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 Weekly Member Update - November 18, 2011

Volunteer's Note

Thank You to AFSH Donors

AMA Membership Update

One Question

Deadline Approaching for Hand Surgeon-Scientist Award Applications

AMA Sets New Policies During Interim Meeting

Still Time to Qualify for e-Prescribing Bonus and Avoid Payment Penalty

CMS Pushes Back Medicare Revalidation Deadline to 2015

Billing an Established Patient Visit as a Consultation

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Volunteer's Note

The American Foundation for Surgery of the Hand was founded almost 25 years ago, with the mission of supporting research, education, and outreach in the field of hand surgery.

Prior to the inception of the AFSH, the Hand Society would fund up to five research  projects a year with the combined total of all the awards ranging from $13,000 to $15,000 per year.  But since the advent of the AFSH, there has been a steady increase in the dollar amounts and also the number of research grants being awarded.

Since the year 2000, 63 basic science and 27 clinical research grants have been funded.  In 2010 alone, almost $240,000 was awarded to fund 10 research grants, and an additional $200,000 went to designated awards, patient education, resident and fellow scholarships, and outreach projects.

One of the benchmarks that we are especially proud of is the "return on investment" of grants given out by the AFSH.  Over the past four years, AFSH awarded a total of $610,000 in research grants.  Of these grants, 14 went on to garner over $10.6 million in extramural grants from sources such as the NIH, Department of Defense, Shriner's Foundation, and others – an absolutely phenomenal return.

To recognize and highlight the progress it has made, the American Foundation for Surgery of the Hand will commemorate its 25th anniversary by awarding a $100,000 grant for a well-designed, prospective multi-center clinical research study.  The ASSH Research Management Committee will review proposals and select the recipient of this grant, to be announced at the 2012 Annual Meeting in Chicago.  For more information about this opportunity, visit the ASSH website.

The Foundation has come a long way in its 25 years, and its success is a reflection of the tremendous support received from the ASSH membership.  It is with deep gratitude that I thank all our donors, whose generosity makes them true leaders in our field of hand surgery. As we enter this holiday season and make year-end giving decisions, I hope that we can count on your continued support to not just sustain but to further enhance hand surgery research, education, and outreach projects.  If you would like to learn more about the AFSH, or to make a contribution, you can visit the AFSH page on the ASSH website.

Thank you, and best wishes to you and your families for a very happy, healthy holiday!

Frederick F. Fakharzadeh, MD
President, AFSH

Thank You to AFSH Donors

Christopher M. Brian, MD
John W. Durham, MD
Frederick F. Fakharzadeh, MD
Michael S. Fitzsimmons, MD
Stephen G. Fleming, MD
Steven Z. Glickel, MD
Charles A. Goldfarb, MD
Kyeong-Jin Han, MD
Ulrich B. Lanz, MD
Benjamin E. Lesin, MD
Cedric W. Lowrey, MD
Sigurd C. Sandzen, Jr., MD
Garth R. Smith, MD
James W. Strickland, MD
Scott W. Wolfe, MD
Thomas W. Wright, MD
Did you know you can now support the Foundation (AFSH) through automated monthly payments?  Visit to complete an auto-pay form, or contact

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'd like to recognize those who have answered the call to either join or rejoin.

ASSH members who notified us this week (via email or the Listserv) that they've joined or rejoined the AMA:
Timothy J. Bill, MD
Seth D. Dodds, MD
Waldo E. Floyd, III, MD
Jeffrey B. Friedrich, MD
Kenneth J. Garrod, MD
Kenneth A. Hieke, MD
John T. Rich, MD
Have you recently joined or rejoined the AMA?  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 in early 2012.

Have your voice heard.  Join the AMA.

One Question

When you view surgical videos, how often do you view them in the following ways:
  • DVD to brush up before a procedure 
  • Free streaming video to brush up before a procedure
  • Paid-access streaming video to brush up before procedure
  • DVD to study in free time
  • Free streaming video to study in free time
  • Paid-access streaming video to study in free time
  • Free webinar for CME
  • Paid webinar for CME

    Submit answers

Last week, we asked you to tell us the biggest patient misconception about hand surgeons or hand conditions that you'd like to see the ASSH address.  View responses.

