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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.

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American College of Surgeons Drives Quality Improvements Amid Challenging Post-Pandemic Environment for U.S. Hospitals

Launches New Campaign Aimed at Improving Patient Outcomes and Lowering Administrative Costs

April 14, 2023

CHICAGO: The American College of Surgeons (ACS) announced today the launch of its Power of Quality campaign—a national, multi-year campaign aimed at improving care for all patients by expanding the reach of ACS Quality Programs to more hospitals nationwide. These evidence-based programs have been proven to improve patient outcomes, streamline hospital processes, and lower costs. Working closely with hospitals and surgeons, the ACS will also promote policy frameworks and incentives that keep quality at the forefront of patient care.

“ACS Quality Programs have consistently driven improved surgical care with participating hospitals. Through this campaign, we are working to ensure that every surgical patient has access to quality surgical care and that every hospital has the tools they need to support their surgeons, no matter where they reside in the country,” said Patricia L. Turner, MD, MBA, FACS, Executive Director and CEO of the American College of Surgeons. “This is about much more than improving quality at a single hospital within a single specialty. It’s about raising the bar on quality across the entire healthcare system and working with hospitals and policymakers to support investments that will allow surgeons to do what they do best—deliver critical, quality care and improve the health of all patients.”

Today, the healthcare community faces regulatory and cost hurdles at every turn in a post-pandemic environment. Current national strategies for achieving high quality care are not working well enough, failing to truly measure quality and make improvements. ACS Quality Programs are critical in providing real-world solutions that improve the delivery of surgical care. As the trusted leader on surgical quality, the ACS founded its Quality Programs with the intention of benefiting hospitals, surgeons, and the patients they care for. 

The ACS has 18 Quality Programs, ranging from specialties like trauma, cancer, geriatrics, bariatrics, and children’s surgery, as well as strategic programs aimed at addressing the processes of a hospital’s entire surgical system. ACS Quality Programs not only define the foundations needed to improve surgical care but also offer a roadmap for an entire care team to achieve high quality. This differs from the current national strategy that largely sets outcome goals without ensuring support to achieve them, leading to significant variability in patient care.

“Current national strategies are insufficient to achieve high quality surgical care, as there is too much variability within them. ACS Quality Programs rely on evidence-based recommendations to provide hospitals with a roadmap to improve their surgical processes, reduce redundancies, lower costs, and improve patient health and outcomes,” said Timothy J. Eberlein, MD, FACS., Chair of the ACS Board of Regents.

In practice, ACS Quality Programs have helped hospitals improve results in a variety of ways, including:  

  • Hospitals participating in ACS National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS NSQIP) prevent 250 to 500 complications, save between 12 to 36 lives, and reduce cost by millions of dollars each year. This is true across all hospital types - large and small, urban and rural, and teaching and non-teaching.1
  • With the ACS Quality Verification Program, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital was able to identify, through a holistic approach, how to best provide for pre-op optimization and medical clearance, which allowed for it to go from 6% to 8% day-of surgery cancellations to less than 1%.2
  • The ACS Geriatric Surgery Verification (GSV) Program reduces the average postoperative length of stay in hospitals from 5 days to 4 days.3

New Surgical Quality Trust Mark to Celebrate Commitment to Quality Care

In conjunction with the Power of Quality campaign, the ACS has launched an emblem, the Surgical Quality Trust Mark, to enable hospitals participating in ACS Quality programs to showcase their commitment to improving care for the patients they serve. Verification and the display of the diamond mark allow hospitals to showcase that they have met the high standards for care in the ACS programs in which they participate.

“Clinical leaders and patients alike deserve to know that surgical processes are backed up by data. Through the ACS Quality Programs, hospitals are offered the tools and guidance to improve their policies, and through accreditation earn the ACS Surgical Quality Trust mark, symbolizing their commitment to excellence. This is a symbol that patients can recognize and trust in when choosing where to receive care,” said Clifford Ko, MD, MS, MSHS, FACS, FASCRS, Director of the Division of Research and Optimal Patient Care of the American College of Surgeons.

As part of the campaign launch, the ACS plans to work with a number of hospitals and health systems to share real-world impacts of how ACS Quality Programs are benefiting patients and surgical systems. Inova Health System, the first hospital that ACS has begun to work with, is currently a participant in eight ACS Quality Programs, including the ACS Quality Verification Program (QVP), which is meant to improve surgical care across its five hospitals in Northern Virginia.

“ACS Quality Programs have been tremendously helpful in bringing members of our surgical team together as we evaluate and improve the care we provide to our patients,” said J. Stephen Jones, MD, FACS, President and CEO of Inova Health System. “The QVP program, in particular, helped us establish leadership roles and structures focused on surgical process improvement across specialties, engage all our surgical teams in a culture of quality grounded in the consistent use of data, and enhance communications in our journey to high reliability.”

To learn more about ACS Quality programs, you can visit the ACS website here.

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1. Hall BL, et al. “Does Surgical Quality Improve in the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program.” Ann Surg. 2009; 250:363-376.

2. Interview with Mary E. Cassai, SVP, Perioperative Services, New York-Presbyterian Hospital

3. Jones TS, Jones EL, Richardson V, Finley JB, Franklin JL, Gore DL, Horney CP, Kovar A, Morin TL, Robinson TN. Preliminary data demonstrate the Geriatric Surgery Verification program reduces postoperative length of stay. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2021 Jul;69(7):1993-1999. doi: 10.1111/jgs.17154. Epub 2021 Apr 7. PMID: 33826150.

About the American College of Surgeons

The American College of Surgeons is a scientific and educational organization of surgeons that was founded in 1913 to raise the standards of surgical practice and improve the quality of care for all surgical patients. The College is dedicated to the ethical and competent practice of surgery. Its achievements have significantly influenced the course of scientific surgery in America and have established it as an important advocate for all surgical patients. The College has approximately 90,000 members and is the largest organization of surgeons in the world. "FACS" designates that a surgeon is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons.

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