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

ACS Applauds National Focus on Quality Improvement


CHICAGO (March 21, 2011): Today’s National Quality Strategy announcement by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is an important step in improving care, saving lives and reducing health care costs in our country. Efforts outlined in the report to set national standards through accrediting organizations, measure quality using outcomes-based measures, and encourage life-long learning through the “application of quality improvement principles and patient safety systems concepts” are encouraging steps forward for our health care system.

“For the first time, our country will have a national, coordinated focus on improving quality and safety for all patients who receive care,” said David B. Hoyt, MD, FACS, executive director of the American College of Surgeons (ACS). “By working together and focusing on proven models for improving care, we can save lives, reduce costs and provide better quality care for every American.”

Currently, the ACS is working with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to create outcomes-based measures based on the ACS National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS NSQIP®), the only program to measure and improve surgical outcomes across the surgical specialties in private sector hospitals. Hospitals currently participating in ACS NSQIP are preventing 250-500 complications per hospital per year, saving 12-36 lives each and reducing costs by about $3 million a year per hospital, on average. In addition, the ACS Committee on Trauma and Commission on Cancer have pioneered the systems-based approach to improving care and saving lives. As a result, patients seeking care at a Level I trauma center have a 25 percent lower risk of death than patients who receive care at facilities that are not true trauma centers.

“Our 100-year history of leading national programs to improve health care quality and safety has shown us that in order to improve care we need to set standards, ensure the appropriate infrastructure is in place, measure patient outcomes with robust data in a national database, and use outside verification to ensure quality efforts are effective,” said Dr. Hoyt. “We are pleased to see these four important principles reflected in the national strategy, and we look forward to working with HHS and other federal agencies to implement efforts based on these important principles.”

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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