Approximately 300 surgeons and surgical residents participated in the advocacy portion of the 2016 American College of Surgeons (ACS) Leadership & Advocacy Summit. The event provided participants with an opportunity to develop their advocacy skills, learn about legislative and health policy priorities, and advocate in meetings with members of Congress and their staffs.
Surgeons asked lawmakers to use their oversight authority to encourage the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to adopt meaningful quality measures, and physician-developed Alternative Payment Models. ACS members also asked their elected officials to support the Responsible Data Transparency Act, legislation that is being developed by Rep. Bill Flores (R-Tex.). The College is committed to maintaining transparency in the Medicare system to promote high-quality patient care. At issue, however, are third-party groups that are evading established, accurate, valid, and transparent pathways to sensitive Medicare data by using Freedom of Information Act requests to obtain raw physician claims data. This legislation would prevent groups from using questionable, non–risk-adjusted methodologies to conduct performance analyses and publish potentially misleading physician performance ratings on public websites.
Other issues discussed at the Capitol Hill meetings include promotion of the Ensuring Access to General Surgery Act of 2016, legislation being developed that would require that a study be conducted to designate general surgery Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs); cancer-related concerns, including education on the importance of Commission on Cancer accreditation; and improved access to trauma care. Details about the ACS Leadership & Advocacy Summit will be published in the May SurgeonsVoice Monthly and the July issue of the Bulletin at http://bulletin.facs.org/.