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 Weekly Member Update - January 11, 2013


James Chang, MD
ASSH Treasurer
It is with great pleasure that I present this update from the ASSH Finance Committee.  In addition to me as Treasurer, the Finance Committee consists of Past President Andrew Lee, MD, ASSH President Ed Akelman, MD,
President-elect Scott Kozin, MD, and Vice-president Bill Seitz, MD.  We are guided by Executive Vice President and CEO Mark Anderson and Director of Finance David Hood.  The purpose of this committee is to provide oversight on expenditures, to manage the operating budget, and to pursue a responsible strategy for investments.
The Finance committee met recently in Chicago to review and discuss a variety of matters concerning the financial stability of the ASSH and the AFSH.  The finances remain strong, even in very turbulent times.  There are three main concerns that keep the finance committee up at night. 
The first is the rapid change in education technology.  Many of the previous ASSH educational products such as textbooks, pamphlets, and even the self-assessment exam, have been updated into electronic formats.  This has required significant investment in web platforms to deliver ASSH offerings in useful digital formats for members.  In addition, this has resulted in changes in business models for ASSH products in terms of costs and pricing.  We anticipate significant costs will be required to continually update the website and learning platforms in the future.  In fact, in this past December, Council authorized the most expenditures ever in order to lay the foundation for a comprehensive, streamlined digital platform, bringing the SHUEHORN (SHUE - Surgery of the Hand and Upper Extremity Patient Care Curriculum HORN - Hand Online Resource Network) concept to life.  It is our hope that easy-access digital learning will be a significant benefit for all members.
The second concern is the downturn in corporate support.  For the first time in years, the actual amount in corporate support to the ASSH has decreased.  Our corporate partners have been very generous in funding various educational and research programs, but companies themselves are facing external pressures that have led to decreased budgets.  We thank Bill Seitz, MD, Ed Diao, MD, and the entire Corporate Support Committee for their hard work in hard times – the decrease in corporate support is less than for other orthopedic surgery and plastic surgery organizations.
Lastly, there have been ups and downs in our investment portfolio, as could be predicted from the headlines of this past year.  The portfolios for the ASSH and AFSH are administered by Vanguard Investments.  The portfolios are well-diversified in order to mitigate risk while allowing for opportunities to increase rates of return above benchmarks.  While there have been fluctuations, I am happy to report that the overall trend remains upward!
Our past leaders have steered the ASSH and the AFSH on a steady course, which has led to a significant financial reserve.  Several ASSH members have asked me if we are keeping too much money in reserve.  In order to address this fully, the finance committee is in the process of developing a reserve policy, taking into account other non-profit organizations and professional societies and the future goals of the ASSH and AFSH.  I look forward to presenting the results of this review at our upcoming members meeting in San Francisco.
Thanks to all the contributions of our members, the financial outlook of the ASSH is positive.  While expenditures are going up, so do member benefits in education and research.  The ASSH is on course to stay on the cutting edge in technology, all while maintaining the same member dues since 1996.  I can think of no other organization that has not raised dues for 17 years!

One-Question - ASSH Communications

1. What’s the most valuable communication that you receive from ASSH?
a) Weekly Member Update
b) Correspondence News
c) Business of Hand Surgery
d) Coding Corner
e) Education Update
f) Presidential Update
g) Other/Comments
2. On a scale of 1-5 (1 being much worse, 5 being much better), how would you feel if we combined all of our communications into a single weekly email rather than sending information separately?
To submit your answer, visit our survey site.

Register by April 8th for Comprehensive Care of the High Level Athlete

May 3-4, 2013 * Palmer House Hilton * Chicago, IL
Program Co-Chairs: Michelle G. Carlson, MD, Charles A. Goldfarb, MD, Thomas A. Wiedrich, MD
Audience Level: Intermediate
Register today, then bring your questions to this interactive course and learn from our stellar faculty line-up!
Mark E. Baratz, MD, Pittsburgh, PA
Mark R. Belsky, MD, Waban, MA
Gordon A. Brody, MD, Palo Alto, CA
Carlton M. Clinkscales, MD, Denver, CO
Randall W. Culp, MD, King Of Prussia, PA
Peter J. Evans, MD, PhD, FRCS(C), Cleveland, OH
R. Glenn Gaston, MD, Charlotte, NC
Thomas J. Graham, MD, Cleveland, OH
Jeffrey B. Husband, MD, Minneapolis, MN
Gary M. Lourie, MD, Atlanta, GA
Charles P. Melone, Jr., MD, New York, NY
Lee Osterman, MD, Villanova, PA
Elizabeth A. Ouellette, MD, MBA, Miami, FL
Arthur C. Rettig, MD, Indianapolis, IN
Melvin P. Rosenwasser, MD, New York, NY
Steven S. Shin, MD, Los Angeles, CA
Dean W. Smith, MD, Houston, TX
Randall W. Viola, MD, Vail, CO
Douglas R. Weikert, MD, Nashville, TN
Andrew J. Weiland, MD, New York, NY
Claude S. Williams, IV, MD, New Orleans, LA

Brush Up on Technique, Learn from H/UE Masters

The 2013 Specialty Day program from ASSH and AAHS is sure to teach you a thing or two.  Come to McCormick Place in Chicago, IL on March 23 to SEE 46 techniques for surgical treatment of Dupuytren’s disease, digital ischemia, cubital tunnel syndrome, hand and wrist arthritis, trauma to the hand, wrist, and elbow as well as wrist and elbow arthroscopy.
Learn more about the program & check out the faculty list.
Questions? Contact ASSH at or 312.880.1900.


