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

The U.S. appears to be at a turning point in the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Cities that were initial “hot spots,” such as Seattle, WA, reportedly are seeing case rates decline, whereas other areas are beginning to reach their peak in hospital admissions. Surgeons in both areas are looking to restore elective operations, and the hospitals in which they work need to start planning for when they can reopen their operating rooms (ORs) to patients needing nonemergent procedures. In last night’s press briefing, President Donald Trump stated that elective operations can resume, as clinically appropriate, on an outpatient basis at facilities that adhere to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services guidelines.

This issue of the Bulletin: ACS COVID-19 Updates focuses heavily on helping surgeons, other members of the surgical patient care team, and their institutions return to performing elective procedures in a way that is safe and delivers high-quality care. Highlights include the American College of Surgeons (ACS) guidance that offers a set of principles and issues that facilities can apply as they prepare for resumption of elective surgical care, with an eye toward meeting local needs and constraints. This document identifies 10 distinct issues that should be addressed before elective surgery resumes.

In addition, the ACS spearheaded the development of a joint statement from the College, American Society of Anesthesiologists, Association of periOperative Registered Nurses, and American Hospital Association on the resumption of elective operations. This partnership assures buy-in and commitment from all providers of surgical patient care.

Also featured in this issue are guidelines on triage and management of elective procedures for one of our most vulnerable patient populations—individuals with cancer.

Further, in keeping with the ACS legacy of tracking and monitoring patient outcomes, the College has developed an ACS COVID-19 Registry, which will collect meaningful patient data and improve our understanding of this complex disease.

We realize that the last few months have taken a heavy financial toll on many surgical practices, and the College is working to ensure its members can resume doing what they love in a safe environment. We also continue to work with policymakers to guarantee that surgeons are eligible for small business loans and other financial opportunities through the work of our Practice Protection Committee. We hosted a webinar on this topic last night, which can be viewed here.

We are beginning to see some light at the end of this tunnel. The College is working to help you emerge safely and financially sound.