AAOS Bulletin - April, 2006

AAOS establishes Policy Action Fund for states

By Susan Koshy, JD

Legislative and regulatory issues on the state level often mirror those on the federal level. However, state regulations can frequently have a greater impact on orthopaedic practices in the state than federal legislation does. To help state orthopaedic societies deal with state legislative and regulatory issues, the AAOS Board of Directors has established the State Orthopaedic Society Health Policy Action Fund.

Of the initial $200,000 funding, $40,000 was awarded to state societies during 2005. This year, the AAOS will provide $80,000 in grants to state societies; the remaining $80,000 will be awarded in 2007.

To obtain funds, state orthopaedic societies must submit detailed proposals outlining the legislative and/or regulatory issue they are facing and its impact on orthopaedic practices. State societies must also present a detailed budget and a description of how the grant money will be used.

The Board of Councilors (BOC) State Legislative and Regulatory Issues Committee reviews each grant application and makes recommendations. The final funding decision is made by BOC leadership and the Council on Advocacy.

Three awards in 2005

In 2005, three state orthopaedic societies received funding assistance through the State Orthopaedic Society Health Policy Action Fund. The Texas Orthopaedic Association (TOA) was awarded $20,000 for ongoing litigation against the Texas State Board of Podiatric Medical Examiners, which had unilaterally adopted rules expanding the scope of practice of podiatrists to include the ankle as well as the foot.

A second grant of $10,000 went to the Missouri State Orthopaedic Association, which is trying to reverse legislation that prohibits physicians from making a referral to an entity furnishing physical therapy services in which the physician has a financial interest. The third grant, also $10,000, went to the Tennessee Orthopaedic Society to oppose the American Physical Therapy Association’s attempt to pass direct access legislation in Tennessee.

2006 grants

Thus far in 2006, four states—California, Florida, Delaware and Rhode Island—have received funds through the State Orthopaedic Society Health Policy Action Fund. The California Orthopaedic Association was awarded $20,000 to file a possible lawsuit that would prevent physicians not licensed in California from practicing medicine in the state through utilization review decisions in workers’ compensation cases.

The Florida Orthopaedic Society received $10,000 for its efforts to limit the existing scope of practice of podiatrists in that state. The Delaware Society of Orthopaedic Surgeons was awarded $5,000 to prevent the reduction of worker’s compensation reimbursement rates. Finally, the Rhode Island State Orthopaedic Society received $5,000 to revise current state legislation that mandates American College of Radiology (ACR) accreditation for any licensed health care facility that performs magnetic resonance imaging in the state. The society is seeking modifications to the legislation to allow for other accrediting bodies besides the ACR.

Additional grants will be awarded in the upcoming months. If your state orthopaedic society is interested in applying for funding, contact me at koshy@aaos.org or at (847) 384-4332.

Susan Koshy, JD, is manager of state society and legislative affairs in the AAOS department of socioeconomic and state society affairs.

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