Monday, April 23, 2012

California Here We Come

This year the 9th Annual Spine Symposium will be held at the La Costa Resort in Carlsbad, California from June 21 thru June 23rd.  My, my, my how time flies.  It was only yesterday that many of us were standing at the Four Seasons in Palm Beach, Florida.  Back then, this meeting was called the Spine Study Group.  From there, it went to Cabo Wabo and now as the young bucks of the industry transition and approach their golden years, a kinder and gentler environment will play host to who's who of the spine world.  

This years meeting with be emceed by Frank Phillips, Todd Albert and Alex Vaccaro. There will be some interesting topics, and as in the past, this meeting can bring poignant discussions to the forefront in the spine industry.  In retrospect, spine surgeons no longer discuss clinical issues and outcomes, today, they are concerned about the way they are being perceived by the public on many fronts including; by their peers, by the patients, by the insurance companies, by the people that pay them consulting fees, by the FDA, by sales people, and the Federal Government.  Every company in the industry should attend and support a forum that openly discusses the pro's and con's of various modality of treatments.  Who knows maybe some of the wannabe start-ups and their surgeon advisors may learn a few things by attending.  There will be a few "hot" topics that will be discussed.  

One of the debates will be; "Is BMP safe and effective for lumbar fusion?"  As many of you know, it's not a question whether BMP is safe and efficacious, it is a question of how far do surgeons push the envelope in their use of BMP's?  Will there be an honest discourse regarding the many complications that have occurred as a by product of sloppy surgical technique and applicability of this pharmaceutical resulting in a public backlash for InFuse and Medtronic? Contrary to public scrutiny, if used judiciously, BMP has provided tremendous results for many patients, especially those that have associated medical problems, had a history of substance abuse, or were military personnel. It will be of interesting to hear the critique of this product.  

Another interesting topic will be "Docs Unite, Standing Up to the Insurance Industry." Will NASS, AANS, CNS, and AAOS just keep pumping more money into fruitless lobbying efforts against the insurance industry? Until insurance companies are not exempt from Anti-Trust Laws, the  beat will go on.  Since health insurers are exempt from ATL's, they can determine what one will receive and what they will charge for healthcare.  Collusion is a violation of anti-competitive behavior. It will be interesting to assess whether the who's who of spine surgery support the Health Insurance Industry Antitrust Enforcement Act which would repeal the federal anti-trust exemption for insurance companies who flagrantly violate anti-trust laws by price fixing and bid rigging, or whether as usual they will place blame on some other helpless third party for what has become a gravely ill U.S. healthcare system.

The most intriguing topic will be "The Changing Economics for Spine," moderated by non other than Nashville's own Thomas Gallagher of PDP Holdings, LLC.  Mr. Gallagher will talk about "Who will Control Your Patients Budget?" This should provide the attendees with some insight into the climate and concerns regarding various business models and how they will affect the industry and how business will done.  Could I hear, implant vendor machines, more POD's, or PDP's?  So hang on to your seats, you'll be in for an interesting ride, polish up you golf game and get those tennis whites out.  California here we come!  TSB wants to know, are you attending or pretending?

32 comments:

  1. InFuse was certainly used judiciously and presumably with good technique during the 16 FDA IDE studies as of the time of the Amplify panel meeting.

    As the FDA pointed out at that meeting, the InFuse/Amplify group had higher cancer rates than the controls in all 16 of those studies.

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  2. They should be talking about the spinal trends. Many us believe the market will split in the next five years into two basic segments (low cost implants and high tech implants). The low cost segment will control 70% of the U.S. market

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  3. TSB, gotta say, I enjoyed reading this one. Your point about BMP where spot on. BMP, while used 99.9% off label the past 10 years has improved many of patients lives and increased their chances of fusion.
    I too remember Palm Beach and what a crazy time that was to be selling spine hardware. Oh to say those were the good old days is an understatement.

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  4. I'd like to know what qualifications musculoskeletal man has to have this blog and make his comments. Why should I take him seriously? Is he or has he been the CEO/CTO/CFO/COO of any medical device start up company? Do his words of wisdom come from his experience from starting a medical device company? Or perhaps he was(is)in marketing? A sales rep perhaps? To me he sounds like an angry salesman (probably unemployed) who feels he doesn't have any control over his life.

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    1. What does it matter who mm is? His blog provides great insight into spine surgery and the business of spine sales from multiple points of view. What exactly are your credentials 1249?? Are you a surgeon? Did you start a device company? Or did you spend a year in a Turkish prison?

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    2. 12:49 sounds like a CEO who is about to get bounced

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    3. Where does it say you should take TSB seriously? Perhaps try quoting this site on your next PowerPoint presentation and see what type of reaction you get.

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    4. 5:42 it would probably lend more credibility to your presentation, rather than quoting something out of one of the textbooks that you read.

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    5. 12:49 must have something against the First Amendment ,,, NO FREE PRESS on his watch... Journalism keeps us free...

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  5. Not sure about the previous poster's inquisition, (I usually find MM to be right on about stuff), but sorry TSB this isn't the latest incarnation of the Spine Study Group. The SSG is still alive and well in it's 23rd year and happening on May 17-20 at the Ritz in Palm Beach.

