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

As the curve begins to flatten and hospitals and surgeons’ offices resume offering elective procedures, the COVID-19 Communications Committee has set its sights on new opportunities.

The Bulletin: ACS COVID-19 Updates has served the community of health care providers well during the acute phase of this pandemic. Going forward, the Bulletin: ACS COVID-19 Updates will evolve to a new e-newsletter, Bulletin Brief. This new weekly communications vehicle will continue to provide updates on important advances the American College of Surgeons (ACS) and other stakeholders are making to assist you in providing optimal care for the duration of the pandemic, but also will include the latest information on other ACS activities and news.

Bulletin Brief will replace this newsletter and the weekly ACS NewsScope that you traditionally have received on Thursday night. It will be distributed Tuesday nights and will combine all the elements of both newsletters in a reader-friendly and responsive format.

In this edition of Bulletin: ACS COVID-19 Updates, we continue the focus on COVID-19-specific topics. One issue that is gaining interest in the scientific community and lay press is the notion of herd immunity. An article in Cell indicates that there are two possible approaches to building widespread COVID-19 immunity: a mass vaccination campaign or the development of policies that protect the most vulnerable groups, in the hopes that herd immunity will eventually be achieved as a byproduct of such measures.

Similarly, Thomas R. Frieden, MD, former Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and now President and Chief Executive Officer, Resolve to Save Lives, testified this week before the House Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee. Hipresei testimony underscored that the war against COVID-19 will be long and difficult, and, until we have a vaccine, we must have a comprehensive strategy and use data to drive our policies and programs.

Importantly, we also must assure patients who need surgical care for non-COVID-19-related conditions that they will leave the hospital with a higher quality of life than when they entered. Stanford Health Care, CA, resumed elective operations and other nonemergency procedures last week and was able to encourage patients to seek out that care after demonstrating that less than 1 percent of its health care staff tested positive for the coronavirus and very few had markers of previous infection. Patients who are fearful of receiving operative care want this information, and we would encourage your institutions to follow Stanford’s example.

The ACS will continue to help surgeons address the impact of COVID-19 on their financial viability. On Thursday, May 14, at 8:00 pm Eastern Time, the College will host the third in a series of webinars regarding the COVID-19 crisis. This webinar, Advocating for Your Financial Security in a Post-COVID World, will focus on the key financial solutions that the ACS is advocating in Washington, DC. Register here.

Finally, we want to again thank all the health care professionals who have been on the frontlines of this crisis, including the nurses who have demonstrated so much grit, resilience, determination, and compassion these past few months. It was fitting to celebrate National Nurses Week at this time, and our hats are off to all of them and all of you. We know that all of you will continue to do the research and provide the care necessary to eradicate this disease.