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

ACS Comments on CMS Proposed Rule for Value-Based Purchasing


CHICAGO (January 14, 2011): The American College of Surgeons believes that given the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) focus on improving the value of health care, the proposed value-based purchasing rule it issued on January 7 is an important step toward improving the quality of care and patient outcomes while reducing complications and the cost of care.

The College calls “most encouraging” the fact that in the proposed rule CMS states it will quickly move to expand “the types of measures beyond process of care measures to include an increased number of outcome measures.” Studies show process measures do not necessarily correlate with improved patient outcomes, but by focusing on measuring and improving outcomes, hospitals can more demonstrably reduce complications, improve quality, and reduce costs.

In keeping with this effort, CMS has been working with the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS NSQIP) to develop new outcomes measures related to various aspects of surgical care.

“One of the best ways to measure quality is to collect robust clinical data on patients before, during, and after the hospital visit and evaluate what we call risk-adjusted patient outcomes. This approach enables hospitals to benchmark their performance against national standards and implement fixes where necessary as part of a continuous loop of quality improvement,” said David B. Hoyt, MD, FACS, Executive Director of the American College of Surgeons. “We support the effort to focus on preventing complications and improving quality to reduce health care costs. We look forward to continuing to work on improving surgical quality through metrics aligned with the vision and focus of CMS. The use of risk-adjusted, clinical outcomes in surgery has produced substantial improvements in surgery."

# # #

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 more than 79,000 members and is the largest organization of surgeons in the world. For more information, visit


Sally Garneski


Sarah Stakston