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Our top priority is providing value to members. Your Member Services team is here to ensure you maximize your ACS member benefits, participate in College activities, and engage with your ACS colleagues. It's all here.

Become a Member
Become a member and receive career-enhancing benefits

Our top priority is providing value to members. Your Member Services team is here to ensure you maximize your ACS member benefits, participate in College activities, and engage with your ACS colleagues. It's all here.

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ACS Advocacy Brief

ACS Advocacy Brief: May 5

Find out the latest in legislation affecting surgeons and surgery at the national, state, and local levels in this issue of the Advocacy Brief.

May 5, 2022

On the Hill

Congressional Champions Lead Sign-On Letter Urging CMS to Implement MACRA as Intended

Reps. Kim Schrier, MD (D-WA), and Larry Bucshon, MD (R-IN), are leading a congressional sign-on letter urging the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to use its statutory authority to implement alternative payment models (APMs) approved by the Physician-Focused Payment Model Technical Advisory Committee (PTAC) and develop new quality measures that reflect the complex, team-based nature of modern care delivery. The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) was intended to more closely link payment to value, but CMS has failed to use the authorities granted by MACRA to test PTAC-approved AMPs or make use of flexibility in developing quality measures. The result is that surgeons continue to be assessed on quality measures unrelated to surgical care and have limited opportunities to participate in value-based payment arrangements.

Take Action: Tell your representatives to sign the Schrier-Bucshon letter!

For more information, contact Carrie Zlatos, ACS Senior Health Policy Advisor, at czlatos@facs.org.

Nearly 300 Organizations Seek Funding for Public Health Research into Firearm Morbidity and Mortality

As part of the Gun Violence Prevention Coalition, the ACS has joined nearly 300 national, state, and local organizations in sending a letter to House and Senate Appropriators urging an increase in FY 2023 appropriations for public health research into firearm morbidity and mortality prevention. Congress recently allocated $25 million for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to fund firearm mortality prevention research. For FY 2023, the coalition is seeking a significant funding increase, urging Congress to provide $35 million to the CDC and $25 million to the NIH in FY23, for a total of $60 million in funding. Increased funding for public health research into firearm morbidity and mortality continues to be a priority for the ACS.

For more information, contact Amelia Suermann at asuermann@facs.org.

State Affairs

New York and California Chapters Influence State Health Policy

ACS members made progress last month in advocating for bleeding control kits and insurance coverage for chest wall reconstruction after mastectomy.

The California ACS Chapters (Northern California, San Diego-Imperial, and Southern California) met in-person for the first time in 3 years in Sacramento on April 19. The chapters voiced their support for legislation, AB 2260, that calls for installation of bleeding control kits in buildings and public places, following the model of making automated external defibrillators accessible to the public.

In addition to individual meetings with lawmakers and providing STOP THE BLEED® training for the legislators and their staff, Amy Liepert, MD, FACS, and Thomas Duncan, DO, FACS, testified on AB 2260 before the Assembly Judiciary Committee, which unanimously approved the bill.

The ACS New York Chapter organized a virtual advocacy day with state legislators and staff on April 26, which garnered participation from surgeons across the state. Their efforts included:

  • Advocating for state legislation that would establish a “gold card” prior authorization program, in which insurers will exempt physicians and other care providers from Prior Authorization requirements if they receive at least 90% approval for prior authorizations for that specific health care treatment (Senate Bill [SB] 8299/AB 9908A)
  • Creating a separate process for more timely prior authorizations (SB 6435A/AB 7129A)
  • Training school personnel on STOP THE BLEED® and installing bleeding control kits in public schools (AB 6462)
  • Requiring insurance coverage of colorectal cancer screenings for individuals aged 45 or older (SB 906B/AB 2085A)
  • Requiring insurance coverage for chest wall reconstruction after mastectomy in patients with breast cancer (SB 7881/AB 8537)

As a result of those meetings, the New York Assembly Insurance Committee passed the chest wall reconstruction legislation the following day. The bill is expected to move to the Assembly floor for a full vote before the end of the year.

Want to get involved in state advocacy? The ACS State Affairs team can help with letters, testimony, and grassroots support for members and ACS state chapters to engage on issues important to their states. For more information contact Christopher Johnson at cjohnson@facs.org or Rebecca King at rebeccaking@facs.org.

‘Historic’ Compromise on Medical Liability Heads to Vote in California Senate

The California Senate is scheduled to vote today on a compromise measure related to caps on medical liability awards.

The Californians Allied for Patient Protection (CAPP) coalition, which represents physicians, healthcare providers, and facilities, supports caps on medical liability awards; trial lawyers supported uncapped awards. The two sides recently reached what CAPP called a “historic” compromise on new provisions that would have created an uncapped category in the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act of 1975 (MICRA).

Currently, MICRA limits recovery of noneconomic damages to $250,000. Under the compromise, outlined in AB 35, limits would increase for nondeath cases to $350,000 and wrongful death to $500,000 starting in 2023, followed by incremental increases until they reach $750,000 and $1 million, respectively, in 2034. Afterward, the limits would adjust 2% annually in perpetuity.

The deal to withdraw the current ballot initiative is contingent upon the legislature passing AB 35 by June 30.

Coding Workshop

Attend In-Person ACS General Surgery Coding Workshop in June

Interested in refining your general surgery coding skills and keeping up with new codes? Register now to attend an ACS CPT (Current Procedural Terminology) coding workshop on Friday, June 24, and Saturday, June 25, in Dallas, TX. With Medicare and third-party payer policy and coding changes taking effect in 2022, it is imperative that surgeons and their coding staff have accurate and up-to-date information to protect Medicare and other payer reimbursements while optimizing efficiency.

By attending the coding course, you will learn how to correctly code procedures and services and will be provided with the tools necessary for success, including a coding workbook to keep for future reference. Physicians can earn AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™ for each day of participation. In addition, the workshop meets AAPC guidelines for continuing education units, so bring your coding staff!

Friday, June 24, 1:00–5:00 pm

  • Office and Inpatient E/M Coding
  • Medicare's Revised Guidelines for Split / Shared Billing NEW!
  • Critical Care Coding Changes NEW!

Saturday, June 25, 8:00 am–4:00 pm

  • 2022 New CPT Codes in General Surgery
  • Global Surgical Package and Modifiers
  • Surgical Coding and Documentation: Hernia, Abdominal Reconstruction, Bariatric, Liver, Colorectal, Breast, Endocrine, and much more

The deadline for hotel registration is Friday, June 3, and space is limited. Register today!

For more information, contact practicemanagement@facs.org.