December 2002 Bulletin

In Brief

HIPAA temporarily limiting ability to submit online claims

Insurance companies are taking their claims submission and referral authorizations off-line to make them compliant with new federal standards for electronic health care transactions, according to the health care consulting company Cap Gemini Ernst & Young. About 53 percent of insurers surveyed let physicians submit claims through their Web sites in March 2002, but only 44 percent did so in October. The reduction is due to insurers’ efforts to revamp sites to meet the requirements of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). The limits may last until late spring or early summer of 2003. For more information, visit

Orthopaedic PAC participated in record number of races

During the 2002 fall elections, the Orthopaedic Political Action Committee (PAC) participated in a record 198 Congressional races, contributing a total of $624,239, about equally divided between Democratic and Republican candidates. It appears that the Orthopaedic PAC had a success rate of about 90 percent among races to which it contributed. These contributions facilitated the ability of the AAOS to convey the concerns of orthopaedic surgeons in the legislative and regulatory arena.

New spine topics added to OKO

Orthopaedic Knowledge Online (OKO), the Academy’s convenient online CME resource, has added two new spine topics, including "L5-S1 Disc Degeneration" and "Thoracolumbar Burst Fractures." Another spine topic–"Spinal Osteoporosis"–will be posted by year’s end. "L5-S1 Disc Degeneration" details the classification, diagnosis, and management of degenerative conditions affecting the lumbar spine. The module also explores the non-operative as well as operative therapy options for various degenerative conditions and covers complications and rehabilitation for each treatment option. The surgical procedures described include ALIF, PLIF and TLIF, with a step-by-step procedural video on transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion. "Thoracolumbar Burst Fractures" covers the pathophysiology and etiology of this condition through the diagnosis, surgical and non-surgical management options. In addition to in-depth coverage with text, visual resources and patient cases, this OKO topic offers detailed procedures for the anterior decompression/interbody fusion and step-by-step video of the posterior distraction/ligamentotaxis reduction procedure. To log onto the OKO site, go to or visit the AAOS home page at and select the "OKO" button.

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