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

Advocacy Pillar Update

The Advocacy Pillar continues to focus on the myriad of health care policy and advocacy issues at the local, state, and national level. The two workgroups work to align closely with the Division of Advocacy and Health Policy and facilitate communication with the ACS community. Our aim is to address issues that relate to four ACS core principles:

  • Quality and safety
  • Patient access to surgical care
  • Reduction of health care costs
  • Medical liability reform

Health Policy Workgroup

Chair (2016–2017): Scot Glasberg, MD, FACS (scotbg@gmail.com)

Vice-Chair (2016–2017): Amalia Cochran, MD, FACS (Amalia.Cochran@hsc.utah.edu)

The purpose of this workgroup is to advance issues that ACS communities have either at the state or subspecialty society level or to:

  1. Enhance linkage with the College leadership in response to regulatory and legislative initiatives
  2. Collaborate with College leadership and Regents to ensure that Fellows can help formulate College policies and positions

Past projects have covered workforce shortage of general surgeons, the changing practice environment with surgeons moving from private practice to hospital employment, and videotaping surgical procedures.

Last year, the workgroup produced a white paper about out-of-network billing, which was advanced to the ACS Health Policy and Advocacy Group in January 2017 for consideration as an ACS advocacy priority.

The workgroup met at the Leadership & Advocacy Summit in May, and discussion topics included:

  • Current state of ACA repeal and replace and global surgery codes
  • Finalizing the out-of-network billing white paper
  • Learning more about MACRA implementation to share with Governors

Grassroots Advocacy Engagement Workgroup

Chair (2016–2017): Shelly Timmons, MD, FACS (stimmons@mac.com)

Vice-Chair (2016–2017): Marty Schreiber, MD, FACS (schreibm@ohsu.edu)

The purpose of the Grassroots Advocacy Engagement Workgroup is to enhance bidirectional communication between the ACS leadership and Fellows regarding important legislative and regulatory issues affecting surgical patients, surgeons and their practices, and society. To achieve this purpose, a Board of Governors e-mail tree was established to personalize communication from the advocacy office to the Governors, especially when there are timely opportunities to contact Congressional representatives about pressing issues that relate to the four core ACS principles.

Here’s how the Board of Governors e-mail works. Each member of the Advocacy Pillar has been assigned four to five Governors to contact when there is information that needs to be cascaded. Governors then pass on that information to their constituents–either state chapter presidents and directors or subspecialty groups. The aim is to facilitate communication between the DC Office and ACS members. This communication tool will be especially important when federal and state legislative issues warrant surgeons to contact their legislators. It also should provide an opportunity for surgeons to communicate health policy issues to the Advocacy Pillar workgroups to consider.

The workgroup also met at the Leadership & Advocacy Summit in May, and discussion topics included:

  • Global surgery codes and GME requirement issues and long-term funding
  • Clinical Congress 2018 sessions proposals on GME issues facing educators, such as how to ensure residents graduating are ready for practice, and mandatory funding for children’s health care, including gaps in coverage affecting other specialties
  • Implementing the e-mail tree between workgroup members and Governors to disseminate information quickly and to develop relationships with small subsets of Governors

2017 Subspecialty Governor Survey

Thank you to the 49 subspecialty Governors who responded to the winter survey focused on understanding what belonging to the ACS means to them. Overwhelmingly, Governors expressed the importance of the ACS being the House of Surgery. Overall, more than 50 percent of respondents emphasized the importance of the ACS for Advocacy and Health Policy efforts that surgery specialty organizations might not otherwise be able to facilitate. The Governors also heavily weighed the importance of ACS educational and networking opportunities. In response to the question about common Advocacy issues that overlap between the ACS and respective surgery specialty groups, the top five shared interests were:

  • Graduate Medical Education (73 percent of respondents)
  • Medical Liability Reform (59 percent of respondents)
  • MACRA/QPP, MIPS (54 percent of respondents)
  • Global Surgical Payments (49 percent of respondents)
  • Performance Measurement , Phases of Surgical Care (49 percent of respondents)

We created this word cloud to summarize the Governors’ comments:

Advocacy Wordcloud

Key Contacts

Washington, DC Office

Division Director
Christian Shalgian
202-337-2701
Fax: 202-337-4271
cshalgian@facs.org   

Medical Director, Quality and Health Policy
Frank Opelka, MD, FACS
fopelka@facs.org

Medical Director, Advocacy
Patrick Bailey, MD, FACS
pvbailey@facs.org

New DC Staff

Kristin McDonald, Manager of Legislative and Political Affairs.

Carrie Zlatos, Senior Congressional Lobbyist

Katie Oehmen, Manager of PAC and Grassroots

Board of Governors Committee Seats

Health Policy and Advocacy Group: Nicole S. Gibran, MD, FACS (2016–2018)

Health Policy Advisory Council: Susan K. Mosier, MD, FACS (2015–2017)

Legislative Committee: James Franklin Goldszer, MD, FACS (2017–2019)

Why SurgeonsPAC Matters to You

SurgeonsPACAmalia Cochran, MD, FACS
Chair, ACSPA-SurgeonsPAC Board of Directors

Like many professional organizations, the American College of Surgeons has an associated political action committee. SurgeonsPAC is one way that the ACS advocates for surgeons and our patients by supporting candidates who share our commitment to quality, affordable, and accessible patient care. SurgeonsPAC is nonpartisan, meaning that we support both Democrat and Republican U.S House and Senate candidates. During the 2015–2016 electoral cycle we supported more than 150 candidates for federal office, with 58 percent of disbursements going to Republican candidates and 42 percent to Democrat candidates. SurgeonsPAC receipts in 2015–2016 were $1.25 million, and disbursements were $1.23 million. Further, our advocacy through the PAC provided ACS staff and Fellows the opportunity to attend more than 300 fundraisers, candidate meetings, and health care industry events.

Through SurgeonsPAC, we ensure that the ACS has a strong presence on Capitol Hill. Our DC office staff is a highly respected resource on health care for members of Congress, and SurgeonsPAC helps to reinforce their influence. With the number and significance of surgery-related issues (health care reform, health information technology, and GME/Workforce, to list a few), it is more important than ever that we have access to our legislators. Our patients need surgical care, and that need never changes.

Currently, 3 percent of Fellows are annual supporters of SurgeonsPAC. If each Fellow gave $100 each year we would be the largest professional PAC in the United States. In 2017, the SurgeonsPAC Board is committed to sharing our message that a win for our PAC is a win for your patient. We hope that all Governors will join us.