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

ACS in the News

February 2015

Too Few Breast Cancer Patients Getting Radiation After Mastectomy: Study
US News & World Report, February 17, 2015

"If women with locally advanced breast cancer plan to have a mastectomy but are not offered follow-up radiation therapy, they should ask their doctor why, [Dr. Quyen Chu, professor of surgery at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center] recommended.

The study was published online recently in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons."

How to Make Surgery Safer
Wall Street Journal, February 16, 2015

"Little wonder that hospitals are searching for new ways to get their safety numbers up. One such effort involves helping hospitals pinpoint their own problems. Many hospitals are participating in the National Surgical Quality Improvement Project, or NSQIP, overseen by the American College of Surgeons and adapted from an effort at Veterans Administration hospitals that helped decrease postoperative death rates by 47% from 1991 to 2006. 'All too often, patients are being harmed by preventable complications,' says Clifford Ko, a colorectal surgeon at UCLA and director of NSQIP. Many hospitals don’t collect reliable data on their own adverse events, and 'you can’t improve a hospital’s surgical quality if you can’t measure it.'"

Is da Vinci Robotic Surgery a Revolution or a Ripoff?
Healthline, February 12, 2015

"Dr. Fabrizio Michelassi, the chair of the department of surgery at Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York and chair of the board of governors of the American College of Surgeons, said surgeons are obligated to educate their patients on what the evidence says are the pros and cons of robotic surgery.

'Unless we inform the patient population on this, there will be a drive from the consumer that trumps everything else, because at that point hospitals and physicians are caught in a difficult dilemma,'Michelassi said. 'Hospitals and physicians are caught in the dilemma to either continue to deliver optimal care or to respond to market requests.'"

Trauma surgery may not be riskier at night
Reuters, February 6, 2015

"The findings also might not be relevant for more complex surgeries, said Dr. Carlos Pellegrini, chair of the surgery department at the University of Washington in Seattle and a past president of the American College of Surgeons.

'The exploratory laparotomy in general is a relatively straightforward procedure for which mortality or morbidity are very low,' said Pellegrini, who wasn’t involved in the study."

Most Surgical Readmissions Caused by Common Complications
HealthLeaders Media, February 4, 2015

"Complications from surgery for medical conditions—rather than from the medical conditions themselves—are the chief reason surgical patients required readmission within 30 days after their procedures, and life-threatening surgical site infections (SSIs) top the list.

That's according to a report that examined audited medical records of nearly 500,000 patients who underwent surgery at 346 hospitals participating in an American College of Surgeons quality program in 2012."

Infections Most Common Cause of Readmissions After Surgery
New York Times, February 3, 2015

"The researchers analyzed 2012 data from 346 hospitals involved in an American College of Surgeons quality improvement program. Results were published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The study notes that hospital readmissions are a focus of nationwide efforts to control hospital costs and improve quality of patient care."

Studies Find Tracking Surgical Complications Doesn’t Improve Outcomes
Wall Street Journal, February 3, 2015

"Clifford Ko, director of the American College of Surgeons’ division of research and optimal patient care, said the data the two studies relied on, based on billing codes, aren’t accurate gauges of patient outcomes. He also said that most hospitals use the registry data individually, to target specific areas of care for improvement, not for broad comparisons. 'Hospitals need data, and it has to be good data,' Dr. Ko said."

January 2015

Trauma kits help police control severe bleeding, saving lives
Washington Post, January 26, 2015

"In 2012, the FBI and the American College of Surgeons gathered medical and law enforcement leaders from around the country to review such incidents and come up with ways to improve victim survival rates. They took inspiration from the emergency medical training and supplies soldiers receive for combat situations."

Saving Blood, Dollars and Lives
Wall Street Journal, January 15, 2015

"Following the right guidelines on blood transfusion could reverse these disturbing trends. Analyzing data on transfusions from the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program, we estimate that reducing blood usage by 30%—a fairly conservative target for eliminating waste—could result in a repurposing of 12 million nursing hours, annual reductions of 200,000 wound complications and eight million fewer patient days in the hospital; as many as 50,000 lives could be saved."

December 2014

Doc Groups Pan Meaningful Use Penalties
MedPage Today, December 19, 2014

"Frank Opelka, MD, medical director for quality and health policy at the Washington office of the American College of Surgeons, said he also found the penalty disappointing. 'It's extremely discouraging when a large number of physicians are not able to comply with the program when all of them would wish to perform exceedingly well,' he said in a phone interview. 'That leaves us deeply concerned about program's education and implementation -- is it too much, too fast, too soon? Is it that practices aren't ready, and now we're penalizing them?'"

