Your state society is here for you and hopes people are healthy and safe and returning to closer to normal practice patterns. We would like to congratulate those residents finishing their training and welcome and look forward to the incoming residents embarking on their orthopaedic surgery careers.
New York State now has all counties open for elective surgery. Different counties are at different stages of phased reopening and these decisions have been somewhat arbitrary and inconsistent across the state without as much medical or physician input as there should have been.
Graduations and celebrations have been in parking lots or virtual and surgeries while resuming, are requiring changes in protocol, testing and PPE requiring more time, stress and energy which will continue for the foreseeable future. Telehealth visits while beneficial to patients in some cases is often requiring more time and is not the same as in an in-person visit for many problems.
Some of our patients are scared of COVID-19 exposure, others are tired of being cooped up, and others have a laissez-faire or blatant disregard of the virulence of this virus. It is our responsibility to educate and model good behavior.
The recent protests and responses from different organizations including the AAOS are important to encourage peaceful protests recognition and acknowledgment of racial disparities and biases. As orthopaedic surgeons, we strive to take care of patients regardless of race, color, sex or national origin. We, however, need to do a much better job of mentoring, actively encouraging and increasing diversity in our profession as well as understanding social determinants of health and how it impacts musculoskeletal care and treatments.
On behalf of NYSSOS, we would like to thank all of our brethren for those serving or who have served on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, those physicians and residents taking care of known COVID-19 patients, and the different decision making processes needed in current reopening.
Your NYSSOS Board would like to thank all who wrote emails via our VoterVoice grassroots action center about the resumption of surgeries at ASCs being allowed in counties once hospitals could resume elective surgeries. Our 800 emails generated by our advocacy efforts followed by the campaign being taken up by MSSNY, the AAOS and others were all instrumental at adding ASCs to the reopening plans for counties.
As all counties have resumed surgeries and we are treating patients that have delayed care, let us continue to lead our groups, staff, ASCs and hospitals through the prioritization of surgery and different processes as we take care of current problems as well as scheduling and performing the postponed surgeries for our patients.
Estimates to perform the backlog of surgeries suggest 9-18 months to perform 90% of the postponed and rescheduled surgeries. Surgical resumption should be done in an efficacious manner leading and protecting our staff, ourselves, and our patients and requires significant physician input.
Your AAOS NY State Board of Councilor members and the NYSSOS Board were the only state Society this year submitting and getting approved Advisory Opinions to the AAOS that we will advocate on at both the Federal and the State level. These include telemedicine continuation s/p COVID-19 with payment equity equal to office visits or based on time spent, continued and enhanced medical liability protection for COVID-19 related claims regarding treatment and delays, ASC safety and efficacy education to legislators and regulatory bodies, and for the AAOS to support and advocate for bipartisan support of the Medicare Accelerated and Advanced Payments Improvement Act and/or advocate for legislation that includes Part B, extends the repayment period, includes decreased or no interest rates and discusses convergence of the program to grants.
Our NYSSOS Annual meeting is now virtual and scheduled for approximately 2 hour sessions November 5-7 consisting of 3 webinars with live and prerecorded symposiums, moderators, the ability to interact and asked questions, and allow resident/fellow presentations and discussions. This will be an exciting meeting format that should be engaging, informational and educative for participants. Please save the date and more information will be forthcoming.
Thank you for your membership, advocacy, collective expertise and responsiveness to the current pandemic. Please let us know of problems and ways we can be responsive and helpful in your districts.
- Jim Slough, MD, FAAOS