NASS On Spine

September 05, 2017

Q&A With Mitchell Reiter, MD

1. What is your hometown and where do you currently live?

I was born and raised in the suburban town of Livingston, New Jersey. After pursuing my training outside of NJ, I returned in 1998 to join the faculty at the Rutgers New Jersey School of Medicine. I currently live in Bernardsville, NJ which is a more rural town in the central part of the state.

2. What is your educational background?

I competed a six-year combined B.S. – M.D degree at the University of Miami School of Medicine. I then stayed at Miami for my five-year Orthopaedic residency and followed that with a fellowship year in spine surgery at Emory University in Atlanta.

3. Tell us a little bit about your practice/specialty …

I was in an academic practice at the Rutgers Medical School for my first 10 years and I have spent the last 10 years in private practice. I have been lucky to be able to continue to serve on the clinical faculty at Rutgers which allows the Orthopaedic residents to rotate on my service. My practice includes all aspects of spine surgery with a mix of cervical and lumbar degenerative, trauma, deformity and neoplastic disorders.

4. How long have you been a NASS member and why did you join?

I have been a NASS member since I started in practice in 1998. I joined NASS because I find that its multispecialty approach keeps me broadly informed and best able to help my patients. Initially, the annual meeting and extensive educational opportunities were my main interactions with NASS. As I have become more involved in administration and politics, I have come to appreciate how much NASS does to represent spine care providers in these arenas as well.

5. Since you became chair of the Payor Policy Review committee (PPRC), have you seen any changes in the spine care coverage? If so, how do you/your committee address these issues with payors on behalf of NASS members?

As chair of the Payor Policy Review committee (PPRC) I have seen major attempts by the large insurance carriers to significantly limit spine care. The PPRC has been actively involved in protecting our patients’ access to treatment of their spinal disorders. The committee provides insurance carriers with evidence-based recommendations that have proven successful in influencing their coverage decisions. That being said, I have come to realize that if we, as spine providers, do not use our skills judiciously and appropriately as well as in a cost-effective way, we are going to have substantial restrictions imposed on us.

6. There have been thousands of member downloads of the NASS Coverage Recommendations. Why do you think this has become such a valuable resource for NASS members and the patients they serve?

Creating the coverage recommendations was a massive, but extremely valuable undertaking by NASS. These evidence-based recommendations provide a solid reference for any provider or insurance carrier when determining if a procedure should be covered. I have used them successfully in my practice when involved in peer-to-peer determinations as to whether a recommended surgery should be approved.

7. You are also involved with NASS’ Ethics Committee and serve as chair of the Professional Compliance Panel. What have those experience been like?

My experience with these committees has shown me the importance and NASS’s commitment to the ethical practice of spine care and strengthened my commitment to supporting those efforts. I have seen first hand how conflicts of interest influence people’s decisions in ways that they frequently do not fully realize. By being a leader in this area, NASS’ positions are not simply seen as those of a trade organization, but remain respected by all parties involved in providing health care.

8. What do you do for relaxation in your down time (example: hobbies, sports, travel)?

I am married with four children aged 7, 9, and 11 (twins) so spending time with my family is my highest priority and my greatest pleasure. I also enjoy playing volleyball in leagues and competitively on the beach. I am a brown belt in mixed martial arts (sil jun do) and play some tennis so I like to stay busy.
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