Letter from the President
It is truly a great honor to have been elected to serve as the President of the New Jersey Orthopaedic Society for this year. During the last several years serving on the board of The New Jersey Orthopaedic Society and organizing two of our annual educational symposia, I have come to truly understand how crucially important the NJOS is to the practicing orthopaedic surgeon in New Jersey. With over 500 members we are fortunate to have one of the country’s largest and most active specialty societies. The NJOS serves the orthopaedic community through its missions of education and advocacy.
By way of introduction, I have been a practicing orthopaedic hand surgeon in Gloucester County since I completed my training at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and the Indiana Hand Center in 1996. I have served in leadership positions at my two surgical centers and have been involved in the Medical Society of New Jersey having previously served on their Board of Trustees for over 10 years. I am currently Vice President of the Medical Staff at Inspira Medical Center in Woodbury, New Jersey.
Each spring, our annual educational symposium brings several nationally known thought leaders in for a Saturday morning session to share their insight on the cutting edge and controversial issues in orthopaedics. In addition, in the afternoon prior to the symposium, we sponsor Dr. Vincent McInerny’s annual residents’ research and complications conference. I believe this is unique to New Jersey in that it brings together orthopaedic residents from every single residency in the state to present their research or complicated case reports to each other, the state’s orthopaedic community, and the visiting professors in a very collegial forum. Most past faculty have shared with me how rare this experience is in comparison to what they see as they travel the country lecturing.
I am also pleased to announce that we are collaborating with The Eastern Orthopaedic Association for their upcoming annual meeting (October 19-22, 2016) in New Orleans. NJOS members will be able to attend the meeting at the EOA member rate. In addition, several members of NJOS will be moderating sessions and the NJOS has awarded two travelling fellowships to New Jersey resident physicians to presents their research papers. Finally, The Society has invited Dr. Thomas E. Price to speak. Dr. Price is a six term congressman from Georgia who was, for twenty years, a practicing orthopaedic surgeon. I look forward to hearing his perspective on the myriad of federal programs including the ACA and MACRA that impact our lives on a daily basis.
While most of us believe our residency and fellowship training prepared us for the clinical practice of orthopaedics, we soon realize that the practice of medicine is profoundly impacted by the business practices of hospital systems and the insurance industry as well the legislative and regulatory environments they are so good at influencing. We frequently may feel that our livelihoods and our ability to treat our patients are beyond our control. With active participation in the New Jersey Orthopaedic Society, however, I realize that you do have a voice to influence these decisions that are being made around you. Our advocacy team of lobbyists and legal counsel help to organize the orthopaedic opinion on the impact of many of the issues currently being debated in the New Jersey Legislature (Out of Network, Narrow Networks, Ambulatory Surgical Center Issues, Opioid legislation and regulation, Scope of Practice Issues). Through our purchasing Alliance that provides a significant discount for malpractice coverage with MD Advantage, we have been able to have significant visibility and clout in Trenton to help have our concerns heard.
The New Jersey Orthopedic Society Board and I value the perspective and experience of each of our members. We truly want to make sure that the society is focused on what the members need and want us to do. Please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or concerns.
Bruce Monaghan, MD
On Monday, December 5th the Senate version of the Out-of-Network (OON) legislation, S-1285, was scheduled for a vote by the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee. Over the course of the past weekend the New Jersey Hospital Association (NJHA) cut a last-minute deal with the OON bill sponsors. That deal would have called for amendments to the bill which would have proposed a cap on OON charges instead requiring an interim payment for OON services creating an option for binding arbitration only if the two parties could not come to an agreement. As soon as that deal was cut between the sponsors and NJHA other proponents of the bill including Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield and major public employee unions expressed their opposition to this new proposal. As a result of those sudden changes and our continued opposition, Senator Vitale asked that the bill be removed from Monday’s Senate Committee agenda until a later date. A press conference announcing the NJHA deal was postponed. However, our Access to Care Coalition went forward with our press conference featuring bi-partisan legislators, physicians, and a patient to oppose this bill. Thank you to Dr. Monaghan for representing the Society at the press conference.
While we have slowed the advancement of OON we have not stopped it. We know that the sponsors will continue working on helping their supporters understand these changes so that the bill may move forward. This could happen as soon as December 15, 2016 or early next year. Your continued advocacy as a member of our society, in your practice, and in your hospital with your colleagues is very important. We continue to work within our Access to Care Coalition to strategize about next steps and raise questions and opposition to the bill. We will be in touch with new developments.