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

Advocacy & Injury Prevention

Federal Affairs Update

Because of the continued efforts of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) Division of Advocacy and Health Policy team and visits to the Hill by ACS fellows during Advocacy Summit, a number of trauma priorities have seen significant movement. During the first half of 2019, there has been action on the following trauma-related items:

  • The Mission Zero Act—which provides grants for military and civilian trauma partnerships—passed the U.S. House of Representatives on January 8, 2019, as part of H.R. 269, the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness and Advancing Innovation Act of 2019. The U.S. Senate presented a similar version: S. 1370 and it was passed in June 2019.
  • The Good Samaritan Health Professionals Act, S. 1350—legislation that provides liability protections to medical professionals who volunteer in a federally declared disaster—was introduced in the Senate on May 7, 2019. The same version is expected to be introduced in the House.
  • Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger of Maryland introduced H.R. 2464, End the Cycle of Violence Act on May 1, 2019. This legislation would provide grant funding to hospital-based violence prevention programs (HVIPs) to conduct research on best practices. This research is critical in documenting the success of HVIPs and would create a road map for new programs to follow. Read a quote from Eileen M. Bulger, MD, FACS, Chair, ACS Committee on Trauma, in the May 10 issue of ACS NewsScope.
  • Just in time for Stop the Bleed Month, H.R. 2550, the Prevent Bleeding Loss with Emergency Devices (BLEEDing) Act of 2019, was introduced on May 7, 2019. This legislation would provide grant funding to states for bleeding control kits and training and is a critical step toward empowering civilians to take lifesaving action when the need arises. Find out more about the BLEEDing Act and ask your Member of Congress to cosponsor.
  • Funding for firearms research was included in the House Appropriations Labor-HHS funding bill for the first time. The language includes $50 million for firearm injury and mortality prevention research split between the NIH and CDC. This important step follows ACS Trauma Programs Medical Director Ronald M. Steward MD, FACS, testimony before the Appropriations Subcommittee on this topic.

For more information, visit Federal Trauma Legislation page or contact Hannah Chargin, ACS Congressional Lobbyists, at hchargin@facs.org or 202-672-1528.

State Affairs Updates

Stop the Bleed®

In 2019, a record number of 27 states applied for and received lobby day grants from the ACS. Many of the grant recipients chose to include Stop the Bleed trainings as part of their lobby day agendas. To date, ACS chapters in Arizona, California, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Maine, New York, Nevada, Ohio, Tennessee, and Virginia have held training sessions in their state capitols. The trainings were made available for legislators, staffers, and members of the public.

This year, nine states introduced legislation mandating Stop the Bleed education and training in schools, or the placement of bleeding control kits in public buildings. Indiana became the first state to enact legislation that requires school personnel to participate in Stop the Bleed trainings and permits schools to install bleeding control kits if they choose. Arkansas enacted legislation (Act 245, 2019) that makes participation in Stop the Bleed trainings a graduation requirement for high school students. Likewise, Massachusetts (H490) and Missouri (HB1005) have active legislation to incorporate Stop the Bleed training in student health education.

Other legislation to install bleeding control kits in schools or public places is pending in the following states: California (AB1705), Illinois (HB3432), Missouri (HB1005, HB 249), Massachusetts (H1870, S1337), New York (A4484), Tennessee (SB259, HB215), and Texas (HB496). In addition, Illinois, New York, Utah, and Texas introduced resolutions recognizing the Stop the Bleed Program.

The College encourages state Committees on Trauma (COT) to work with their state chapters and ACS staff to expand their Stop the Bleed trainings for state legislators and officials. Stop the Bleed trainings are a great way to build relationships and goodwill with legislators and government officials to help advance the College’s legislative agendas in the state. Do not hesitate to contact ACS State Affairs with questions or support by emailing state_affairs@acs.org.

Trauma Funding

In Connecticut, the state chapter successfully opposed legislation that would have prohibited trauma centers from charging trauma activation fees. In Texas, Ronald Stewart, MD, FACS, testified before the Texas House Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee in favor of a replacement bill (HB 2048) for the Texas Driver Responsibility Program. The bill would replace the existing trauma system revenue from the program with increases in traffic and criminal fines. It was estimated that the new funding sources would have a positive impact of $9,928,928 to the state trauma system. The bill was passed by the House and is currently on the consent calendar in the Senate. Lastly, the Michigan Chapter, which received the ACS’ enhanced lobby day grant, has chosen to pursue legislation establishing a comprehensive statewide trauma system.

Injury Prevention

The Connecticut Chapter testified and initiated an action alert in support of legislation for a universal motorcycle helmet law in the state. However, the bill, which included several traffic safety initiatives such as a requirement for passengers riding in the backseat of a vehicle to wear seat belts, was amended in the Joint Transportation Committee removing the motorcycle helmet requirement.

Similarly, the Nebraska Chapter signed onto a coalition letter supporting primary seatbelt enforcement in the state, as well as a separate measure aimed at banning texting while driving. In North Carolina, the state chapter sent out action alerts supporting a bill that would have repealed a state law exempting motorcyclists over the age of 21 from wearing helmets, and the Louisiana chapter supported a bill updating standards for car seats and strengthening seat belt laws for children consistent with the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Finally, violence prevention legislation is under consideration by the California legislature. If passed, MediCal will pay for hospital violence prevention services. The ACS COT provided a letter of support for the legislation, AB 166, during its first Assembly committee hearing, where it was passed out of committee. The bill is currently awaiting a hearing in the Assembly Appropriations Committee, and is supported by the Northern California Chapter of the ACS and the San Diego Chapter of the ACS.

SurgeonsPAC Update

During the ACS Committee on Trauma 97th Annual Meeting, the ACS Professional Association Political Action Committee, ACSPA-SurgeonsPAC, raised more than $47,000 from more from more than 100 members and attendees. In addition to raising funds to support key trauma advocates in Congress, the meeting provided an opportunity to recognize 2018 SurgeonsPAC contributors, including state fundraising competition winners. SurgeonsPAC events demonstrated COT members’ continued commitment to the PAC, including a raffle featuring exciting prizes. Special congratulations to William Marx, DO, FACS, Wayne Vanderkolk, MD, FACS, and Brian Yorkgitis, DO, FACS, the winners of this year’s drawing.

For more information about SurgeonsPAC engagement opportunities available to all COT advocates, contact Katie Oehmen, Manager, ACSPA-SurgeonsPAC and Grassroots, at koehmen@facs.org or 202-672-1503.

Contributions to ACSPA-SurgeonsPAC are not deductible as charitable contributions for federal income tax purposes. Contributions are voluntary, and all members of ACSPA have the right to refuse to contribute without reprisal. Federal law prohibits ACSPA-SurgeonsPAC from accepting contributions from foreign nations. By law, if your contributions are made using a personal check or credit card, ACSPA-SurgeonsPAC may only use your contribution to support candidates in federal elections. All corporate contributions to ACSPA-SurgeonsPAC will be used for educational and administrative fees of ACSPA and other activities permissible under federal law. Federal law requires ACSPA-SurgeonsPAC to use its best efforts to collect and report the name, mailing address, occupation, and the name of the employer of individuals whose contributions exceed $200 in a calendar year. ACSPA-SurgeonsPAC is a program of the ACSPA, which is exempt from federal income tax under section 501c (6) of the Internal Revenue Code.