Fall 2019 Issue
By Bradley Butkovich, MD
President, Virginia Orthopaedic Society
As the summer comes to a close and a fall begins, hopefully many of us were able to get away from our practices and enjoy the fruits of our labor with vacation, volunteering, and spending time with family and friends. As we get back into our work in earnest, may we embrace the season of children heading back to school, sports to cover and new partners in practice. Personally, I have sent my oldest daughter off to the University of Virginia, my team coverage of football and fall sports are in full swing at Old Dominion University, and our practice is welcoming three new physicians. It is my hope that we may reflect on the time we had away to inspire us to continue to perform at the top of our game as orthopaedists in Virginia.
Since our last newsletter, the advocacy efforts of our Virginia Orthopaedic Society have been going strong. In June, several VOS members joined the AAOS team during the National Orthopaedic Leadership Conference (NOLC) in Washington, DC for Advocacy Day to meet with congressmen, senators, and staffers. This year’s agenda was once again focused on a few key topics. First, we celebrated the success of the Good Samaritan Health Professionals Act to expand protections for physicians who volunteer during disasters and physicians that cover sports teams while out of state. We continued to push for regulatory reform and easing the burden on our everyday practices. While no single bill encompassed this entire effort, a key request during this year’s NOLC was to continue to gather support for Stark Law reform which would modernize it in a way to raise the obstacles that the original law creates in design and implementation of novel care and payment models. Repeal of laws regarding prohibition of physician owned hospitals, banned under the Affordable Care Act, was also a topic of discussion.
As we look to the fall, I would remind everyone that all politics is truly local. Lobbying, advocacy and promoting positions that benefit all orthopaedists in our commonwealth remains a primary pillar of our role in representing you through your Virginia Orthopaedic Society. It was great to see how our Society fits into the big picture in June in Washington, but here at home, we are the big picture.
The election on November 5 is a big deal, and the support of your local General Assembly Delegate and state Senator that is favorable to orthopaedists is going to be critical in our roles in healthcare, COPN repeal and balance billing practices. Whether through our actions or through our financial support, we have a voice in Richmond as long as we pursue it. We will continue to have updates from Richmond throughout the year from our highly respected lobbyist, Cal Whitehead. This society is the voice of your practice and I invite you to contact us if there are any issues that are affecting your practice or the care of your orthopaedic patients. Of course, maintaining our ability to be there for you is dependent on maintaining a strong society with an equally strong Political Action Committee. Please, take note of the following:
One word about political battles from the past. All our practices are in some way affected by the Virginia Workers' Compensation Fee Schedule. Fortunately, that schedule continues to be monitored and will evolve in the future. Prior to the fee schedule, Virginia had one of the most cost-efficient systems in the country and it is essential that all our practices maintain awareness of ongoing changes that have the potential to affect us. The schedule as written is somewhat sensitive to the challenges in caring for workers' comp patients. Currently, there is a survey out from the Workers' Comp Commission. Please ensure that your practices have someone on the lookout for these and fill them out when the opportunity arises so our voices can be heard. If we as orthopaedists do not provide our input regarding Workers' Compensation, somebody else will.
Moving forward, plans are falling into place for next year’s Annual Meeting in Virginia Beach. Please mark your calendars for the weekend of May 15-17, 2020 and plan to join us at the Hilton Oceanfront. This is a beautiful time of year at the beach and with many things to do, with a boardwalk teeming with restaurants, entertainment, the Aquarium and water-based activities all in the shadow of King Neptune. Our Program Co-chairs, Samuel Robinson, MD and Blake Moore, MD are lining up a dynamic program with an engaging slate of speakers that will emphasize trauma, sports medicine and knee reconstruction, and general topics on practice management. Thank you for all you do for the orthopaedic patients in the Commonwealth of Virginia. If there is anything we can do here at the Society to support you, do not hesitate to contact us. And in closing, please support us with your ongoing membership.