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

ACS and Florida Health Care Leaders Unite to Drive Discussions

ACS Announces Three-Year Extension of Statewide Hospital Surgical Quality Improvement Collaborative in Partnership with Florida Hospital Association and Florida Blue


CHICAGO (January 23, 2013): The American College of Surgeons (ACS) today hosted the ACS Surgical Health Care Quality Forum Florida, the 12th program in a series of events that bring together hospitals, health plans, physicians, government and other health care leaders to share best practices for improving patient care and achieving better outcomes.

Among the topics discussed was the progress of the Florida Surgical Care Initiative (FSCI), a two-year pilot program that began in 2011. With 67 hospitals participating in FSCI, it is the largest statewide hospital collaborative utilizing the ACS National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS NSQIP®) to focus on improving outcomes in key areas of surgical care.

During today’s forum, David B. Hoyt, MD, FACS, ACS Executive Director, announced that the College will continue to support FSCI for an additional three years, in partnership with the Florida Hospital Association (FHA) and Florida Blue.

“There are now several NSQIP state collaboratives around the country and we’ve found they are most successful with the mutual involvement and support of surgeons, hospitals and health plans,” said Dr. Hoyt. “FSCI is a strong example of this type of alliance, and we are pleased to be continuing this partnership with FHA and Florida Blue to build on the program’s success for the benefit of even more patients throughout the state.”

“Our hospitals are defined by the quality of the health care they provide to their patients,” said Martha DeCastro, MS, RN, vice president for nursing, Florida Hospital Association, and forum panelist. “FSCI has enabled participating hospitals to see tangible improvements in key areas such as postoperative complications, which means better outcomes for patients and hospitals to drive down costs as a result.”

“Participation in quality improvement collaboratives like FSCI, and data measurement registries like ACS NSQIP, are becoming more and more critical for hospitals to consider as regulators and health plans move toward value-based care delivery models and formulate accountable care arrangements,” said Jonathan B. Gavras, MD, FCCP, senior vice president and chief medical officer, at Florida Blue, Florida’s Blue Cross and Blue Shield company.

Forum Features Diverse Perspectives from Hosts, Presenters
During the larger Inspiring Quality event, Florida Surgeon General and Secretary of Health John H. Armstrong, MD, FACS, provided insightful opening remarks about the state of health care in Florida and new initiatives to continue tracking performance and improving in key areas. “Florida faces the same question as the rest of the country: how can we provide quality, affordable health care for all people in our state? We are applying systems thinking in disease control, trauma, and cancer care, applying established standards to an infrastructure that generates measurable, reliable outcomes and promotes efficiency. The Florida Surgical Care Initiative has taken this approach to the next level by demonstrating higher quality care and lowering cost simultaneously. We need this performance improvement mindset to expand across our state.”

Forum hosts and additional presenters commented on the timeliness of the discussion and best practices that are making an impact on patient outcomes and health care costs in state hospitals, including:

  • Joseph J. Tepas, MD, FACS, FAAP, forum co-host; professor of surgery and pediatrics, University of Florida College of Medicine – Jacksonville
    “The magnifying glass is on physicians and health care systems to make our care more safe, efficient and cost-effective. Today’s forum brought everyone to the table including surgeons, hospital administrators, health plans and government agencies who all have a vested interest in this collaborative and are facing the challenge head-on to ensure the best possible care for patients. I’m proud of the collaboration in this medical community and know if we expand on our current momentum, Florida will continue serving as a model for quality improvement efforts in other states.”
  • John P. Rioux, MD, FACS, forum co-host; general surgeon; member, ACS Board of Governors; Secretary-Treasurer, ACS Florida Chapter
    “The progress of the Florida Surgical Care Initiative, particularly results showing participating hospitals’ savings in avoidable expenses, speaks volumes about the benefits of collaboration among health care providers. I’m pleased the ACS will continue to support FSCI which will no doubt reap huge benefits for our patients and health care system.”
  • Vincent A. DeGennaro, MD, FACS, president, Florida Medical Association; chief of staff, assistant chief, surgical services, Miami VA Healthcare System; affiliated associate professor of surgery, University of Miami School of Medicine
    “The VA has long realized the value of using clinical, risk-adjusted data to measure the quality of our care and ensure we are focused on the most critical areas for improvement. Since ACS NSQIP’s inception out of the VA nearly a decade ago, the program has yielded hospitals, surgeons and patients tremendous benefits in terms of improving outcomes and lowering costs, and I think that it will be critical for clinical teams to continue looking at how we can evolve the program even further.”
  • Michael S. Nussbaum, MD, FACS, Methodist Medical Center Professor and Chair, department of surgery, University of Florida College of Medicine – Jacksonville
    “Integrating quality improvement programs like ACS NSQIP into education and training is becoming a high priority nationally, as accrediting and governing bodies call for clinical effectiveness components in graduate medical education. Engaging medical students and residents early on and demonstrating how these programs work in a clinical setting will also help foster cultures of continuous quality improvement and engrain best practices in the hands of our next generation of physicians and surgeons.”

Since launching its Inspiring Quality initiative in 2011, ACS has hosted 12 community forums with health care leaders across the nation in an effort to foster discussions about surgical quality programs that advance patient care and measurably improve outcomes.

To view the archived Florida forum video and follow additional updates, please visit or the College’s YouTube channel at

# # #

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


Jill Braun