AAHKS and AAOS sent a joint letter to Health and Human Services (HHS) Deputy Secretary Eric Hargan expressing our support for the Administration in their decision to delay elective procedures during the COVID-19 pandemic. Included in the letter was a request to consider issues that will affect our members.

 

  1. Include orthopaedic surgeons in eligibility for grants under the $100 billion allocation to the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund.
    Congress made these funds available for “health care providers for health care related expenses or lost revenues that are attributable to coronavirus.” By suspending elective procedures, orthopaedic surgeons are materially involved in limiting transmission among our patients “with possible or actual cases of COVID-19.” The lost revenue from these suspensions threatens the current employment of staff and the future capacity of our members to provide patient care.
  2. Don’t change reimbursement rates
    CMS should not make any change to reimbursement for total hip and total knee replacements in the CMS CY2021 Physician Fee Schedule Proposed Rule.
  3. Forgive losses in CMS Innovation Center models, such as CJR and BPCI-A
    These are attributable to canceled elective procedures and lopsided case mixes due to the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are concerned about the potential exposure of infection to current BPCI-A and CJR post-acute patients; more so because this patient population is expected to have a larger concentration of “high risk” patients. As a consequence, these patients may have higher instances of readmissions or complications. This will have an adverse impact on target price rates for these episodes and health outcomes of patients.
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