Interview with Michael Groff
Big Changes in PQRS
Will Affect Physician Reimbursement
Rapid Response Team Answers Anthem Request on Thoracic and Thoracolumbar Fusion for Scoliosis
What’s up with the RUC
In this issue, we offer a Q&A between the most recent Past Chair of the Joint Section, Mike Groff, and John Ratliff. We will try to continue to interview each of the Chairs and Past Chairs in future editions. Charles Sansur brings us up to date with recent Rapid Response Team activity. Also new in this issue is a Nerve Update, focusing upon course offerings and grant opportunities from Line Jacques and Lynda Yang. There are a lot of changes in the PQRS system for 2015, these are briefly outlined in this edition and a more thorough review prepared by Rachel Groman of Hart Health Strategies is provided for your review. The financial impact of the changes may be significant. In other good news, we also review recent RUC activity relevant to spine surgeons. In closing and with great sadness, we report the passing of Charlie Kuntz, one of the giants of our Section. His eulogy is attached at the end of our Newsletter. We will be honoring him at the upcoming Spine Section meeting. He will be missed.
Michael W. Groff, M.D. is the Immediate Past Chair of the Disorders of Spine and Peripheral Nerves section, having served as chair in 2013- 2014. He the Director of Spinal Neurosurgery at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and earned his MD at the University of Pittsburgh. He
then went on to the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York for internship and residency training in Neurological Surgery. He completed his training at the Medical College of Wisconsin with a fellowship in Spinal Surgery.
Dr. Groff is active in the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS), NeuroPoint Alliance (NPA), and the Neurosurgical Research and Education Fund (NREF). His academic interests include process improvement, health services research, outcome measures, and guideline development. He was interviewed for the newsletter in February 2015.
Michael Groff: I think it’s a very dynamic group of people who are completely committed to improving the quality of operative spine care. It was a very rewarding experience.
Michael Groff: I think that some of the big challenges revolved around trying to document and ascertain the evidence for the treat- ments that we offer.
Another big challenge was trying to create an environment that would foster a greater collaboration between orthopedic and neurosurgical spine surgeons. I think that it really is one of the most important things to help move the field forward. The vast majority of members in both communities are very committed to it, and yet at the same time, they are institutional and bureaucratic obstacles.
Michael Groff: As you know, all politics are local, but I think, in general, the collaboration in their trenches is very strong. I believe there is a great degree of mutual respect and a recogni- tion of a common mission. There are challenges on the national level, not that people don’t want it to happen, it’s just that we are beholden to different communities.
Michael Groff: I think the Spine Section’s strongest element is the participation in its membership and that it really is a very much a meritocracy. My advice would be to get plugged in at whatever level possible and start contributing. In my own experience the first thing that I did was just manning sawbones stations at national meetings. One thing leads to another, for doing good work you get recognized, and if you do a good job you are rewarded with bigger and bigger jobs to do.
One of things that is very unique about the Spine section, in contrast to other societies, is that the Spine section really has a strong culture of promoting the young members within its group. Young people that are interested can take over positions of leadership much earlier than they would in other organizations.