American College Of Surgeons - Inspiring Quality: Highest Standards, Better Outcomes

Surgical Workforce

Increasing evidence indicates a current and growing shortage of surgeons available to serve our nation's population. A shortage of general surgeons is a critical component of the crisis in health care workforce because only surgeons are uniquely trained and qualified to provide certain necessary, lifesaving procedures. In light of growing evidence demonstrating a shortage of general surgeons, the American College of Surgeons (ACS) believes more accurate and actionable workforce data is necessary to determine exactly what constitutes a surgical shortage area and subsequently where these areas exist.

Ensuring an Adequate Surgical Workforce in Underserved Areas

Federal Legislative Efforts

Ensuring Access to General Surgery Act

The ACS strongly supports the Ensuring Access to General Surgery Act (H.R. 1841), sponsored by Representatives Ami Beri, MD (D-CA), Larry Bucshon, MD, FACS (R-IN), Scott Peters (D-CA), and Markwayne Mullin (R-OK). This legislation would direct the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the HRSA, to conduct a study to define a general surgery workforce shortage area and collect data on the adequacy of access to surgical services. Additionally, it would grant the Secretary the authority to provide a general surgery shortage area designation.

ACS Letter of Support for the Ensuring Access to General Surgery Act

Keep Physicians Serving Patients Act

The ACS supports the Keep Physicians Serving Patients Act of 2019, legislation that would improve the way geographic cost indices (GPCIs) are calculated to better support rural surgeons. Currently, GPCIs are calculated using inaccurate and outdated numbers that underestimate the cost of practicing in non-urban areas. This legislation improves that calculation and establishes a set minimum based on specific regions. This will ensure physicians are appropriately reimbursed for the care they provide as well as help to incentivize new talent to practice in rural settings.

ACS Letter of Support for the Keep Physicians Serving Patients Act