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

House Introduces Legislation to Address General Surgery Shortages

Reps. Ami Bera, MD (D-CA); Larry Bucshon, MD, FACS (R-IN); Scott Peters (D-CA); and Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) March 21 introduced the Ensuring Access to General Surgery Act, H.R. 1841. The American College of Surgeons (ACS) issued a letter of support for the legislation, which would direct the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to conduct a study to define and identify general surgery shortage areas. The legislation further would give the Secretary of HHS the authority to issue a formal general surgery shortage area designation based on the study’s results.

In light of growing evidence demonstrating a shortage of general surgeons, more research is necessary to determine what constitutes a surgical shortage area and where these areas exist. Determining where patients lack access to surgical services will provide HHS with a valuable tool for increasing access to the full spectrum of high-quality health care services. Incentivizing general surgeons to locate or remain in communities with workforce shortages could become critical in guaranteeing all Medicare beneficiaries, regardless of geographic location, have access to quality surgical care.

Read the College’s letter. For more information on surgical workforce issues, contact Carrie Zlatos, ACS Senior Congressional Lobbyist, at czlatos@facs.org.