By Quanjun (Trey) Cui, MD
Immediate Past President, Virginia Orthopaedic Society
On Thursday, April 27, 2017, delegation from the Virginia Orthopaedic Society, including Drs. Douglas Boardman, Jeffrey Boatright, Eric Carson, Paul Crook, Quanjun Cui, Andy Engh, Wilford Gibson, David Romness and Michael Wolfe, together with more than 300 orthopaedic surgeons from around the country, met with their congressional representatives as part of the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) National Orthopaedic Leadership Conference (NOLC). Orthopaedic surgeons urged legislators to repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) through legislation such as S. 260/H.R. 849, to reverse the restrictions on physician-owned hospitals via H.R. 1156, and to take meaningful steps towards medical liability reform with legislation including H.R. 1704. Attendees also shared AAOS efforts to raise awareness of the importance of prescription safety and the dangers of opioid misuse, including a public service campaign with print and radio ads.
By Paul Crook, PGY-4
Virginia Commonwealth University
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Virginia Orthopaedic Society for allowing me to take part in the National Orthopaedic Leadership Conference on April 26-27 in Washington, D.C. As a resident, there aren't too many opportunities to get involved in the political process, but this is a great experience where we get to advocate for our patients as well as the orthopaedic community at the national level. We met with congressmen and key staff members from the Senate and House of Representatives and discussed several important issues that will have significant impacts on national healthcare costs and our ability to care for patients. One vital lesson I learned is truly how crucial it is for physicians to be involved in the policy-making process. One glaring example that we fought against was the Independent Payment Advisory Board, a provision of the Affordable Care Act. Essentially, this provision would allow the President of the United States to appoint a 15 member board whose explicit task would be to cut Medicare costs. Unfortunately, this board would not be an elected body, could not include any actively practicing physicians, and would essentially have unilateral authority on healthcare coverage decisions for the Medicare population. To us as physicians, it seems unthinkable that members outside of the medical community could garner this much power over medical decisions for our patients. However, without strong physician participation in the political arena, these types of policies can and will be written. It is up to us to explain to our representatives why the implementation of certain policies, without proper foresight, can lead to devastating consequences for their constituents. Again, this conference is a fantastic opportunity for residents, and I encourage my fellow residents to get involved and make their voices heard. Thank you again to the Virginia Orthopaedic Society for the opportunity to represent Virginia Commonwealth University at the 2017 National Orthopaedic Leadership Conference.