August 2001 Bulletin

In the News

AAOS tells OSHA forum education, research needed on ergonomics

An educational campaign directed at workers, employees and health care providers, and continued investment in ergonomics research are the most useful and cost-effective methods of government involvement in addressing workplace ergonomics injuries, the AAOS told the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) on July 24, 2001. Addressing a public forum called by the U.S. Labor Department, Peter Mandell, MD, chairman of the AAOS Occupational Health and Workers’ Compensation Committee, also stressed that health care providers, in particular orthopaedic surgeons, are the most experienced and best-qualified people to answer questions about whether or not an individual has an ergonomics injury and what caused it. "Relying on employers, employees or cookbook graphs and charts as a substitute for appropriate diagnosis by an appropriate health care provider is neither cost-effective for business not serves the best interest of the workers," Dr. Mandell said. Concerning the educational campaign, Dr. Mandell said employers, workers and health care providers could form a task force to develop the educational agenda which would address questions each group had regarding ergonomics injuries. The approach allows different ergonomics programs to be developed for different groups of workers. The educational campaign would be efficient and effective when it is based on sound science, therefore, he said the government must continue ongoing focused ergonomics research. Dr. Mandell also suggested that OSHA consider using the existing California standard as a template for a national regulation. The one-page rule says that if an employer has more than one "repetitive motion injury" in any consecutive 12-month period as the result of work from identical work activities, then the employer must establish and implement a program designed to minimize the repetitive motion injuries.

165 lawmakers seek modifications in HIPAA privacy rules

A letter signed by 165 members of the U.S. House of Representatives asks Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson to make modifications in some of the medical privacy rules mandated by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). They say some provisions could compromise patient care and essential hospital operations. The lawmakers said that "doctors and nurses must not be hindered by unclear oral communications definitions and be permitted to discuss care and treatment issues with patients." They also said "scheduling patients for surgery, X-rays or other vital services shouldn’t depend on patients having to complete exhaustive privacy consent forms that could be 10 or more pages long." (Also, see HIPAA to boost paperwork burden.)

Your Orthopaedic Connection has 350 patient ed. Documents

Since it’s inception in March 2000, there has been more than 1.6 million page views of the documents on the web site.

If you’re looking for a fact sheet, brochure or booklet to hand to your patient, check out Your Orthopaedic Connection, the AAOS’s patient/public web site at More than 350 fact sheets, brochures and booklets can be downloaded from the web site. The documents are written by AAOS staff and reviewed by AAOS members. Documents are being developed in collaboration with the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons, American Society for Surgery of the Hand and American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine. Documents also are being reviewed by the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society, Knee Society and Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America, as well as orthopaedic experts throughout the membership. Your Orthopaedic Connection is being continually expanded with new documents.

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