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

Children’s Health Insurance Program Funded for Six Years

Congress passed and President Trump signed legislation January 22 to end the three-day federal government shutdown. Included in the legislation is funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) program for six years. CHIP funding expired September 30, 2017, and the program relied on federal stop-gap spending measures to remain operational while congressional leaders worked out a long-term funding solution.

The American College of Surgeons (ACS) is a strong advocate for CHIP and has sent letters in support of funding the program to congressional leadership and committees with oversight of the program. In its comments, the ACS stressed that CHIP funding is essential to ensuring that children have access to care and preventive-care options, including surgery.

For more information about ACS pediatric policy, contact Justin Rosen, ACS Congressional Lobbyist, at jrosen@facs.org.

Resident Members Encouraged to Apply for 2018 Summit Scholarships

The American College of Surgeons (ACS) will offer a limited number of scholarships to Resident Members who are interested in attending the Leadership & Advocacy Summit 2018, May 19–22 in Washington, DC.

This scholarship award will cover up to $500 in housing and transportation costs and may be used to pay registration fees; however, it may not be used to cover food/beverage charges, as all meals are provided at the conference. You must be a U.S. Resident Member in good standing with the ACS to qualify for one of these scholarships.

Scholarships will be awarded to a broad representation of all facets of ACS Resident Members. Special consideration will be given to first-time attendees, as well as candidates in the senior years of their residency programs. Scholarships will not be distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Scholarship recipients will be expected to meet the following requirements:

  • Participate in one or two advocacy or ACS membership-focused conference calls or webinars within six months following the Summit.
  • Stay for all programming May 20–21, with preference given to those residents planning to stay through Congressional Lobby Day May 22.

To apply, submit the following information to D’Arcey Johnson at djohnson@facs.org before February 23:

  • Name
  • Contact information (address, e-mail, phone, cell phone)
  • Institution and year of residency
  • A brief summary (no longer than one page) explaining why this opportunity interests you, what you hope to gain from it, and how you plan to use the knowledge you obtain
  • Proposed travel dates

Scholarship winners will be announced on or before March 2 to provide ample time to register and make travel arrangements. For more information, visit the Summit website or contact D’Arcey Johnson at djohnson@facs.org or 202-337-2701.

House Subcommittee Passes ACS-Supported Good Samaritan Bill

The U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health passed the Good Samaritan Health Professionals Act (H.R. 1876) January 17 with a unanimous voice vote. The vote is one of the final steps before the legislation can be considered by the full House of Representatives.

H.R. 1876, introduced by Reps. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and David Scott (D-GA), would ensure liability concerns do not preclude health care providers from volunteering in the event of federally declared disasters. Rapid medical response in disaster situations can greatly decrease loss of life and improve outcomes for patients who need emergency care. This bill would ensure that health care professionals who would like to provide voluntary care in response to a federally declared disaster can do so without facing uncertainty about potential liability.

The American College of Surgeons (ACS) continues to monitor and advocate for the passage of this legislation. For more information, contact Mark Lukaszewski, ACS Congressional Lobbyist, at mlukaszewski@facs.org.

Deadline to Submit and Approve 2017 MIPS Data via ACS SSR Extended to February 7 

Surgeon Specific RegistryAll surgeons using the American College of Surgeons (ACS) Surgeon Specific Registry (SSR) to comply with the Quality Payment Program (QPP) Merit Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) for 2017 must approve the data submission for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in the current SSR system. As a courtesy, the ACS SSR has extended the previous January 31 deadline to Wednesday, February 7.

To complete and approve your data submission, log in to the ACS data platform; go to the submission approval web page for instructions. Once the MIPS 2017 data submission has been completed and approved, it will be submitted to CMS. Visit the ACS MIPS Resources and Education web page for more information and instructions. If you no longer intend to participate in MIPS 2017, cancel your participation so that you will not receive further prompts. For more information, contact the SSR team at ssr@facs.org.

Senate Holds Hearings on Pandemic and All Hazards Preparedness Act

The Pandemic and All Hazards Preparedness Act (PAHPA), created by Congress in 2006 to improve the nation’s response to public health and medical emergencies, is up for funding reauthorization. As part of the reauthorization process, the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) held hearings January 17 and 23 to evaluate PAHPA.

When PAHPA initially was enacted, it created the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR), which has oversight in the implementation of recommendations of the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine’s 2016 report, A National Trauma Care System: Integrating Military and Civilian Trauma Systems to Achieve Zero Preventable Deaths After Injury.  

At the January 17 hearing, Robert Kadlec, MD, Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, emphasized the importance of trauma-related preparation for both manmade and natural disasters. In addition, Sen. Robert Casey (D-PA) reiterated that the nation’s trauma system should be properly funded to minimize the loss of life in times of disaster.

For more information about the ACS trauma policy, contact Justin Rosen, ACS Congressional Lobbyist, at jrosen@facs.org.

Call for Scientific Forum Abstracts and Video Submissions for Clinical Congress 2018

Clinical Congress 2018The call for Scientific Forum Abstracts and Video Abstracts for the American College of Surgeons Clinical Congress 2018, October 21–25 in Boston, MA, is now open. Abstracts for the Owen H. Wangensteen Scientific Forum and the Video-Based Education Sessions should be submitted using the following links:

The submission deadline is Thursday, March 1, at 5:00 pm (CST). The Scientific Forum Committee does not accommodate or consider late abstract submissions.

Medical students, surgery residents, and practicing surgeons and scientific researchers at all levels are encouraged to submit abstracts. Categories include, but are not limited to, the following: general surgery, cardiac/thoracic surgery, bariatric/foregut, breast, endocrine, ethics, global surgery/humanitarian outreach, health sciences research, neurosurgery, obstetrics and gynecology, orthopaedic surgery, surgical education, urology, and vascular surgery. Visit the Clinical Congress 2018 website for additional information on the abstract submission process.