AAOS Bulletin - August, 2006

AAOS begins practice management podcast series

By Howard Mevis

First, there was the audiocassette, then came the telephone audio conference, and now we have the MP3 audio player as the technology of choice for delivering educational content. Each time the technology advanced, the AAOS kept pace with innovative programming, from the audiocassettes of select Annual Meeting Instructional Courses and symposia to the newest addition to the Academy’s educational line up—podcasts.

This past spring the Academy began developing a new audio program series focusing on practice management and advocacy issues. The new series, Practice Management Consults, is designed to help orthopaedic surgeons and practice administrators gain insights into methods to improve the business aspects of their practice. Four programs—each moderated by David Halsey, MD, chair of the AAOS Council on Advocacy—will be produced in 2006.

“These podcasts are designed to provide practical information on topics that directly affect the day-to-day management of any orthopaedic practice from solo to large groups,” said Dr. Halsey. “They are well organized and feature panels of knowledgeable speakers and commentators representing various viewpoints.”

The first two programs in the 2006 Practice Management Consults series are now available at www.aaos.org/pmc

Pay for performance

The first program, “Pay for Performance (P4P),” provides a clear explanation of P4P theoretical goals, principles and guidelines. It also reviews the practical issues and challenges of developing and implementing a P4P program and provides an overview of performance measures. In addition, the program describes how state-of-the-art information systems play a critical role in managing P4P programs.

Participants in the program include Barry Straube, MD, chief medical officer and director of the Office of Clinical Standards and Quality, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services; Ron Bangasser, MD, Integrated Healthcare Association (California); and Allan Korn, MD, and Carole Redding Flamm, MD, both of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of America. Their discussions illustrate the various implications created by P4P programs for orthopaedic surgeons in private and academic practice.

Payer agreements

The second podcast in the series, “Proactively Managing Payer Agreements,” was made available in early July. It covers agreement negotiation, implementation and ongoing management. In this program,

Dr. Halsey interviews a practice manager, an attorney and a financial advisor on negotiation issues. Representatives from three different-size practices provide insight into implementing and managing payer agreements.

The program focuses on a variety of issues, ranging from the data required to successfully negotiate an agreement and criteria for evaluating a payer to methods of cultivating new payer agreements. Also covered are how to monitor and report results, how to make appeals and how to identify practice costs related to managing agreements.

Still to come

In late September, the third installment—“Tips for Effective Risk Management”—will debut. Participants in the podcast will discuss various kinds of risks, the pros and cons of professional liability insurance, strategies for avoiding a professional liability lawsuit and other risk management, such as leased automotive, general liability and Medicare audits.

The final podcast of 2006—“Income Distribution Issues and Options”—will be posted on the AAOS Web site in November. This program will cover federal regulations and their implications for orthopaedic practices, the importance of income distribution in the context of a practice’s mission and strategic plan, physician compensation and group expectations, and strategies for achieving consensus on a group’s income distribution formula.

“The podcast topics were carefully chosen and designed to meet the growing needs of orthopaedic surgeons and their practices,” said Robert H. Haralson III, MD, MBA, AAOS medical director. “It will be well worth the investment for all physicians to take part in this series.”

The Academy’s new Practice Management Committee will provide oversight for the programs in the future.

Easy to download, these programs are a convenient—and affordable—way to bring a consultant into your practice. Some of the Practice Management Consult podcasts have been approved for CME credit and can be used to help fulfill the CME requirements mandated by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgeons’ Maintenance of Certification program. AAOS members can obtain CME credits by completing an evaluation form on the AAOS Web site.

AAOS members, practice administrators, nonmembers and residents may participate in individual podcasts or purchase a subscription for the series of all four. Practice administrators working for Academy members can purchase podcasts at member rates. Registration fees for a single program are $79 for members; $99 for non members and $69 for residents. Save with a series subscription—all four podcasts for $265 (member cost; $325 non member cost; $205 for residents).

Howard Mevis is director of the AAOS department of electronic media, evaluation and course operations.

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