AAOS Bulletin - October, 2005

Practice Management Symposium puts it together

Learn innovative strategies to orthopaedic practice success at Annual Meeting

By Steven E. Fisher, MBA

With each passing year, it becomes more challenging to operate a successful orthopaedic practice. Payment for services rendered by physicians and ancillary health personnel continues to decrease. Operational costs, including those relating to compliance with federal regulations, are constantly increasing. And, to an ever greater extent, patients’ ability to receive medical care from physicians of their choice is restricted by the terms of their insurance coverage.

It’s critical, therefore, for orthopaedists to learn sound business administration principles and apply those principles to the management of their practices. Recognizing this need, the AAOS has been involved in educating its members about practice management issues for more than 15 years. Activities have included Instructional Course Lectures at the Annual Meeting, stand-alone programs, national conferences on emerging issues of concern to the membership and coding and reimbursement courses.

At the 2005 AAOS Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., the Academy held its first Practice Management Symposium for Practicing Orthopaedic Surgeons. The symposium was developed as a companion course for the Practice Management Symposium for Orthopaedic Residents, which had been successfully introduced several years previously. Attendance was more than twice than expected, and attendees’ evaluations were extremely positive.

The AAOS will hold its second annual Practice Management Symposium for Practicing Orthopaedic Surgeons on March 21, 2006, the day prior to the opening of the 2006 Annual Meeting in Chicago. The program will dovetail with a new, comprehensive Practice Management Education Initiative approved by the Board of Directors in September 2005 (see sidebar).

The first Physicians’ Symposium concentrated on techniques that larger practices could employ to improve their overall profitability, their organizational effectiveness and their quality of patient care. This second symposium will focus on techniques that orthopaedists in solo practice and in smaller groups can employ. The five areas of emphasis, shown above, will remain the same:

• Maximizing current and future practice revenues

• Increasing operational efficiency and effectiveness

• Improving patient relations and managing risk

• Achieving compliance with federal and state regulations

• Engaging in ongoing organizational development

As illustrated in the Pentagon of Practice Management, each of the five key activities is required for effective practice management and is closely related to the other four.

Featured speakers at the upcoming Physicians’ Symposium are experts in their respective fields. They include orthopaedic surgeons, an attorney who specializes in Stark and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act Privacy and Security regulations, outside practice management advisors, and office administrators. A handout booklet—documenting and expanding on issues presented by speakers—will be distributed to all course participants.

Symposium registrations will be accepted online and via fax when the 2006 Annual Meeting registration opens in November. The course fee is $399 for AAOS members and their staff, and $499 for non-members. The 2005 Practice Management Symposium for Orthopaedic Surgeons was a sell-out, so be sure to sign up early.

Steven E. Fisher, MBA, is manager of practice management affairs. He can be reached at 847/384-4331 or sfisher@aaos.org

    AAOS introduces PME initiative

    At its September 2005 meeting, the AAOS Board of Directors approved a plan for a comprehensive Practice Management Education (PME) initiative.

    As part of the initiative, several new educational programs will be developed, including a two-and-a-half day course, a series of audio programs, articles delivered via e-mail, and a self-assessment exam. The initiative will be launched in 2006.

    The new educational programs will be designed to dovetail with existing products and services such as the Practice Management Symposium. Look for details about the new Practice Management Education initiative in future issues of the Bulletin.

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