APSAS10 logo
The Spine Movement
The Spine Movement
In This Issue
2010 APSAS
Public Policy Activity
Education Committee
CME Committee
Follow Us!
SAS10 Partners

Diamond Level:

Gold Level:

Silver Level:
Paradigm spine
Interventional Spine
SAS Chapters

SAS now has 5 Chapters:

South Korea with 235 members

China with 70 members

Middle East with 43 members

India with 35 members which held its premier meeting with 80 attending and 8 exhibiting companies

Taiwan, the newest chapter to develop has had 10 members join in its first month!

The Latin America Chapter will form just prior to the Spine Technology Summit in Los Cabos, Mexico June 2010
New Website

2010--- 10th anniversary of SAS, new name...new logo.. and to complete the new look and feel of SAS we will be presenting a new website.  We have been monitoring monthly website statistics which indicate areas of interest and need. Our new web design will provide easier navigation to topics of interest, Members area, calendar of world spine events and an online community that will include blogs.  You can currently follow us on Twitter and Facebook.   A section dedicated to patient resources is being added to provide spine health information. And much much more.

Watch for the announcement of the new site to come in early January 2010!

New Committees

SAS will be developing 2 new committees:  International Spine Fellowship and Research.  Those interested in participating should email interest to Twila Hughes
SAS Journal

Current issue of SAS Journal is now available online (September 2009)

Attention Authors:  Interested in submitting to SAS Journal?  Click here for online submission information and editorial guidelines. 

The SAS Journal is pleased to share the following statistics:
Average reviewer turnaround time: 
21 Days

Average days from submission to final decision: 
102 Days

Acceptance ratio: 

To date, manuscripts have been accepted from 11 countries

SAS Staff

Kristy Radcliffe-Executive Director

Heather Howard-Director of Operations

Melanie Mitchell-Director of Meetings

Twila Hughes-Administrative Services

Michele Boylstein-Membership/Member Services Manager

Debra Bachman-Zabloudil-
Education Director

Jennifer Joseph-Education Manager

Jonny Dover-
Managing Editor, SASJournal

David Porter-
Director of Public Affairs

Lori Wine-
Travel Consultant


Winter 2010
2010 APSAS
With the successful holding of the first APSAS (attendance was over 500), higher expectations are set for this year's meeting to be held in Sanya, China, January 14-17, 2010.  2010APSAS will continuously offer more opportunities for members in the Asia Pacific region to promote and exchange new theory and innovative technologies in the spine surgery field.  
Click here for the Final Program.
APSAS10 logo This year, the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans will be the location for the 2010 Global Symposium on Motion Preservation Technology.  

400 abstracts have been submitted.  Click here for a complete list of abstract categories.  We would like to thank the Program Committee for their time and dedication in scoring the submitted papers.  We appreciate their commitment to the excellence of SAS programming.  Click here for a complete list of Program Committee members. 

The SAS10 Program Co-Chairs (click here for a complete list of Co-Chairs) will be meeting in early January 2010 to develop the SAS10 Global Symposium on Motion Preservation Technology in New Orleans.  Once all invited speakers and poster presenters have accepted our invitation to either speak or present at SAS10, the full program will be posted on the SAS website.

Book your flights and reserve your hotel room now as space is limited and this program is not to be missed.  Click here for registration information.  
Public Policy Activity

SAS understands the importance of putting energy into the area of Public Policy and has recently completed the following activities:

  • SAS continues to work to voice the concerns of our members and concerns of spine care as the US Senate reviews the latest suggestions for Health Care Reform. It is important that members from around the globe contact us regarding issues outside the US borders in which SAS can take a stand.
  • We are working with MCRA's (Musculoskeletal Clinical Regulatory Advisers) in writing a series of potential journal articles for SAS on treatment for DDD of lumbar spine.
  • To ensure our members' views are being communicated, we are tracking the Institute of Medicine's priority list of treatments and medicines for Comparative Effectiveness Research, specific to spine health.
  • We sent a letter to CMS on the proposed rule for 2010 physician fee schedule, expressing particular concern about the declining reimbursement for arthroplasty vs. fusion.
  • SAS sent 3 representatives to participate in the Spine Summit of 12 spine related associations and societies.  From there we were able to connect with NASS, AANS, AAOS about greater integration of SAS into the CPT/RUC review process, and also other public policy-focused coalition work.
  • SAS successfully entered into the AMA's Specialty & Service Society, the first step in the three-year process toward entry into the AMA House of Delegates (more information below).
  • Gunnar Andersson, MD represented the SAS in the recent AMA Interim Meeting in Houston at which time we gained acceptance of Dr. Andersson and SAS into the AMA Surgical Caucus.
  • SAS will be participating in the American College of Surgeons' Surgical Society Coalition, for the purposes of discussing and collaborating on legislative and regulatory public policy issues.
  • We sent a letter to AMA CPT Editorial Panel Chair and RUC Chair, expressing a desire to close the reimbursement gap between arthroplasty and fusion, and offering to work with them on consensus around this issue.
  • SAS conducted research into joining various coalitions focused on public policy, including the Alliance of Specialty Medicine and the Surgical Quality Alliance.
  • SAS participated in the October California Technology Assessment Forum's review of cervical disc arthroplasty, two letters were submitted followed by a presentation by SAS California representative Jean-Jacques Abitbol, MD.
  • The Motion Picture Industry Health Plan medical director contacted the SAS to obtain coverage for cervical disc arthroplasty.  We have provided necessary documentation and continue to work with this group to a positive end. We were just informed that the Motion Picture Industry Health Plan - which covers approximately 115,000 lives - has recently initiated coverage for one level of cervical disc arthroplasty, pursuit to  compliance of their medical necessity criteria (which is basically a  surgeon determining that this is the best treatment available to the  patient).  The MPIHP medical director made a positive recommendation for this procedure to the plan's coverage committee based, in part, on SAS letters and documents, including our recently adopted Position  Statement on Cervical Total Disc Arthroplasty.

