Print Friendly Print Email this page Email | 

 Weekly Member Update - September 23, 2011

Volunteer's Note

Master Skills Lab Course Registration and Housing Deadlines Approaching

Call for 2012 Abstracts Now Open

Thank You to AFSH Donors

AMA Calls on Congressional Deficit Committee to Repeal SGR

Medicare Pay-for-Performance Plan Criticized Over Early Launch

MedPAC Proposal Would Cut Medicare Payments to Offset SGR Repeal

OIG: Medicare Overpaid Physicians by Nearly $29 million During 2008 and 2009

Volunteer's Note

Every year, those who attend the ASSH Annual Meeting are treated to an educational bonanza, the latest product displays, and abundant networking opportunities.

To those of us who have gotten a glimpse behind the scenes, these meetings are also impressive showings of staff dedication, meticulous planning, and clockwork execution. Under the leadership of Mark Anderson and Angie Legaspi again this year, the Las Vegas meeting achieved the following landmarks:

• It marked the largest Annual Meeting in ASSH history, with 2,824 in attendance, surpassing the previous record of 2,744 last year in Boston.
• The 513 international attendees at the Annual Meeting (from 53 countries) was roughly double the norm.

• The mobile app debut was a huge success: 1,468 attendees downloaded and used one of the native apps, representing 57% of total annual meeting professional attendance. The software developer that provided the platform had suggested a good first-year adoption rate of 20%-25%.

• The buzz from the first Hand Club Smackdown reverberated throughout the program.  No gloating for the winning New Millennium Hand Club, however.  Their yet-to-be-revealed challengers for 2012 are already holding strategy sessions!

Kudos to our central office staff for another (customary) spectacular performance!

E-signature AL_Cropped.jpg
W. P. Andrew Lee, MD
ASSH President

Master Skills Lab Course Registration and Housing Deadlines Approaching

Register now to attend the 2011 Master Skills Series Lab Course, Arthroplasties in Hand, Wrist, and Elbow, November 4-5 at the Orthopaedic Learning Center in Rosemont, Ill.

Reserve your room at the Hyatt Rosemont by September 30 to lock in the ASSH special attendee housing rate, and register by October 3 to guarantee your spot in the program.  Space is limited. Learn more by visiting the course page or login to register now.

Call for 2012 Abstracts Now Open

The deadline to submit an abstract for a Symposium or Instructional Course for the 67th Annual Meeting in Chicago is November 14, 2011.

Symposium: 45-minute session, ideal for presenting and discussing important issues and emerging trends in the industry.

Instructional Course: 90-minute session (part didactic, part interactive), ideal for presenting case studies from beginning stages through specific treatments and outcomes.

Review the Abstract Policy and Procedures. Check back in October for Paper, Poster and Residents and Fellows Conference abstract submission sites.

Questions? Send an email to

Thank You to AFSH Donors 

          Michelle G. Carlson, MD
          Robert R. Gray, MD*
          Eric V. Lewis, MD

* Indicates contribution made in memory of James H. Dobyns, MD

Learn how you can donate in many ways, including autopay, by check or with stock.

AMA Calls on Congressional Deficit Committee to Repeal SGR - from AMA

The message to Congress is loud and clear: The time for repeal of the broken Medicare physician payment formula is now. The nation's largest physician organization was joined this week by all state and many specialty medical societies across the country in sending a letter to the members of the Joint Congressional Committee on Deficit Reduction to ask them to repeal this failed formula, known as the sustainable growth rate (SGR).

"There is wide bipartisan agreement that the Medicare physician payment system is broken, and we know that continued reliance on recent policies will increase the cost of fixing the problem. With a nearly 30 percent cut looming for physician payments, the fiscally responsible action for the congressional deficit committee is to repeal the Medicare physician payment formula now," said AMA President Peter W. Carmel, M.D. "The committee's deadline comes just before a 30 percent cut is scheduled to occur on January 1, providing a critical opportunity to stabilize the Medicare system and protect seniors' access to health care." Read more

Medicare Pay-for-Performance Plan Criticized Over Early Launch - from AMA

Members of organized medicine are sharply critical of a plan by the Obama administration to initiate a Medicare value-based purchasing program two years before federal law requires it.

The health system reform law requires the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to use a value-based payment modifier -- another term for pay-for-performance -- for some physicians starting in 2015. The modifier would adjust payments to physicians based on the quality of care they provide and how much cost they incur relative to their peers during the course of a reporting period, CMS said. All physicians in the program would be subject to the modifier starting in 2017. Read more

MedPAC Proposal Would Cut Medicare Payments to Offset SGR Repeal
- from AMA

The AMA strongly opposes a plan under consideration by the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) to cut Medicare payments to specialists by a cumulative 17 percent and freeze rates for primary care physicians for 10 years.

As the congressional advisory group on Medicare issues, MedPAC's proposal is intended to offset the cost of repealing the flawed Medicare sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula. But this new plan is inconsistent with MedPAC's previous recommendations to stop cuts to physicians because they threaten access to care for patients and would have severe consequences for the Medicare system.

MedPAC is scheduled to vote on the proposal during its next meeting, which is Oct. 6–7. Read more

OIG: Medicare Overpaid Physicians by Nearly $29 million During 2008 and 2009 - from AAOS

Two reports released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (OIG) suggest that Medicare overpaid physicians $28.8 million in 2008 and 2009 for ambulatory and outpatient services that were performed in hospitals instead of physicians’ offices.

Investigators state that there were more than one million Medicare claims in which both hospitals and physicians were paid for providing facility space for the same procedure on the same day for the same patients during 2008 and 2009, and that more than 80 percent of those claims may have resulted in overpayments to physicians.

Reasons for the inaccurate billing include the complexity of the system, confusion about facility selection, and ignorance of the fact that place of service affects payments. Due to the cost of reviewing paid claims, federal officials say they are unlikely to investigate.

Read the 2008 report

Read the 2009 report