Over the past several years, ISASS has become more and more involved in reaching out beyond the organization and actively participating in dialogue throughout the medical industry. Toward that objective, ISASS has accomplished the following:

  • Submitted application to become a member of the FOSA- Federation of Spine Associations which includes CSRS- Cervical Spine Research Society, NASS (North American Spine Society) SRS ( Scoliosis Research Society) ASIA (American Spinal Injury Association)
  • Connecting with patient advocacy groups such as the Arthroplasty Patient Foundation and Spine Patient Society
  • Connected with Spine-health.com which supports the patient information portion of our website – added in January.
  • Sent ISASS statements on health care reform—:
    “Current State of Health Care Reform” article for ISASS Newsletter (June)
    Online Editorial, Stephen Hochschuler: “Health Care ‘Reform'”? (July)
    Letter to President, Congress, airing concerns about current reform proposals – Dr. Park (August)
  • Working with MCRA’s Musculoskeletal Clinical Regularly Advisers who is writing a series of potential journal articles for ISASS on treatment for DDD of the lumbar spine. This is big as they have good information and with the support of our surgeon members, the statement will be of good use.
  • Track the Institute of Medicine’s priority list of treatments and medicines for Comparative Effectiveness Research, specific to spine health. Letter to CMS on the proposed rule for 2010 physician fee schedule, expressing particular concern about the declining reimbursement for arthroplasty vs. fusion.
  • Participation in the Spine Summit, with follow ups at NASS, AANS, AAOS about greater integration of ISASS into the CPT/RUC review process, and also other public policy-focused coalition work.
  • SAS successfully entered into the AMA’s Specialty & Service Society, the first step in the three-year process toward entry into the AMA House of Delegates.
  • Gain acceptance of Dr. Andersson and ISASS into the AMA Surgical Caucus
  • Successfully attained ISASS participation in the American College of Surgeons’ Surgical Society Coalition, for the purposes of discussing and collaborating on legislative and regulatory public policy issues.
  • Sent letter to AMA CPT Editorial Panel Chair and RUC Chair, expressing a desire to close the reimbursement gap between arthroplasty and fusion, and offering to work with them on consensus around this issue.
  • Conduct research into joining various coalitions focused on public policy, including the Alliance of Specialty Medicine and the Surgical Quality Alliance.
  • SAS participated in the California Technology Assessment Forum’s review of cervical disc arthroplasty, including the drafting of two letters to CTAF, and also preparation of talking points for ISASS representative, J.J. Abitbol, MD.
  • Supplied information to the Motion Picture Industry Health  Plan Medical Director that helped them determine coverage for the 115,000 members are covered for one level cervical disc arthroplasty
  • Provided statement to AMA coding issue of cervical fusion arthroplasty
  • Developed letters to North Carolina Blue Cross/Blue Shield on fusion policy change slated for January, 2011
  • Position statements on a myriad of spine technologies
  • Two letters to membership updating on new 2011 restrictions of coverage for spinal fusion – signed onto Multi-Society response to North Carolina Blue Cross/Blue Shield policy change on fusion, resulting in change of policy
  • Responded to major news outlet (Bloomberg, Wall Street Journal) journalists regarding usage of sensationalistic stories to bias public Opinion about spinal fusion surgery
  • Introduced Cadaver Labs with great success at SAS11 Las Vegas
  • Developed a Policy Statement on Lumbar Fusion Surgery
  • Responded to First Coast Service Operations, Inc.’s Draft LCD number DL32074 – “Lumbar Spinal Fusion for Instability and Degenerative Disc Conditions”
  • Expanded Continuing Education efforts with lecture and hands-on courses, starting with Sagittal Balance courses in Bordeaux, France and Miami, Florida
  • Established ISASS Coding & Reimbursement Task Force, charged with: 1.) identifying spinal surgery-related coding and reimbursement issues that may adversely impact patient access to medically indicated spine surgeries; 2.) developing for the Board’s approval advocacy action plans on the society’s behalf to address those issues; and, 3.) assisting in the execution of those advocacy actions plans as appropriate and necessary.
  • Responded to AHRQ: Comments on Key Questions. AHRQ requested comments on spinal fusion for painful lumbar degenerative disc or joint diseases.
  • Publicized New Jersey State Spine Society Emergency Meeting held to address major issues that had arisen from proposals by Horizon Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Jersey and Cigna that would dramatically reduce reimbursement rates for spine procedures.
  • Co-signing with The Scoliosis Research Society (SRS) on the response to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota’s Medical Policy IV-85 for “Bone Morphogenic Protein”.

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