The American College of Surgeons (ACS) had another successful year in 2014, and the College leadership and staff are working to ensure that we make even greater strides in 2015.
The ACS Division of Advocacy and Health Policy got a boost in June 2014 when Frank Opelka, MD, FACS, and Patrick Bailey, MD, FACS, joined the Washington Office team as Medical Directors of Quality and Advocacy, respectively. These surgeons are playing a leading role in positioning the ACS as a leader in the health policy, legislative, and regulatory arenas.
To address surgeons’ ongoing concerns regarding Medicare physician payment, the ACS has worked closely with Congress to develop legislation that would repeal the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula. More than 200 ACS members from 44 states participated in 229 meetings on Capitol Hill April 1, 2014, as part of Leadership & Advocacy Summit, and the SGR was a key topic of discussion. Unfortunately, passage of the SGR Repeal Act was derailed because of funding challenges, and another temporary patch, which expires April 1, 2015, was put in place. The ACS continues to urge Congress to pass the SGR Repeal Act in this legislative session.
Other issues on the ACS health policy agenda include averting a provision in the final rule on the Medicare physician fee schedule that would convert 10- and 90-day global codes to 0-day codes, medical liability reform, and graduate medical education.
We are looking forward to taking Operation Giving Back in a new direction under the leadership of Medical Director Girma Tefera, MD, FACS. Dr. Tefera will be responsible for coordinating the College’s response to disasters worldwide, developing programs and opportunities for surgeon volunteers, communicating the work of the OGB, and increasing the College’s recognition among other global organizations.
In addition, the ACS and the U.S. Military Health System have entered into a 3-year strategic partnership that will encourage collaboration with respect to training and education, research, quality improvement, and combat readiness and disaster preparedness. M. Margaret (Peggy) Knudson, MD, FACS, is the Medical Director of this initiative.
Enthusiasm for leadership training among young surgeons and chapter officers remains high, More than 425 of these individuals participated in the leadership portion of the 2014 Leadership & Advocacy Summit, which featured sessions on best practices for chapters, mentoring, and emotional intelligence The next Summit will take place April 18-21.
The 2014 Initiates class was one of the College’s largest, totaling 1,640. To further boost membership, we have launched a Young Surgeons Marketing Campaign – Realize the Potential of Your Profession – and a Show Your Pride campaign.
The College also has launched a nationwide ACS Education and Training Campaign to communicate that ACS Education and Training are the cornerstones of excellence, transform possibilities into realities, and instill the joy of lifelong learning.
Many of the College’s recent education efforts have centered on assisting surgeons – particularly young surgeons – in career transitions. To address ongoing concerns regarding surgical training, the ACS has appointed a Committee on Residency Training (“Fix the Five”).
To help young surgeons shift from residency to practice, the ACS has developed the Transition to Practice (TTP) Program, which provides individuals who have completed five years of general surgery training with the opportunity to serve as a junior partner in a surgical practice. Presently, the TTP Program is being pilot-tested at 10 sites. In addition, the ACS has partnered with the Association of Program Directors in Surgery and the Association for Surgical Education to create a Surgery Resident Prep Curriculum for medical students transitioning to residency.
The ACS National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS NSQIP®) celebrated its 10th anniversary in July 2014 at its annual conference in New York. A record-breaking 1,200 representatives from nearly 600 hospitals attended. Furthermore, the Joint Commission and the National Quality Forum (NQF) will honor ACS NSQIP® with the 2014 John M. Eisenberg Patient Safety and Quality Award later this month. The Eisenberg Award recognizes the major achievements of individuals and organizations in advancing patient safety and quality of care.
Another quality improvement activity has now been completed after three years of work – the development of comprehensive guidelines that define the resources needed to perform safe, effective pediatric operations. These standards were published in the March 2014 issue of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons. The College also is developing a Quality Manual that will be useful in guiding chief surgical quality officers as they attempt to implement quality improvement and patient safety programs in their institutions. Additionally, the ACS Clinical Research Program (ACS CRP) has completed the manuscript for Operative Standards for Cancer Surgery.