Work hour limits for doctors in training don't improve patient safety
Los Angeles Times, December 9, 2014

“The other study, led by researchers from the American College of Surgeons and Northwestern University, focused on 535,499 patients who had surgeries in 131 hospitals. These researchers came to pretty much the same conclusion: ‘Reform was not associated with a change in the likelihood of death or serious morbidity,’ they wrote.”

November 2014

Doctors stumped as more breast cancer patients remove healthy breasts
Los Angeles Times, November 19, 2014

"Although there is no ideal mastectomy rate for early-stage breast cancers, the 2011 rate of 38.1% may be too high, the authors warn. The National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers from the American College of Surgeons recommends that no more than 50% of patients with early-stage breast cancer have mastectomies, while the recommended cap in Europe is only 30%.

'Current U.S. rates probably would not meet the European benchmark,' the researchers wrote.

The study was based on cases reported to the National Cancer Data Base, a joint project of the American Cancer Society and the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer. About 70% of newly diagnosed cancers are reported to the database."

End to Global Payments a 'Nightmare,' Surgeons Say
HealthLeaders Media, November 12, 2014

"A new Medicare rule that unbundles global surgeons' fees for thousands of procedures not only bucks a national trend toward episode-based pay, it will confuse millions of beneficiaries who will receive a dozen or more bills instead of one, each requiring a 20% co-payment.

That's the concern of the American College of Surgeons, whose medical director, Frank Opelka, MD, says the policy, announced last month, will be 'an administrative burden for surgeons…a nightmare to track,' and ultimately, 'penny-wise and pound-foolish.'"

October 2014

What to Expect When You Have Surgery
Wall Street Journal, October 12, 2014

"Some organizations have programs to instruct patients in skills they will need after surgery. The American College of Surgeons offers a video-based tutorial to help ostomy patients—those who will have a surgically created opening in the abdomen to allow waste to leave the body—manage the condition and empty their bag at home. Another video guide helps patients prepare for recovery from a lung procedure, including pneumonia prevention."

Why you can't rely on cancer center ads
Consumer Reports, October 10, 2014

"The more than 1,500 centers accredited by the Commission on Cancer, a program of the American College of Surgeons, are required to meet stan­dards for quality, follow treatment guidelines, and track performance to improve care. You can find accredited centers on the commission’s website."

More Women Having Reconstruction Surgery After Breast Cancer Treatment
US News & World Report, October 3, 2014

"Breast reconstruction can be done with saline or silicone implants, or the patient's own abdominal tissue. Among high-risk patients, breast reconstruction with implants rose 14 percent and the use of a patient's own abdominal tissue rose 10 percent over 15 years. That's according to the study from the October issue of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons."

September 2014

Programs Aim to Standardize Surgical Care for Children
Wall Street Journal, September 1, 2014

“Studies show there are fewer complications, better survival and shorter hospital stays when newborns and children undergo surgery in hospitals with expert resources for pediatric patients. Because of their anatomy and growth stage, children have unique needs including specialized pediatric anesthesiologists, radiologists and emergency physicians. Yet close to half of pediatric surgeries take place in adult-focused general hospitals, which often lack dedicated pediatric staff and resources. That means children often don't receive optimal care and could face more postoperative risks, according to David Hoyt, executive director of the American College of Surgeons.”

Connecticut cops expand training to stop bleeding
SFGate, September 1, 2014

“The new wave of police training was spurred by recommendations made in Hartford by a group of law enforcement, medical and military experts including [Alexander Eastman, MD, FACS] who were brought together by the American College of Surgeons. The idea was to find ways to increase the number of survivors in mass shootings.”

August 2014

Gloucester sculptor crafts tribute to surgeon
Gloucester Times, August 14, 2014

“The late Dr. Ernest Codman, an icon in American surgery, finally received a headstone at Mt. Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge nearly 74 years after his death. The artist who created the relief sculpture on the memorial headstone was Gloucester’s Daniel Altshuler.

Altshuler attended the recent unveiling at a dedication ceremony attended by leaders from the American College of Surgeons (ACS) and other medical organizations at the cemetery, which is a National Historic Landmark.”

July 2014

Tennessee hospital quality program cuts complications 20%, saves 533 lives
FierceHealthcare, July 29, 2014

“Hospitals participating in the Tennessee Surgical Quality Collaborative (TSQC) saved more than 500 lives and cut costs by more than $75 million.

