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

The Communication Pulse: Leadership and Member Perspectives

100 Words

At the recent ACS Regents meeting, David B. Hoyt, MD, FACS, spoke about the “reach” of the ACS. Our collaborative spirit and balanced approach to engagement with other organizations involved in health care was clearly evident during the COVID-19 crisis. These include CMS, AHA, HHS, and The Joint Commission, to name a few. The ACS works tirelessly for all surgeons by effecting positive change for our practice environments, decreasing regulatory burdens, and optimizing reimbursement for value-based care. Now more than ever, American surgery must speak with one voice. The House of Surgery can be a more powerful coalition if broadly united. 

— Beth H. Sutton, MD, FACS, Chair, American College of Surgeons Board of Regents

— L. Scott Levin, MD, FACS, Vice-Chair, American College of Surgeons Board of Regents

Surgeon Voices

In this issue, Ken Sharp, MD, FACS, interviews John R. Potts III, MD, FACS, senior vice-president, surgical accreditation, Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). Dr. Potts discusses the effect of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic on resident training issues. Read the ACGME statement.

Additionally, ACS Regent Steven D. Wexner, MD, FACS, FRCSEng, FRCSEd, FRCSI(Hon), FRCSGlasg(Hon), Director, Digestive Disease Center at Cleveland Clinic Florida in Weston, FL, interviews:

Timothy J. Eberlein, MD, FACS, Editor-in-Chief, Journal of the American College of Surgeons (JACS); Bixby Professor of Surgery and chair of surgery; Spencer T. and Ann W. Olin Distinguished Professor and director, the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center; and surgeon-in-chief, Barnes-Jewish Hospital, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO, who discusses how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected peer-reviewed medical publication. A sharp increase in interest about the virus and more available time for academic pursuits in light of decreases in nonemergency surgery has led to a significant rise in submissions to JACS in recent months. Dr. Eberlein also speaks about the impact COVID-19 had on the research process and personnel at Washington University for both COVID-19 and non-COVID-19-related topics.

Chuan-Gang Fu, MD, FASCRS(Hon), chairman and professor, departments of surgery, colorectal surgery, and gastroendoscopy, Shanghai East Hospital, Tongi University, Shanghai, People’s Republic of China, and chairman, Chinese Society of Anorectal Surgeons (CSARS), who discusses the efforts at his hospital and in Shanghai in general to prevent the large-scale spread of COVID-19 that afflicted Wuhan, as well as how these preventative measures affected nonessential surgery. Dr. Fu speaks on the strict quarantine measures and ubiquity of testing as essential elements of keeping COVID-19 cases low and how these measures reduced patient access and desire for nonessential surgery early in the pandemic’s course. Now, as cases have stabilized at a low rate in the metropolis, patient interest in nonessential surgery has resumed while strict hospital- and city-level controls remain in place.

Dr. Wexner also interviews Christian Shalgian, Director, ACS Division of Advocacy and Health Policy, who highlights legislative efforts the ACS is undertaking to advocate for its members on Capitol Hill. The College’s leadership as the House of Surgery is particularly important in light of the prospective cuts to Medicare payments for surgeons that are scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2021, adding to the continuing financial stresses brought about by COVID-19. Mr. Shalgian speaks about the role of the ACS and the newly formed Surgical Care Coalition in facilitating communications with members of Congress regarding potential solutions, including consideration for legislation that will waive budget neutrality for Medicare spending so that increases in payment to primary care providers do not come at the cost of reducing payments to surgeons.