AAHS Annual Meeting
Back to main AAHS site
Annual Meeting Home
Preliminary Program
Past & Future Meetings


Back to 2015 Annual Meeting Program


The Attitude of Hand Surgeons Toward the Affordable Care Act: A Survey of Members of the American Society for Surgery of the Hand
Valeriy Shubinets, MD; Patrick Gerety, MD; Christopher Pannucci, MD, MS; Michael Mirzabeigi, MD; Paris Butler, MD, MPH; Benjamin Chang, MD, FACS; L. Scott Levin, MD; Ines Lin, MD
Plastic Surgery, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA

Background: Signed into law in 2010, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) commonly known as Obamacare will have significant effects on nearly every aspect of healthcare in the United States. This study aimed to examine the attitudes of hand surgeons toward the ACA.

Methods: An electronic survey was sent to the members of American Society for Surgery of the Hand (ASSH). The survey consisted of 31 questions and was sent twice at one-month intervals per ASSH guidelines.

Results: A total of 974 hand surgeons responded to the survey (33% response rate). The majority were male (89%), trained in orthopaedic surgery (81%), in private practice (75%), and with more than 15 years of experience (56%). Most respondents rated their knowledge of the ACA as average (41%). Only 15% reported that they received training on the expected healthcare changes related to the ACA. In general, respondents disagreed that the ACA would improve healthcare in the United States (median 2, mean 2.06, range 1-5, 1=strongly disagree, 2=disagree, 3=neutral, 4=agree, 5=strongly agree), while agreeing that the ACA would decrease reimbursements specific to hand surgery (median 4, mean 4.11). They also disagreed that the ACA would improve access to emergent (median 2, mean 2.10) or elective (median 2, mean 2.30) hand surgery. Approximately 37% of respondents believed that implementation of the ACA would cause them to retire earlier than planned and 51% believed that they would alter their individual practice as a result of the ACA. Stratified analysis revealed that respondents in private practice had a more negative outlook on the ACA compared to their academic-practice contemporaries (p ? 0.0013 for all questions). Male respondents had a more negative outlook on the ACA compared to their female colleagues in several categories, including the ability of the ACA to improve care quality (p 0.0021) and access (p 0.02) for hand surgery patients without affecting the surgeonís retirement timeline (p 0.007) or practice type (p 0.002).

Conclusion: The majority of responding hand surgeons had a fairly negative outlook on the ACA. Private-practice members were more pessimistic than their academic-practice contemporaries and male members were more pessimistic than their female colleagues. Notably, only a small percentage of respondents reported sufficient preparation for the coming changes related to the ACA. These findings indicate a need for increased education and advocacy from professional organizations, which could potentially improve hand surgeonsí outlook on the ACA.


Back to 2015 Annual Meeting Program
© 2017 American Association for Hand Surgery. Privacy Policy.