January 25, 2024
WASHINGTON, DC: The American College of Surgeons (ACS), with multiple other medical societies, has successfully advocated for the delay of a harmful Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (BCBSMA) medical policy that would restrict the use of monitored anesthesia care (MAC) during colorectal and other gastrointestinal (GI) procedures.
"We are very proud of this joint effort to preserve access to critical colorectal cancer screening services for patients in Massachusetts. This victory comes at a particularly important time as we are seeing an uptick in colorectal cancer in younger patients. Therefore, we need to be doing everything we can to reduce barriers to this lifesaving screening and this policy decision by Blue Cross Bue Shield of Massachusetts would have undoubtedly adversely impacted patients,” said Patricia L. Turner, MD, MBA, FACS, Executive Director & CEO of the ACS. “We want our patients to know that we will always advocate for them and work to promote access to the highest quality health care for all.”
BCBSMA has indefinitely delayed the enforcement of this policy, which would deny payment for the provision of MAC unless patients undergoing certain GI procedures, including colonoscopies, meet specific risk factor or comorbidity criteria.
The ACS, in conjunction with the American College of Gastroenterology (ACG), American Gastroenterological Association (AGA), American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA), and American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE), urged BCBSMA to rescind the policy, stating that limiting coverage for MAC compromises patient safety, delays access to care, and overrides physicians’ clinical judgment.
Following strong opposition from these specialty societies, BCBSMA issued guidance on January 24 postponing enforcement of its medical policy until further notice.
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.