by Nicholas B. Frisch, MD, MBA and Bradford S. Waddell, MD
2017-2018 AAHKS Health Policy Fellows

This week, members of AAHKS and staff were in Washington D.C. for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) National Orthopaedic Leadership Conference (NOLC) advocacy event. The AAHKS team used the time in the Capitol to meet with members of Congress and Senate to discuss a bipartisan approach to the issues facing our patients and physicians. The topic of changes in opioid prescribing habits was addressed, and the AAHKS team gave advice and recommendations on post-surgical prescribing freedom to meet the needs of our patients.

Another important topic discussed was the recent removal of total knee arthroplasty from the inpatient-only list and how this has affected our patients and practices. The team asked legislators to contact the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in support of our efforts to clarify this regulatory change. We asked for an exception for those who are currently participating in the Bundled Payment for Care Improvement (BPCI) initiative within the boundaries of the Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement (CJR) territories. This would afford participants the option to move to BPCI-Advanced when BPCI ends October 1, 2018 instead of being forced into a CJR model without preparation.

As always, we offered to act as a source of information and help in any way that we can as changes are made or questions arise in health care policy in the future. We continue to work with AAOS to advance the initiatives that we believe most strongly impact our members, and through that collaboration, to increase the breadth of our message.

Forming stronger ties with our legislators, growing new relationships and maintaining a presence on the Hill will help to effect positive change in these areas that are critical for our patients and our respective practices. Follow #NOLC2018 on Twitter.