June 2002 Bulletin

Board of Directors holds workshop on advocacy

As part of its strategic planning process, the AAOS Board of Directors held a two-day workshop in April to set future directions for orthopaedic political activities. AAOS President Vernon Tolo, MD chaired the workshop. Among other activities, the Board did the following:

Identified top issues. The Board identified the following legislative and regulatory issues as priorities for the AAOS in the foreseeable future:

  1. Medicare payment cuts
  2. Rising professional liability insurance rates
  3. Problems for orthopaedists in providing emergency coverage and the impact of the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) on this issue
  4. Musculoskeletal research funding
  5. The effects of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) on patient privacy
  6. Prompt payment of insurance claims
  7. Graduate medical education funding
  8. Regulation of devices, biologics and combination products
  9. Physician anti-trust and collective bargaining
  10. Scope of practice

Developed a framework for creating a musculoskeletal research agenda. Workshop participants established a way to identify musculoskeletal research priorities. The purpose of identifying priorities is to help federal agencies like the National Institutes of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases determine what areas are in most need of funding.

Identified the key components of a comprehensive legislative proposal. The Board decided that the AAOS should promote a comprehensive proposal for new legislation that would address a wide array of important issues, including:

  1. Health disparities among different population groups
  2. The prevention and treatment of disorders that especially affect seniors
  3. Women’s health research
  4. Research on and the prevention and treatment of childhood musculoskeletal conditions and injuries
  5. The potential creation of a national joint replacement registry.

Determined future planning for the National Orthopaedic Leadership Conference (NOLC). The three-day NOLC involves visits by orthopaedists to Capitol Hill. In recent years, the number of participants has grown dramatically. This event, which was once dominated almost exclusively by the Board of Councilors, now involves the AAOS Board of Directors, Council of Musculoskeletal Specialty Societies, individual musculoskeletal specialty societies, state orthopaedic societies and other orthopaedic-related organizations. Because of the growth in participants, the Board decided to create a new NOLC planning team with representatives from each of these groups to ensure that the event’s continuing growth is effectively managed.

Found ways to improve the structure and operation of the federal Orthopaedic Political Action Committee (PAC). The Board decided to support a much more aggressive program to raise money for the Orthopaedic PAC, especially having heard the startling news that lawyers, on average, contribute $1,000 each to their PACs while physicians, on average, contribute $6 each to their PACs. The PAC’s new promotional efforts include telemarketing, newsletters, direct mailings and Web-based means to attract support from the orthopaedic community.

Called for closer ties between the AAOS, musculoskeletal specialty societies and state orthopaedic societies. The Board stressed the importance of having the AAOS, state orthopaedic societies and musculoskeletal specialty societies work more closely together on a common political advocacy agenda. To accomplish this, the AAOS will find new ways to get these organizations’ input. The AAOS will also continue its efforts to help strengthen these organizations, especially the state societies, so they can more effectively serve the orthopaedic community at-large.

Decided that policies should be established on joining coalitions. The Board recognized that coalitions can be more effective than going it alone when lobbying on a particular issue. The AAOS has been and continues to be part of several coalitions that have been influential on several key health policy issues.

At the same time, the Board decided that there should be well-defined policies governing when and how the AAOS should join a coalition. The Board made this decision to ensure that money used for coalitions is spent wisely and that the AAOS’ good name is protected.

Next steps

During the coming months, AAOS leaders and staff will implement these and other findings from the workshop. A status report on this effort will be presented back to the full Board at the end of the year.

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