January 1997 Bulletin

Secretary's Report


by D. Eugene Thompson, MD, Academy Board of Directors Secretary

This report highlights actions taken by the Board of Directors during its meeting in Chicago Dec. 6-7, 1996.

Approves Strategic Plan

The Board approved the 1997-1998 Strategic Plan. The mission of the Academy is "to foster and assure highest quality and most cost-effective musculoskeletal health care through education of orthopaedists, other providers of health care and the public; promotion and communication of musculoskeletal research; and communication with members, other health care professionals, policy makers and the public; and leadership, through patient advocacy, and the provision of leadership in the development of health care policy.

MODEMS is operational

Joseph A. Buckwalter, MD, chairman of the Council on Research and Scientific Affairs reported that the Academy's Musculoskeletal Outcomes Data Evaluation and Management System (MODEMS™ ) program is operational and has 52 subscribers. The program enables physicians to collect data on patients' demographics, general health status, musculoskeletal function and on resource utilization. Physicians can store and use the data and make it part of the national data bank which will allow participants to compare their practice to national norms. The Board approved the development of a health status questionnaire with a patient satisfaction component by the 1997 Annual Meeting. (See MODEMS program is operational)

Academy to retire bond

The Board authorized the Academy to retire the tax-exempt financing bond which was used to finance the purchase and certain remodeling of the Academy building in Rosemont, Ill. The terms of the bond required that the Academy either retire or refinance the bond in April 1997. In addition, the Finance Committee report, which included a Board of Directors' investment policy/philosophy statement, was approved.

Approve OLC work, hotel talks

The Board approved proceeding with Phase I expansion of the Orthopaedic Learning Center (OLC) and discussions with private developers to build a hotel adjacent to the Academy's building which could influence the future development of the OLC. The Phase I expansion of the OLC had been approved in May but was held in abeyance in September, pending study of the possible building of an adjacent hotel. The proposed hotel could provide facilities that could be used for educational purposes and might generate income for the maintenance of the OLC. The Board approved proceeding with due diligence negotiations on the hotel project.

Seek ban of "excellence" term

The Board gave approval to the Academy's Washington office to seek legislation that would require Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) to cease using the term "participating centers of excellence" for its proposed hip and knee demonstration project. In addition, the Board voted to cease preparation of a legal action on the use of the term. (See Academy to ask Congress to ban HCFA's 'excellence' term)

Rate health policy actions

The Task Force on Public Education and Advocacy presented its study of the Academy's programs on health policy issues, showing that fellows rated as the most important health policy activity the representation of their interests in Washington, D.C. and with Medicare agencies and entities, such as HCFA and the AMA/Specialty Society Relative Value Scale Update Committee (RUC). While members' awareness about most Academy activities was high, awareness was low for the Academy's participation in RUC activities and representation with state legislation and coalition building. The Board accepted the report. (See Policy initiatives get high marks)

Approve research project

The Board approved a research project to measure the practice cost of orthopaedic surgical procedures. HCFA is developing a resource-based payment system for the practice expense component of the Medicare RBRVS and is expected to publish in the spring 1997 preliminary practice expense RVUs based on estimates. The Academy would have accurate time motion data to submit during the refinement period before the practice expense component is implemented in January 1998.

Committee on Diversity

The Board approved creation of a new Committee on Diversity. The committee will address the need for more women and members of minority groups in orthopaedic surgery. (See Orthopaedics lags in minority surgeons)

Family violence initiative

The Board approved a new Academy initiative against family violence which will be launched at the Academy's Annual Meeting in February. The program is designed to raise the awareness of orthopaedic surgeons in the issues and indications of family violence to spouses, children and the elderly and to provide information to help abused patients. (See Family violence at epidemic levels)


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