The collaborative, established in 2008, announced it gathered clinical 30-day outcomes from 10 participating hospitals to analyze trends and identify best practices. The hospitals gathered data on more than 55,000 surgical procedures and 17 different surgical complication categories between 2009 and 2012, according to research presented at the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS NSQIP) National Conference.”

Surgical Robot Fails to Show Advantages in Treating Bladder Cancer
Wall Street Journal, July 23, 2014

“It's estimated that 15% to 22% of bladder removal procedures, known as radical cystectomies, are done robotically, according to data collected by the American College of Surgeons and the American Cancer Society. Bladder cancer is expected to cause 15,600 deaths this year, according to the National Cancer Institute.”

Outcomes pioneer memorialized nearly 74 years after his death
Modern Healthcare, July 23, 2014

“The grave of a Boston surgeon considered by many to be the pioneer advocate for tracking patient outcomes and acknowledging medical errors was memorialized Tuesday by the American College of Surgeons.

Dr. Ernest Codman, criticized by colleagues of his time for wanting to increase transparency, died in 1940, and his grave in a Cambridge, Mass., cemetery remained unmarked for nearly 74 years. More than a century after he introduced new concepts to drive improvements in healthcare outcomes, patient-safety experts say there's still a long way to go.”

Honoring a once-scorned voice for medical openness
Boston Globe, July 21, 2014

“Mount Auburn determined that it controlled a portion of the plot, and gave Warshaw permission to move forward with a memorial. Warshaw, who will become president of the American College of Surgeons in October, plans to make Codman’s accomplishments the theme of his opening speech in San Francisco.”

10 Changes in Surgery in 25 Years
U.S. News & World Report, July 15, 2014

“The American College of Surgeons says it has seen reduced infections during the past few years, thanks to new standards in care, such as decreasing operating room traffic and using chlorhexidine for preoperative baths. The Joint Commission created an implementation guide for hospitals that defines effective practices for better surgery outcomes. In Tennessee, for instance, a 10-hospital collaborative reduced complications and saved $2.2 million per 100 cases and saw a significant reduction in site infections, according to a study published in 2012 in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons.”

Surgeons tout benefits of Google Glass in operating room
FierceMedicalDevices, July 7, 2014

“A group of surgeons dubbed ‘Glass Explorers’ looked at applications for the wearable device in the operating room, such as integrated imaging, communicating with other surgeons, training new physicians and creating patient safety checklist apps. The surgeons found that using Glass in surgical procedures improved their concentration and allowed them to share first-person perspective with other physicians or trainees, according to a recent article in the Bulletin of the American College of Surgeons.

Surgery for Melanoma Liver Mets Can Prolong Survival
Medscape, July 3, 2014

“Patients who can undergo complete surgical treatment of melanoma liver metastases should consider this option, say oncologists from California. In their experience, hepatic resection for metastatic melanoma significantly improves survival over medical treatment alone, they report in the July issue of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons.”

May 2014

Trauma surgeons want more people trained to assist in mass casualty incidents
Catholic Health World, May 13, 2014

“The efforts of the Hartford Consensus are having an impact. The American College of Surgeons and the Major Cities Chiefs Police Association, two of the organizations that helped drive the Hartford Consensus, say more than 36,000 police officers in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Houston, Phoenix, Dallas, New Orleans, Tampa, Fla., and Washington, D.C., will receive bleeding control kits and training this year.”

Expanding Medicaid increases access to subspecialty procedures: researchers
Modern Healthcare, May 8, 2014

“Dr. Aviram Giladi, a University of Michigan plastic surgery resident, and colleagues examined the records of 185,526 adults between ages 19 and 64 who underwent one of three surgical procedures between 1998 and 2006. The study in a Journal of the American College of Surgeons was funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Plastic Surgery Foundation.”

Urologists Urged to Shape Health Policy—With Eye on Quality
OncLive, May 5, 2014

“‘Reform really needs realistic input,’ said the speaker, David Hoyt, MD, executive director of the American College of Surgeons (ACS). ‘It needs to be framed by what works. We are the ones that provide Congress that concept of what really works. We have got to participate in the regulatory phase; it is our mid-ship opportunity, and ultimately our patients depend upon it.’”

April 2014

Find a cancer-patient support group near you
The Seattle Times, April 20, 2014

“Fortunately, this lapse in the continuum of care has been recognized by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, by cancer-center-accrediting programs such as the Commission on Cancer and by government agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control, which support cancer-control programs including the Survivorship Task Force. The result is that supportive services are increasingly available with cancer treatment." 