Current progress with the American Medical Association:

  • Providing information to the AMA regarding coding/valuation issue of cervical fusion versus arthroplasty.
  • SAS is now a recognized medical association in the AMA's Specialty & Service Society caucus.  Our participation in AMA meetings going forward will afford us a voting seat in the AMA's policy-making body - the House of Delegates - within three years.  Such a designation will allow us official participation in the CPT and RUC process, and continue to add credibility and legitimacy to our society within organized medicine, and specifically within the surgical community.
  • The AMA continues to debate their existing policies and actions related to health system reform.   Even while the US House of Representatives approved their version of reform legislation, the AMA continued to debate whether or not to be on record as supporting a public option, or a plan that does not include meaningful tort reform.  Specialty societies, led in part by the orthopaedic section council, were pushing for the AMA to repeal their support for the House bill, along with modifying their policies to repudiate any public option and to ensure that any reform does not negatively impact patients' access to needed specialty medicine and surgeries.
Spine-Health.com Partnership
SpineHealth.com Spine-Health.com is the premier online source of trusted information for back pain and neck pain relief, and attracts over 800,000 unique visitors a month. What this means for spine surgeons are highly-targeted, potential patients researching and making decisions on which physician should treat their spine problem.  

SAS has partnered with Spine-health to bring SAS members the opportunity to join Spine-health's membership program - which includes a full-page doctor profile and use of Spine-health's award winning, peer reviewed patient education - at a special rate.  With more and more people using the internet to find physicians, you need a comprehensive online marketing program to grow your business. Being a Member of both SAS and Spine-health.com is a powerful way to grow your online presence with two respected and high growth organizations.

Please contact Kathy McDonough or visit our spine doctor marketing page for more details!  
Education Committee
Frank Phillips, MD has accepted the job of heading the Education Committee.  They will be managing the pre-course session of the SAS conference for the future as well as working to develop additional educational opportunities throughout the year. The Education Committee is charged with devising goals and guidelines for the coordinating efforts of the Society to satisfy the changing needs of its membership in the field of continuing education. They will work closely with the CME committee to ensure SAS educational programs meet all guidelines and requirements. It is the goal of SAS to be the leader in providing education and training opportunities through short courses, workshops, CD-ROM publications, seminars and conferences. This committee will regularly explore cost-effective training opportunities applicable to spine surgeons worldwide. They will develop new programs for those who cannot attend SAS sponsored seminars, such as short courses, distance learning programs and sanctioned educational opportunities. The main goal of this committee is to educate and promote medical excellence in the care of spine.

The Education Committee would like to solicit ideas for the SAS10- Pre-Course, to ensure we are offering sessions of interest to our members.  Please submit ideas for review to Kristy Radcliffe.  Suggestions will be forwarded to the Education Committee, those selected will be contacted for full abstract submission. All abstracts submitted for the Pre-Course will be submitted to the SAS Journal for inclusion in an upcoming issue.

In addition to Committee Chair, Frank Phillips, MD, the Committee members include:
Neel Anand, MD, USA; Scott Blumenthal, MD, USA; Paul Anderson, MD, USA; Ken Yonemura, MD, USA; Todd Albert, MD, USA; Manoj Krishna, MD, UK; Hee-Kit Wong, MD, Singapore; Debra Bachman-Zabloudil - SAS Staff Representative; Jennifer Joseph - SAS Staff Representative
CME Committee

The primary goal of the CME Committee chaired by Rolando Garcia, MD is to obtain independent accreditation as a CME provider by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME®). Currently, as well as in the past, educational programs such as the annual meeting have been awarded CME credits through the sponsorship of the Medical Education Resources (MER) a non-profit organization based in Colorado. Other organizations such as AAOS,  AANS and NASS all have independent ACCME accreditation as CME providers.

The ACCME accreditation process has the following major steps:

  • Application submission and acceptance
  • On-Site Survey of headquarter office
  • On-Site Survey of meeting in which CME's are provided
  • ACCME decision Committee review

The application was submitted in November and the CME Committee will report on its progress. Once ACCME acceptance has been achieved the Committee will review other country process for determining CME so that the SAS, an international society, will offer CME for all members throughout the world.
In addition to Chairman Rolando Garcia, MD, USA, Committee members include: Fred Geisler, MD, PhD, USA; Debra Bachman-Zabloudil - SAS Staff Representative; Jennifer Joseph - SAS Staff Representative


With the upgrade of the website you will notice the same look and feel in other areas. We will be increasing the newsletter by adding; interviews with those who make the SAS run: the board, staff and committee members, Case Studies, Editorials, Calendar of upcoming events, SAS Blog, Surveys, Members interviews and added resources.