June 2000 AAOS Report

Orthopaedists urge federal lawmakers to 'put patient first'

More than 200 orthopaedic surgeons and their spouses visited their U.S. senators and representatives in Washington, D.C. in May, urging them to "put the patient first." The annual visit to Capitol Hill, part of the AAOS National Orthopaedic Leadership Conference, enabled orthopaedists to stress the need for passage of H.R. 1304, the Quality Health Care Coalition Act, which allows physicians and other health care professionals to negotiate collectively with insurers. Lawmakers also heard the need for passage of legislation with strong patient protection language, ranging from timely access to specialists in their plan to prohibition of financial incentives that result in withholding of care or denial of a referral. Orthopaedists also asked their representatives to encourage leaders of the House and Senate to hold hearings on the extent to which the Health Care Financing Administration's actions in prosecuting fraudulent behavior are adversely affecting patient care and not reducing fraud and abuse in the Medicare system.

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