Coding Questions? ASSH Can Help

ASSH offers a wealth of resources to physicians to keep you up to date on the latest coding information.
Log in to our eLearning Portal to find "Current Coding Challenges in Hand Surgery," a June 2012 webinar that covers accurate reporting of open, endoscopic, or unlisted CPT codes as well as determining proper use of modifiers and differentiation of usage depending on the payor.
The eLearning Portal also features a number of other practice management-related online courses.  Just log in using your ASSH account and click on the "Practice Management" link on the right side of the page under "Quick Links."
Check out the Coding Corner on our website for the latest developments and most current information on coding issues that are unique to hand and upper extremity care professionals.
At the 68th ASSH Annual Meeting, there will be a precourse on coding and reimbursement, covering recent coding changes and recommendations on best technology tools to use when processing reimbursements.  This year’s Annual Meeting will be held in San Francisco from October 3-5, 2013.  Look for more information regarding this course later in the spring.
The AAOS/OREF/ORS Clinician Scientist Development Program (CSDP) seeks applicants in their PGY2-PGY5 residency years, in fellowships, and Junior Faculty through year three who have the potential and desire to become orthopaedic clinician scientists.  Up to fifteen participants are selected to participate in the one and a half day CSDP training workshop.  ASSH will sponsor one hand surgeon applicant to attend.
The workshop will run September 26-28.  The CSDP provides participants with an orientation to the research environment including research history, funding sources and orthopaedic research organizations.  The workshop also provides the opportunity to meet and interact with research professors and establish a mentor relationship with selected faculty.

AMA Now Offering Annotated Model Physician Hospital Employment Agreement

The AMA Organized Medical Staff Section (OMSS), in conjunction with the AMA Office of the General Counsel, has developed and made available an Annotated Model Physician-Hospital Employment Agreement ( This resource, which has attracted considerable interest, is designed to serve as a comprehensive reference manual for those who are interested in learning more about and better understanding the structure and composition of and provisions commonly found in employment agreements. View the table of contents here.

Deadline to Request Exemption from ePrescribing Penalty Is Jan. 31 - from AMA

Physicians who were unable to file for a Medicare ePrescribing hardship exemption by the original deadline have until Jan. 31, 2013 to avoid the 1.5 percent payment penalty in 2013.
Acting upon AMA requests, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has re-opened the Communications Support web page to allow physicians who missed the June 30, 2012 deadline to file for an exemption.
Physicians may request a waiver of the 2013 penalty under any of the following categories:
  • The physician is unable to ePrescribe as a result of local, state or federal law or regulation.
  • The physician wrote fewer than 100 prescriptions during the period of Jan. 1 – June 30, 2012.
  • The physician practices in a rural area that doesn't have sufficient high-speed Internet access.
  • The physician practices in an area that doesn't have enough pharmacies that can do ePrescribing.
CMS also added two hardship categories for those participating in Medicare’s electronic health record meaningful use program. Physicians do not need to apply for an exemption related to these meaningful use hardship categories; CMS will automatically determine whether physicians meet those requirements.
Visit the CMS ePrescribing web page to learn more. Physicians can contact CMS’s QualityNet Help Desk at (866) 288-8912 or via email with questions or for assistance submitting their hardship exemption requests. Support is available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern time Monday through Friday.
Physicians who use Apple computers may experience technical problems; CMS encourages them to contact the Help Desk for assistance.
Hardship exemption requests for the 2014 payment penalty will be accepted during a separate period this year.
For more information on the Medicare ePrescribing Program, please visit the AMA’s website.
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Data from a pair of studies published online in the Journal of Hand Surgery support the efficacy of the use of collagenase clostridium histolyticum (CCH) for the treatment of Dupuytren contracture. The first study combines data from two trials covering a total of 879 joints in 587 patients at 14 U.S. and 20 Australian or European sites. The authors found that treatment was successful in 497 of treated joints (57 percent) using a mean 1.2 CCH injections per cord. The authors noted a greater success rate in the treatment of metacarpophalangeal joints (70 percent) compared to proximal interphalangeal joints (37 percent), and that less severely contracted joints responded better than those more severely contracted.
Read the abstract.
The second study enrolled 643 patients who had taken part in previous clinical trials. Of 1,080 CCH-treated joints in the original study, clinical success was achieved in 623 joints and 301 joints were partially corrected. Recurrence occurred in 35 percent of the corrected joints and in 50 percent of the partially corrected joints—a recurrence rate that the authors call comparable to other standard treatments. In addition, no new long-term or serious adverse events attributed to CCH were found during follow-up.
Read more.

Where Credit Is Due

ASSH would like to congratulate the following members who have recently accepted new positions:
  • Candidate member Dean Dominy, MD, has completed a fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and has joined Methodist Orthopaedic Specialists of Texas in Sugar Land, Texas.
  • Candidate member Mark Vitale, MD, has completed a fellowship at the Mayo Clinic and has joined Orthopaedic and Neurosurgery Specialists in Greenwich, Connecticut.
  • Candidate member Robert Wysocki, MD has completed a fellowship at Duke University Medical Center and has joined Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush in Chicago, Illinois.
Many of our members are achieving great things and winning awards for their contributions to upper extremity care, and we'd like to provide a place to celebrate your accomplishments. ASSH invites you to share professional news about yourself or fellow members for publication in Weekly Member Update.
To give credit where credit is due, send news and links to


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.

Randall D. Alexander, MD
Walter W. Doren, MD
Mohab Foad, MD
Hugh J. Hagan, MD
Ryosuke Kakinoki, MD
Kimberly K. Mezera, MD
Patrick W. Owens, MD
Dennis B. Phelps, MD
Gerald J. Shealy, MD
William B. Strecker, MD

These donors have written a check, gone online, given through OREF or donated stock to support the Foundation.  Have you?  Visit today to make your 2013 annual contribution.