June 2016

Health Policy Committee Update

Gary T. Brock, MD
Health Policy Committee Chair

Greetings from the Health Care Policy and Advocacy Committee. It's been a big year so far with much more on the near horizon! We've had an excellent push to get all 50 state proclamations, acknowledging June as Scoliosis Awareness Month. Our efforts have been boosted by the recent NIH funded study led by Stuart Weinstein, MD, that confirmed once and for (hopefully) all that early brace treatment is effective thereby justifying the importance of early detection.

Research Capitol Hill Days took place on April 14-17. I attended and was accompanied by Stephanie Hazlett, an AAOS lobbyist, and two of our compelling story contributors, supermodels and Victoria Secret Angels, Martha Hunt and Lindsay Ellingson. We were able to visit with nine different Senators, House Congressmen and Congresswomen and their staff regarding the importance of increased funding for NIH grants which ultimately trickles down to fund Orthopedic studies like Dr. Weinstein's BrAIST Study. Our second "ask" was to support the Next Generation Researcher's Act.  We also were able to host a fundraiser that raised $15,000 for Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn (R) Tennessee. Congresswoman Blackburn has been a big help to AAOS and particularly SRS in sponsoring legislation which requires the United States Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) to include specialty physician input and increase transparency whenever making final recommendations. This is especially important as the USPSTF has agreed to review their previous recommendation AGAINST school screening for scoliosis which has been in place since 2004.

Many previous members of the Health Policy and Advocacy Committee were instrumental in having this position statement reviewed. As the Health Policy and Advocacy Committee chair, I recently attended the National Orthopaedic Leadership Conference (NOLC) in Washington, D.C. from May 4-7 as a Board of Specialties (BOS) representative for SRS. During the BOS Health Policy Committee meetings, it was decided to feature Martha and Lindsey in an upcoming edition of AAOS Now. The AAOS Washington staff have also offered their assistance on an ongoing basis to assist with obtaining and publicizing the state proclamations supporting Scoliosis Awareness Month. That will be a huge help. The committee remains available to help SRS President and friend, David W. Polly, Jr. MD, through a rapid response team formed to provide immediate input and guidance if any issues arise that might require a quick external response. We look forward to assisting with the USPSTF review of the importance of early detection for spinal deformity. We have a great team this year and look forward to seeing everyone at the Annual Meeting & Course in Prague!

Chair: Gary T. Brock, MD Committee: Linda P. D’Andrea, MD; Joseph H. Perra, MD; Daniel M. Sciubba, MD; Robert K. Eastlack, MD; D. Raymond Knapp, MD; Mary Lou Oliver, RN, BSN, MSPH; Cody E. Bunger, MD, DMSc, R, Prof; Richard M. Schwend, MD; Daryll C. Dykes, MD, JD, PhD; Jonathan R. Stieber, MD