Deadline Approaching for Hand Surgeon-Scientist Award Applications

AFSH, in partnership with the Plastic Surgery Educational Foundation, is offering the Hand Surgeon-Scientist Award to recognize a young plastic hand surgeon who has demonstrated success as both a clinician and a researcher to have sufficient protected time to develop a long and productive career in academic surgery.

The deadline to apply is December 1, 2011.

The award is designed to support young faculty members at teaching institutions with accredited programs in plastic surgery who have demonstrated success in research by receiving extramural research funding – K08 or K23 awards from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The total amount of the award is up to $75,000 per year for up to five years, subject to annual review.

AMA Sets New Policies During Interim Meeting - from AMA
Thousands of physicians and medical students gathered in New Orleans this week to speak up on various policy matters during this year's Interim Meeting of the AMA House of Delegates, which concluded Tuesday.
AMA delegates reaffirmed support for the Medicare Patient Empowerment Act (HR 1700), which would allow private contracting with Medicare patients.  Delegates called for a grassroots campaign to secure passage of the bill in Congress.
The House adopted policy to combat national drug shortages that threaten patient care and safety.  The new policy supports drug shortage legislation, such as HR 2245 and S 296, and calls on the AMA to advocate that the Food and Drug Administration and/or Congress require drug manufacturers to establish a plan for continuity of supply of vital and life-sustaining medications and vaccines to avoid production shortages whenever possible.  Read more.

Photo courtesy of the AMA.

Have your voice heard.  Join the AMA.

Still Time to Qualify for e-Prescribing Bonus and Avoid Payment Penalty - from ACS

Although the November 8 deadline to apply for a significant hardship exemption and avoid the 2012 electronic prescribing payment penalty has passed, it may still be possible for you to qualify for the 2011 Electronic Prescribing Incentive Program (eRx) bonus payment, and avoid the 2013 payment penalty for nonparticipation.

The deadline to qualify for the 2011 eRx incentive payment is December 31, 2011.  To qualify for the 2011 incentive, surgeons and other eligible health care professionals must report one or more electronic prescriptions associated with a minimum of 25 separate patient visits.

Eligible professionals do not need to register to participate in this reporting program.  Instead, they must report the appropriate G-code either on their Medicare claims or to a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)-selected registry, and submit 2011 data to CMS during the first quarter of 2012.  Alternatively, eligible professionals may use an electronic health record-based reporting system that has been approved by CMS and submit 2011 data during the first quarter of 2012.

In addition, there are two timelines for reporting e-prescribing to avoid the 1.5 percent penalty in 2013.  First, surgeons may report at least 25 denominator-eligible visits by December 31, 2011.  The second option is to report at least 10 times from January 1 to June 30, 2012, for any unique visit, regardless of whether it can be tied to a denominator-eligible encounter.  For more information on getting started with the eRx program, visit the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services website.

CMS Pushes Back Medicare Revalidation Deadline to 2015 - from AMA

American Medical News reports that the US Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has extended the deadline to complete a physician revalidation process called for under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act by an additional two years, through March 2015.

PPACA stated that, by March 23, 2013, no physician or other health professional may be enrolled or re-enrolled in Medicare without undergoing enhanced screening procedures.  CMS had planned to re-enroll 1.4 million physicians and other healthcare providers by that date, but the American Medical Association noted that CMS is not required to have completed the process in that time-frame.

CMS states that physicians who have already received revalidation letters are still required to meet the stated deadlines.  Failure to revalidate within the designated timeframe will cause a physician's enrollment to be deactivated.  Read more.

Billing an Established Patient Visit as a Consultation - from, by Ryan Madanick, MD

Until recently, there was a financial difference between performing a "consultation" and a "new patient visit" for office visits (Medicare stopped paying for consultations at a higher rate than new patient visits in 2010).

In specialists' offices, patients often got billed for the more expensive "consults" when in fact the visit was not a consultation at all.  Let's just use this understanding as the brief background for what I'm about to say.  Read more.