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

News from the American College of Surgeons

For Immediate Release

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Sally Garneski
312-202-5409
or
Dan Hamilton
312-202-5328
Email: pressinquiry@facs.org

American College of Surgeons comments on surprise billing study in today’s Journal of the American Medical Association

CHICAGO (February 11, 2020): In light of a study released today in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA)* examining unexpected medical bills for privately insured patients who undergo elective surgery with in-network primary surgeons and facilities, the American College of Surgeons issues the following comments.

The American College of Surgeons is committed to protecting patients from receiving surprise medical bills. No patient who undergoes a surgical procedure should receive an unexpected bill for care delivered by medical professionals who are not in the patient’s health plan network.

When patients undergo surgery—either an elective procedure or because of an unexpected event— they are putting their lives in the hands of a surgical care team, led by a surgeon. Consenting to an operation requires a tremendous amount of trust from the patient and his or her family, and an equal amount of skill from the surgeon and his or her team.

Delivering excellence in care is paramount to what surgeons do and, with trust, is the foundation for the patient-surgeon relationship. In fact, excellence begins before a patient enters the operating room and extends well after the operation is complete. Our mission is to serve all with skill and fidelity, which includes protecting patients from harm.

That is why we will continue to advocate for legislation that protects patients from receiving surprise bills. We have actively done so in the past and will not stop until a solution is in place that protects patients while also ensuring surgeons can deliver the best, highest-quality care.

Our position on surprise billing reflects what we have advocated for over the past several years. We support efforts to prevent patients from receiving surprise medical bills. Patients should be kept out of disputes between insurers and physicians. We will continue to press Congress to pass legislation that protects patients from surprise medical bills, promotes access to appropriate medical care, and encourages insurers to negotiate in good faith with physicians to establish adequate provider networks and fair remuneration.

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*Chhabra KR, Sheetz KH, Nuliyalu UN, et al. Out-of-Network Bills for Privately Insured Patients Undergoing Elective Surgery With In-Network Primary Surgeons and Facilities. JAMA. 2020;323(6):538-547. DOI: 10.1001/jama.2019.21463.

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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 82,000 members and is the largest organization of surgeons in the world. For more information, visit www.facs.org.