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

NewsScope: June 21, 2019

House Passes Historic Firearm Research Funding Legislation

The U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 2740, the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, June 19 with a vote of 226–203. Included in this funding package is the American College of Surgeons (ACS)-supported language providing $50 million for firearm morbidity and mortality prevention research.

House passage is a significant step forward for trauma surgeons and patients who have tirelessly advocated for federally funded research. This type of research, from a public health perspective, has contributed to reductions in motor vehicle crashes, smoking, and sudden infant death syndrome. The ACS strongly supports applying this same approach to firearm-related injuries and gun safety. This legislative victory follows ACS grassroots efforts during the 2018 and 2019 Leadership & Advocacy Summit, as well as testimony given by Ronald M. Stewart, MD, FACS, Medical Director, ACS Trauma Programs, before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services in March.

Learn more about ACS efforts on firearm injury prevention or contact Hannah Chargin, ACS Congressional Lobbyist, at hchargin@facs.org for more information.

House Members Introduce Legislation to Support Rural Surgeons

This week, Reps. Abby Finkenauer (D-IA), Adrian Smith (R-NE), Ron Kind (D-WI), and Darrin LaHood (R-IL) introduced H.R. 3302, the Keep Physicians Serving Patients Act of 2019. This legislation would address the fact that geographic practice cost indices (GPCIs) currently are calculated using inaccurate and outdated numbers that underestimate the cost of practicing in non-urban areas. More specifically, the Keep Physicians Serving Patients Act would establish a set minimum based on specific regions, which would ensure physicians are reimbursed appropriately for the care they provide, as well as help to incentivize new talent to practice in rural settings. Rep. Finkenauer announced the introduction of the bipartisan bill at UnityPoint Health – St. Luke’s Hospital in Cedar Rapids, IA.

Read the press release from the event and the College’s letter of support. For more information, contact Hannah Chargin, ACS Congressional Lobbyist, at hchargin@facs.org.

Stop the Bleed Training Continues on Capitol Hill

The American College of Surgeons (ACS) Division of Advocacy and Health Policy (DAHP) facilitated Stop the Bleed® training June 14 for the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration. Trauma staff from George Washington University (GW) Hospital, Washington, DC, instructed 20 congressional staff members on how to stop potentially life-threatening bleeding. These committee staffers are now among the thousands of individuals who have learned bleeding control techniques in order to become active immediate responders who can assist a bleeding victim. The ACS continues to actively work with members of Congress and their staff to help disseminate Stop the Bleed training on Capitol Hill and local districts across the nation.

For more details on Stop the Bleed, go to BleedingControl.org, and for more information on DAHP’s advocacy efforts around Stop the Bleed, visit the ACS website or contact Hannah Chargin, ACS Congressional Lobbyist, at hchargin@facs.org.

Trauma staff from GW Hospital, including (from left)  Katie Johnson, trauma program manager; Cody Schlaff, GW School of Medicine, Class of 2019; and Ivy Benjenk, senior clinical analyst

House Lifts Ban on Unique Patient Identifier

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a fiscal year (FY) 2020 spending package, which included American College of Surgeons (ACS)-supported amendment language that would remove a 20-year mandate that prevented the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) from spending federal dollars to adopt a Unique Patient Identifier. The amendment, introduced by Reps. Bill Foster (D-IL) and Mike Kelly (R-PA), was initially approved by the House Appropriations Committee as part of its FY 2020 Appropriations package for the Departments of Labor, HHS, Education, and Related Agencies.

A Unique Patient Identifier would help to ensure that surgeons have a more accurate and consistent way of linking patients to their health information across the continuum of care. The ACS looks forward to working with the U.S. Senate on similar efforts.

For additional information, contact Amelia Suermann, ACS Congressional Lobbyist, at asuermann@facs.org.