    This meeting is the Spine Technology Education Group, which was previously in Cabo, and Phillips, Albert and Vaccaro have been at the helm since the outset, so no changing of the guard.

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  6. 12:49 sounds like whatever is written on TSB you are one of those people that bitch about the content. It really doesn't matter who TSB is. I can appreciate the forum. Here's the genius behind this blog, they had the vision to start a blog that is popular among people in the industry. You are either competing for their numbers, or you're just one of those people that have been called out on this blog. It's a blog, if you don't like it, you know what TSB always says, "don't read it."

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  7. Is anyone learning anything from all these meetings?

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  8. I too am tired of people like 12:49. I feel like the comments over the last few weeks have been more useful. When someone make a comment about the company I work for, it is usually 80% truthful. Let's use this as a good place to ask great questions, police our own industry, and learn!

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    1. "makes"
      grammar police

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  9. Hello I am looking to pick up a nice cervical expandable peek corpectomy cage here in the Sacramento area. Would also be interested in a stackable peek one as well. Please email me at fixourspine@gmail.com

    Thanks for the help!!

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    1. are you specifically looking for something that will subside?

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  10. PDP and Tom Bozo Galkagher!? What a friggin joke of a person and to the moron who scheduled this talk and speaker tells me right away that someone is getting something under the table. Must be the TBI thugs that want to capture the "Amway" overrides for new Pods that Tommy Boy and his spine wannabes muster up for anyone attending this waste of time venue. Count me out for sure!

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  11. TBI: Texas Bullshit Institute?

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  12. I gotta agree with 4:59. What kind of legitimate forum hires a speaker like Gallagher to talk about economics. Maybe he should talk about the Senate Finance Committee and the OIG being on his tail. Instead, a group of formerly well respected surgeons invite this cancer into their forum? I think they should have a talk on PODs, but to sell the talk under that title is ridiculous and to have someone like Gallagher or Steinmann as the speaker clearly takes the talk out of the realm of information and puts it squarely into recruitment. I'll be interested to see how he can make the POD's, ACO's and the Sunshine act all work together.

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  13. Well MM, it looks like your fan club finds you objective (I am using "The Spine Blogger" sarcasm there). I'm afraid I offended your followers. And I sincerely don't blame them, my last comment was sarcastic and demeaning, but I truly thought that is what you all like and want to read. That is the flavor of all of the blogs and comments to date. I just wanted to comment in the same way. My most sincere apologies, it was never my intention to offend. I'm sure MM would agree with me that since he has, and his followers have, the right to blog and comment, I have the right to ask clarifying questions, disagree with and post my comments. Or am I wrong? MM says, "don't like it, but you read it anyway, then just don't read it". I say "don't like it, but you read it anyway, I still want to hear your point of view". It's the American Way and I don't take it personally because I respect everyone's right to disagree with me. Perhaps you'll consider writing your blogs it in a more respectful way. Although you may lose some of your followers (more Spine Blogger sarcasm there)

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    1. Some people spend way too much time on this blog, if only they had the same focus when it comes to running a business or selling products they would be successful, c'est la vie.

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    2. Welcome to the age of iPhones, iPads, and any other device, as for spending too much time, look who's talking

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  14. Hello. I am looking to snitch out a POD to either the Law Enforcement (Federal or Local) or the (national or local) Media. Seriously. Has anyone had any luck with this? What was the outcome? We've all seen the WSJ articles, but that resulted in absolutely nothing. Let me know.

    Thanks,
    "Chuck"

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    1. What kind of details do you have? The OIG Inspector in my area had never heard of PODs and had a hard time grasping the concept. I wasn't impressed. Hopefully your local agent will be a bit sharper. The problem you have is that all of your "evidence" is heresay. You don't have access to records that can prove over utilization, you are unlikely to get any nurses to testify against the docs, you don't have access to the POD's actual bylaws or its business structure. You also can't prove if the docs forced the hospitals to do business with the POD. Its still worth talking to them and letting them snoop around a bit. If nothing else, it may make the docs loose some sleep.

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    2. They don't know what pods are because they are government employes and are just like the guys you see holding signs in construction zones taking union breaks every 45 min. They will not do anything unless everything is cut and dry

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    3. I know you "Chuck" Your the guy with the SUV and "Chuck" license plates...

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  15. Yes..I'm Chuck (chuckle head). Trying to put a stop to POD's single handed. C'mon Chuck..do you wear a cape? Good luck on your endevor!

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  16. Hello. I am a spinal fusion patient of one of the emcees for the 9th annual Spine Symposium. I had a lmbar fusion using BMP 16 months ago, and have been suffering from radiculitis and back pain ever since. I was never told of this complication from BMP, and assured that my leg pain was from positioning during surgery. After reading articles written by this same surgeon showing that 23% of patiends, usually women, had ridiculitis after BMP was used, I believe that I have finally found the answer to my suffering. Now I can add fear of higher risk of cancer to that. I'm sure that he used the product in the safe manner that he describes, so what happened here?

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  18. I'm researching PDP as a possible investment. I have heard all that they say about themselves, but want to know what the opinion of the medical industry is. What's the real deal... Anyone?

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    1. PDP is the real deal... I would highly recommend that you consider an investment.

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