The Next Steps

Carter L. Alleman, J.D.

In 2015, the ACOS made advocacy a priority and created a new position in the College whose role would focus on advocacy. A year older and a year wiser, I can say the ACOS is moving in the right direction and increasing its influence on policy. January was snowy and the snow slowed much of the policy world down.

Before the snow fell, the ACOS attended the White House Opioid Work Group. The ACOS agreed to take part in the Work Group in October and this was the first meeting that focused on progress that the signers made. The ACOS committed to holding educational seminars on proper prescribing practices and the effect of addition has on patients. We accomplished this even before being told we needed to at the 2015 Annual Clinical Assembly of Osteopathic Surgeons. The ACOS also committed to encouraging its members to take part in their respective state’s prescription drug monitoring program. The ACOS Government Affairs Committee is working on a position statement on the opioid epidemic and the role that osteopathic surgeons should play in helping stem this epidemic. Osteopathic medicine was heavily represented with the American Osteopathic Association (AOA), ACOS, American Osteopathic Academy of Addiction Medicine, American College of Osteopathic Internists, and American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians.

Participation is key. If no one shows up, how will anyone know what you believe? If no one shares an opinion, then there is no need for a change of course. Today, participation is more important than ever! Each day the medical world is being place further under the microscope and practices of old are being examined and discussed. Changes are being recommended and if no one raises concerns then changes could occur with massive unintended consequences. One issue which is being closely watched and is in need of your opinion is concurrent surgery.

The Boston Globe published an exposé titled “Clash in the Name of Care.”  It highlighted the practice of concurrent surgery, largely focusing on an orthopedic spine surgeon and practices of Massachusetts General Hospital. The article gained a great deal of attention and has brought changes to the practice of medicine. The Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine is discussing regulation changes that will require the surgeon to sign in and out of the operating room and making the notation in the record if they are doing concurrent surgeries. The rules will also require that a back-up surgeon be on record if the primary surgeon is out of the room for any significant period of time. If the regulation becomes effective, it will be a “first of its kind” regulation and will be used a model for other states.

An ACOS survey is available asking for your experience in concurrent surgery or overlapping surgeries.

To make a difference, attend the AOA’s D.O. Day on Capitol Hill, taking place on Wednesday, April 13 in Washington, D.C. Online registration is now open. This annual event provides an exciting opportunity for D.O.s and osteopathic medical students to educate members of Congress and their staff on the difference that osteopathic medicine makes in communities and for patients across the country to improve health and well-being.  Click here for full details. The ACOS will be holding a surgeon’s breakfast the morning of April 13 at the Omni Hotel, (we will provide additional details shortly). We look forward to seeing you here in Washington, D.C. in April.