No Surgery Required for Children's Appendicitis
Yahoo! Health, April 17, 2014

“A research team tested whether appendicitis in children could be treated effectively with antibiotics, avoiding the serious procedure and recovery period associated with surgery… This study was published April 12 in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons.”

Marathon bombing prompts police to carry tourniquets
USA Today, April 17, 2014

“While the Boston tragedy served to accelerate the new equipment distribution, the series of mass-casualty shootings—especially the 2012 Connecticut elementary school massacre—started an examination last March of crisis response led by the American College of Surgeons, the FBI, the Major Cities Chiefs Association and other groups.”

ACS NSQIP Formula May Predict Readmission Risk After Surgery
Medscape, April 3, 2014

“Existing formulas used to identify patients at high risk for postsurgical complications may also prospectively identify patients at high risk for unplanned readmission after surgery, according to a recent study. Among patients deemed to be at very high risk for complications, defined as a risk higher than 15% based on the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS NSQIP) model, the odds of readmission were 10-fold greater than those of patients considered to be at very low risk.”

Safe Surgery Checklist Suggested at Recent Seminar
WLTX 19, April 3, 2014

“Representatives from the American College of Surgeons and the state’s hospital association are working to make surgery safer. Today they hosted a surgical health care forum to start up a community discussion on improving patient care. The safe surgery checklist includes procedures and patient identification, briefing the operating team and instrument protocol…By implementing the safe surgery checklist experts say they expect more than 500 lives per year in South Carolina to be saved.”

March 2014

How to reform the Medicare physician payment system
Boston Globe, March 25, 2014

“Over the last year, a group of congressional leaders have led a bipartisan, bicameral and inclusive process to reach consensus on how to repeal SGR and reform the Medicare physician payment system. They allowed the members of the medical community, including my organization, the American College of Surgeons, to work as partners with them to help resolve this difficult issue.”

The Doc Fix Broke - Health Care Edge: Brought to you by FixMedicareNow.org and the AMA
National Journal, March 5, 2014

“House Republicans--Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers--met Tuesday with representatives of the AMA, the American College of Physicians, the American College of Medicine, the American College of Surgeons and the American Osteopathic Association, telling the industry representatives that pay-fors have put Congress in a gridlock…David Hoyt, executive director of the American College of Surgeons, said Tuesday after the meeting that there's a lot of work left to get the doc fix done, but believes Congress is still committed to finding a solution.”

February 2014

Report Criticizes L.A. County spending on emergency medical services
Los Angeles Times, February 20, 2014

“Auditors concluded that the county should contract with the American College of Surgeons to undertake a comprehensive assessment of its trauma care system and look at ways to better serve areas including Malibu, the eastern San Gabriel Valley, and large swathes of the Antelope Valley that don't have nearby trauma centers.”

Better Bariatric Surgery Outcomes Depend on Data, Accreditation
HealthLeaders Media, February 6, 2014

“The MBSAQIP melds two accreditation programs that had been operated separately, one by the American College of Surgeons (which accredited about 550 hospitals, and the other by the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, which accredited 150 hospitals. Under the new combined program, hospitals will all have a specially trained nurse reviewer, ‘a person outside the direct medical practice’ to independently and accurately collect 100 or more patient variables abstracted manually from charts.”

January 2014

Riverside County Regional Med Center drastically cuts infection rates
Southern California Public Radio, January 31, 2014

“‘Improvement is sometimes a very complex, complicated process,’ said Dr. Clifford Ko, director of the Division of Research and Optimal Patient Care at the American College of Surgeons. ‘And so anytime a hospital is able to improve on something like SSI, we like to learn from them and see what they did and share their successes and their experiences with everyone else.’”

Health Leaders Discuss Lessons Learned From Asiana Crash Response
CBS San Francisco, January 14, 2014

“The American College of Surgeons met on Tuesday in San Francisco’s Mission Bay, where health leaders discussed the lessons learned from the emergency response to the crash of Asiana Airlines Flight 214.”

Risk Factors for Complications After Knee Replacement
Yahoo! Health, January 9, 2014

“Dr. Belmont and team analyzed data from 15,321 patients in the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS NSQIP) between 2006 and 2010. Patients were excluded if they had knee replacement surgery on both knees.”

Surgeon-led mortality review can improve patient outcomes
FierceHealthcare, January 3, 2014

“Surgeon-led mortality reviews resulted in improved observed-to-expected ratios and University HealthSystem Consortium postsurgical relative rankings, according to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons.”