June 2, 2022
ACS leaders are urging immediate bipartisan solutions to curb the growing number of deaths and injuries related to firearms in the US. The country continues to grapple with recent mass shootings that have claimed dozens of lives, including 21 people – 19 of whom were children – in Uvalde, TX, and four people in a hospital in Tulsa, OK, which included two surgeons - Preston Phillips, MD, and Stephania Husen, DO.
“No one believes children should be gunned down in their classrooms,” said ACS Executive Director Patricia L. Turner, MD, MBA, FACS, during a news conference today at the College’s Washington, DC, office. “We recognize firearm injury as a public health crisis and urge durable, actionable steps that we can implement tomorrow to save lives.”
Four other surgeons joined Dr. Turner at the news conference, including Ronald M. Stewart, MD, FACS, Immediate Past-Medical Director of ACS Trauma Programs from The University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio. He treated four Uvalde school shooting victims, as well as victims of the Southerland Springs church shooting in Texas.
“Sadly, I’m here today as a surgeon who has cared for victims of two of the largest mass shootings in history,” Dr. Stewart explained. “Treatment is not enough. We have to prevent these tragedies—and they are preventable.”
Peer-reviewed recommendations from the ACS Committee on Trauma Firearm Strategy Team (FAST) were outlined as a way to help elected officials find common ground to address this crisis. The recommendations—the product of a broad consensus of trauma surgeons, many of whom own firearms—present a multifaceted approach and attainable strategies to reducing violence while respecting an individual’s right to own and safely use a firearm.
For more than 30 years, the ACS has advocated for effective prevention of firearm injuries. In 2019, the College brought together 44 national medical and other organizations to develop a consensus on a comprehensive public health and medical approach to address the issue. Another summit will be held this fall.
Coinciding with National STOP THE BLEED® Day, lawmakers introduced into the House and Senate the Prevent Blood Loss with Emergency Equipment Devices (Prevent BLEEDing) Act of 2022.
The Act creates a grant program under the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response within the US Department of Health and Human Services to provide bleeding control supplies for use in a medical emergency and implement training on bleeding control techniques. It also directs the Government Accountability Office to study trends on access to bleeding control kits and training across rural, urban, and suburban areas, which will better inform future policy on the use and need for these materials and resources.
The ACS is a leader in creating, sustaining, and advocating for actionable improvements in responding to bleeding control emergencies and will work with the legislation authors, Reps. Tom O'Halleran (D-AZ) and Brad Wenstrup (R-OH) and Sens. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and John Boozman (R-AR) to advance it.
The Toll of Trauma
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 200,955 people die annually from traumatic injuries sustained from vehicle crashes, falls, industrial and farm accidents, firearm violence, and natural disasters. The most common preventable cause of these deaths is hemorrhage, often in the minutes before trained first responders arrive. With more than 45 million Americans living an hour or more away from a Level I or II trauma center, now more than ever it is critical that Americans learn how to control bleeding. Just like with CPR training, a civilian familiar with basic bleeding control techniques is better prepared to save a life.
Help raise the profile of ACS legislative priorities while establishing yourself as a trusted resource to your lawmakers by participating in advocacy at home.
Constituent engagement and outreach, whether in-person or virtually, are critical for lawmakers and their staff to understand issues that affect their districts. More importantly, surgeons working to establish and foster relationships with the key elected officials who demonstrate a commitment to addressing health policy issues helps ensure that the collective voice of surgery is considered when legislative decisions are being made.
Both the House and Senate maintain websites where you can become more familiar with your lawmakers, congressional procedures, committees, and calendars, as well as health policy legislation under consideration.
Information about the 2022 Advocacy at Home program will launch soon. In the interim, you can access Advocacy at Home resources for a toolkit, tips for successful meetings, and more. Among the resources is a document with social media sharing tips to help you maximize your influence using Twitter and Facebook. In the document, you’ll find templates for posting on Twitter and Facebook and simple directions to help spread the message about ACS priorities.
It’s never been easier to make your voice heard and influence the health policy conversation. Start sharing today.
STOP THE BLEED® legislation (A.B. 2260) in California cleared a major hurdle last week when the state assembly voted 69-0 to pass it. The legislation, which the ACS and its California chapters support, requires the installation of bleeding control kits in buildings and public places, along with automated external defibrillators (AEDs). Previous versions of the bill, first introduced in 2017, failed to receive a vote in full assembly, ending in committee each session.
The bill now heads to the California Senate for discussion and vote by August 31. The Senate passed a different version of the bill in 2021. The ACS California Chapters are leading a coalition of physician, nurse, and trauma center organizations to advocate for the bill’s passage.
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. Visit the ACS State Advocacy web page for more information.
Interested in refining your general surgery coding skills and keeping up with new codes? Reserve your housing by Friday, June 3, to attend the ACS CPT (Current Procedural Terminology) coding workshop being held in Dallas, TX, on Friday, June 24, and Saturday, June 25.
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
Saturday, June 25, 8:00 am–4:00 pm
The deadline for hotel registration is Friday, June 3, and space is limited. Register today!
On-Demand CPT Coding Courses
In addition, the ACS and KarenZupko & Associates also offer on-demand courses to help you and your coding staff stay on top of changes in CPT coding and documentation. These 60-90 minute on-demand courses allow you to learn at your own pace.
On-demand courses currently available include:
Each course is accredited for AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™, and discounts are available for team members or practice employees of ACS Fellows.
Visit the KZA website or call 312-642-8310 to learn more about each course and to register.