of scholarship of the ASSH.
- Has a clearly delineated theme in a specific area of clinical interest, a scientific pursuit, or an educational mission.

The Traveling Fellows committee, chaired by Steven Moran, MD, will select the Bunnell fellow based on the applicant’s scholarship, ASSH contributions, and the strength of the proposed collaborative project.

Learn more about the Bunnell Fellowship application process, and download the application.  Applications are due by June 1, 2012.  Contact Alexzandra Wallace at or 847-384-8300 with questions.

The Bunnell Traveling Fellowship is generously provided by the American Foundation for Surgery of the Hand.

Listserv Hot Topic: Medial Epicondylitis and Cubital Tunnel

This week, a member expressed frustration with mediocre results treating medial epicondylitis and cubital tunnel simultaneously, and several listservers shared their experiences as well as treatment tips.

Do you have useful advice to share on this topic?

Perhaps you also have been frustrated by mediocre results and could benefit from hearing what's worked for others. 

If you have already signed up for the ASSH Physician Listserv, you can view or contribute to the discussion by visiting the archives and scrolling down to the thread titled "Medial epicondylitis and cubital tunnel."  If you don't know or remember your Listserv password, you can reset your password here.
To sign up for the Listserv, visit the Listserv page.

ASSH Job Board Can Help You Find What You're Looking For

Explore career opportunities anytime of the day or night with JobTarget.

Visit the ASSH Online Career Center at  The site, which is being upgraded to improve the user experience, offers a host of services for various needs:
Job Seekers 

  • Post an anonymous resume
  • View jobs
  • Create a Job Alert, and new jobs that match your search will be emailed to you
  • Create a Job Seeker Account
  • Post a job
  • View resumes
  • Utilize recruitment products
In addition to helping job seekers and employers/recruiters, the Job Board can even help you sell your practice.

Thank You to AFSH Donors

Richard I. Burton, MD
John T. Capo, MD
Edward Damore, MD
Charles S. Day, MD
John C. Elfar, MD
Richard D. Goldner, MD
Warren C. Hammert, MD
Paul K. Ho, MD
Jeffrey B. Husband, MD
Andrew Jawa, MD
Jeffrey A. Jones, MD
Jesse B. Jupiter, MD
Fraser J. Leversedge, MD
Richard J. Miller, MD
David J. Mitten, MD
Marc J. Richard, MD
David C. Ring, MD, PhD
Tamara D. Rozental, MD
David S. Ruch, MD
Andrew B. Stein, MD
Virak Tan, MD
Christina M. Ward, MD
Jeffrey Yao, MD

Thank you to the following corporate donor for its generous contribution to the AFSH in support of the Upper Extremity Fellowship Grant:

Did you know you can now support the Foundation (AFSH) through automated monthly payments?  Visit to complete an auto-pay form, or contact

Delay Compliance On ICD-10 Code Set Until October 2014, CMS Says - from AMA

A proposed rule issued Monday by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) would delay implementation of the ICD-10 code set by one year and establish cost-saving administrative standards.

Responding to physician concerns, the proposed rule would move the compliance deadline to October 1, 2014, in an attempt to give physicians and others more time to prepare adequately for the transition to ICD-10.  The AMA has urged the agency to halt implementation of the massive new code set, which would pose considerable administrative challenges for physicians.  The transition from approximately 13,000 to 68,000 diagnosis codes would require physicians to replace or revamp software systems, retrain staff, conduct detailed testing with payers and make numerous other changes.  Read more.