U.S. Congress Connecticut Landmark Legislation Seeks to Give Antitrust Relief to Physicians
Connecticut orthopaedic surgeons were well represented at the 2011 AAOS NOLC meeting April 6 -8 in Washington, DC. The Society's delegation included AAOS Councilor, Michael Connair, MD, President- Elect William Cimino, MD, Vice- President-Elect, Ross Benthien, MD, Board Members, Frank Gerratana, MD and Bruce Browner, MD and COS Member, Robert Dawe, MD.
Thanks to Dr. Frank Gerratana and the political relationships he has built through the years, the delegation met personally with all of Connecticut's House of Representatives and fresh- man Senator, Richard Blumenthal. Issues discussed included the need for tort reform, sponsorship of the AAOS Act to unify the data collection of muscuoskeletal diseases, repealing the Medicare IPAB and most significantly, the Health Care Coali- tion Act of 2011.
This landmark bill was submitted by Congessman John Conyers(D-Michigan) to the U.S. House Judiciary Commit- tee and cosponsored by Congressmen Paul and Miller. It is with special recognition for Dr. Michael Connair's decade long commitment to ensuring collective bargaining and antitrust relief to physicians that H.R. 1409 was written and it will provide health care professionals with the right to collectively negotiate contracts against commercial insurers and if passed will alter the balance of power among insurers, doctors and patients.
Organized support for H.R.1409 will be the key to facilitate the passage of this critical piece of health care reform leg- islation that will help assure future patient access to quality care and the viability of the private practice of medicine.
(Note: Please contact the COS at
if you would like a copy H.R. 1409 and how you can help promote the sponsorship of this bill with your Connecticut Representative.) There is much work to be done and the Society will continue to work with the AAOS to augment the grassroots efforts of orthopaedic surgeons.
Society Seeks Precertification Legislation
Since the beginning of 2011 Legislative Session in January, the CT Orthopaedic Societ has been busy working on a variety of healthcare issues at the State Capitol.
A major initiative of the Society is precertificiation legislation to guarantee reimbursement by health insur- ers for procedures and services that receive a preau- thorization, predetermination or precertification, SB 54. Robert Green, MD (COS Past President) provided the Society's testimony at the Committee on Insurance and Real Estate public hearing and written testimony by F.Scott Gray, MD and a patient's family impacted by a retroactive denial were submitted. Discussions continue with our lobbying firm, Halloran & Sage and key legislators.
The proposed changes to the Certificate of Merit stat- ute, HB 6487, that would eliminate important thresh- olds in order to move forward with a med mal com- plaint was opposed by the Society in written testimony by Dr. Michael Marks (COS Past President). Our Society's testimony was signed on by other state spe- cialty societies: Eye Physicians, Dermatology, ENT and Urology Society along with Norwalk Hospital to strengthen medicine's opposition to the changes. The Society continues to oppose this bill.
Collective bargaining for Connecticut physicians, HB 6343, is strongly supported by COS and written testimony was submitted to the Joint Committee on Ju- diciary urging the legislative relief for doctors. Other bills related to health insurer practices we supported in conjunction with other state specialty societies are prohibiting most favored nation clauses, HB6471, and urging changes to the appeals of health insurance ben- efit denials to protect patients, SB 18.
We support the Connecticut College of Emergency Room physicians who are seeking legislation, HB 6622, that would enhance access to ER care and help control cost by enacting significant medical malprac- tice reform for EMTALA providers.
There is still work to be done before the session ends in June and the Society will continue to work on behalf of all orthopaedic surgeons. We encourage members to take an active role in key bills under consideration and urge you to contact the Society to take an active role in legislation that impacts your practice, your pa- tients and the delivery of healthcare in our State.