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

NewsScope: March 8, 2019

ACS Offers Congressional Testimony on Firearm Research

Ronald M. Stewart, MD, FACS, Medical Director, Trauma, American College of Surgeons (ACS), testified on the College’s behalf March 7 at a U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies hearing on firearm violence. The hearing, Addressing the Public Health Emergency of Gun Violence, focused on the need for increased government funding for firearm injury and prevention research.

Dr. Stewart’s written testimony stated the following:

At its core, the foundation of medicine, surgery and public health rests on two key principles: A dedication to the service of humanity, and a commitment to base our actions on objective scientific truth as best we can determine it. This approach absolutely requires research. The ACS knows research saves lives, and strongly believes (based on both data and previous experience) the number of firearm related deaths can be reduced through federally funded firearms research. As with other injury prevention related efforts, public health research is essential in reducing the number of firearm-related injuries and deaths. ACS knows that CDC research provides necessary data to inform efforts to reduce firearm-related injuries and deaths.

The ACS has joined more than 100 medical, public health, and research organizations in support of research funding for firearm morbidity and mortality prevention. In letters to the U.S. House and Senate Appropriations Committees, the ACS asked for $50 million in funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to conduct research pertaining to gun violence in U.S. communities.

Read the testimony, or watch the hearing online. For more information on the College’s comments, contact Hannah Chargin, ACS Congressional Lobbyist, at

College Responds to Request for Information on Reducing Health Care Costs

The American College of Surgeons (ACS) submitted comments March 1 to the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee on specific steps Congress could take to lower health care costs, incentivize care that improves patient outcomes, and improve patient access to information about their health care to make informed decisions.

The ACS stated that to meaningfully address the growing costs of health care, there must be a clear picture of how and where money is being spent and the impact this spending has on patients. Lowering cost, while important, must be tied to improving overall outcomes and the quality of care delivered. The ACS said that creating a value statement derived from patient-centered, team-based quality of care measurement, with shared accountability across the clinical domain and episode-based cost measurement, provides the best chance to both improve quality of care and reduce health spending.

The ACS remains committed to working with the HELP Committee, members of Congress, and the Administration to address this problem with the overall goal of empowering patients, improving the quality of health care, and lowering health care costs.

Read the College’s comments; for more information, contact Carrie Zlatos, ACS Senior Congressional Lobbyist, at

ACS Supports Legislation Promoting Access to Care for Congenital Anomalies

The American College of Surgeons (ACS) joined a coalition of groups in support of the Ensuring Lasting Smiles Act (ELSA), S. 560/H.R. 1379. This legislation recognizes the importance of ensuring access to the care and services necessary to improve or restore function or approximate a normal appearance resulting from a congenital anomaly, such as cleft lip and palate, skeletal and maxillofacial abnormalities, facial paralysis, microtia, hypodontia, and craniosynostosis. Many private health insurance companies cover the preliminary procedures related to these conditions but routinely deny or delay follow-up or corrective procedures, claiming that they are cosmetic in nature. ELSA would require all private group and individual health plans to cover medically necessary services that repair or restore a patient’s anomaly. 

Read the letter of support. For more information, contact Carrie Zlatos, ACS Senior Congressional Lobbyist, at

Register for a 2019 General Surgery and Trauma Coding Workshop

Register now to attend a 2019 American College of Surgeons (ACS) General Surgery and Trauma Coding Workshop. With Medicare and third-party payor policy and coding changes taking effect in 2019, it is imperative that surgeons and their coding staff have accurate and up-to-date information to protect Medicare and other payor reimbursements, while also optimizing efficiency.

Coding workshop attendees will learn how to correctly code procedures and will have access to the tools necessary to succeed, including a workbook to keep for future reference. Physicians receive up to 6.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™ for each day of participation. In addition, each day of the workshop meets AAPC guidelines for 6.5 continuing education units.

All 2019 ACS coding workshops will include a third day devoted to trauma and critical care coding. The 2019 workshop dates and locations are listed below:

  • March 28–30, New York, NY
  • May 9–11, Chicago, IL
  • August 8–10, Nashville, TN

Register for one of the coding workshops. For more information about the 2019 ACS coding workshops, visit the ACS website or e-mail

Still Time to Register for 2019 Leadership & Advocacy SummitLeadership & Advocacy Summit

There is still time to register for the eighth annual 2019 American College of Surgeons Leadership & Advocacy Summit, March 30–April 2 at the Renaissance Washington, DC Downtown Hotel. More than 450 individuals are now registered to attend this engaging, empowering event. A limited number of hotel rooms are still available at the Renaissance.

The Leadership Summit will begin with a Welcome Reception the evening of Saturday, March 30, and continue with a full day of sessions Sunday, March 31. The Advocacy Summit will kick off Sunday evening with a dinner and keynote address, followed by a full day of sessions Monday, April 1, and congressional visits on April 2. 

Topics for the Leadership Summit will focus on how to advance in your surgical career, implement impactful ideas in health care delivery, benefit from coaching for better physician performance, harness the power of mentorship, and effectively negotiate contracts. Participants will share their success stories to show how your leadership makes a difference.

The Advocacy Summit will provide an overview of the political environment in Washington, highlighting several legislative and health care policy priorities the College is pursuing that affect surgeons’ ability to provide quality patient care. Attendees who stay through Tuesday, April 2, will have the opportunity to apply the knowledge and advocacy skills they acquire at Monday’s sessions during face-to-face meetings with members of Congress and their staff on Capitol Hill.

Visit the Leadership & Advocacy Summit web page for more information and to register. For details regarding the Leadership Summit, contact Brian Frankel at or 312-202-5361. For details regarding the Advocacy Summit, contact Michael Carmody at or 202-672-1511.