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

NewsScope: July 19, 2019

Key Members of Congress Continue to Push for IDR Process to Address Surprise Billing

The House Committee on Energy and Commerce has voted to move the No Surprises Act through both its Health Subcommittee and the full committee. During the July 17 full committee markup, Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ) agreed to accept an amendment offered by Reps. Raul Ruiz, MD (D-CA), and Larry Bucshon MD, FACS (R-IN), to include an independent dispute resolution (IDR) process. It is unclear at this point if the House Committees on Ways and Means or Education and Labor will assert jurisdiction over this issue.

The American College of Surgeons (ACS) continues to advocate for a fair and equitable solution to address surprise medical billing and will continue to educate members of Congress on this issue. To take action and urge Congress to consider an IDR process, visit SurgeonsVoice. For more information, contact Carrie Zlatos, ACS Senior Congressional Lobbyist, at czlatos@facs.org.

U.S. House Committee Advances PCORI Reauthorization

The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce voted July 18 to advance a series of health care-related bills, including reauthorization of the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) for three years. Without reauthorization, funding for PCORI will expire September 30.

PCORI was established in 2010 under the Affordable Care Act as an independent, not-for-profit, nongovernmental organization to fund research on clinical effectiveness, health care delivery and disparities, and evaluation and analysis with the goal of offering patients the information they need to make important health care decisions.

The American College of Surgeons (ACS) supports reauthorization of PCORI and urges full House passage. For more information, contact Amelia Suermann, ACS Congressional Lobbyist, at asuermann@facs.org

Key Congressional Committees Move EMSC Reauthorization Bills Forward

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee and the House Energy and Commerce Committee approved legislation, S. 1173/H.R. 776, in July to reauthorize the Emergency Medical Services for Children (EMSC) program. Both bills reauthorize this program through 2024.

The EMSC program has made landmark improvements to the emergency care delivered to children across the nation. As the only federal program dedicated to improving emergency care for children, EMSC has brought vital attention and resources to an otherwise neglected population.

The American College of Surgeons (ACS) supports the EMSC and is pleased to see reauthorization move forward. For more information on this issue, contact Kristin McDonald, ACS Manager of Legislative and Political Affairs, at kmcdonald@facs.org.

Strong for Surgery Announces New Comprehensive ChecklistsStrong for Surgery

The American College of Surgeons (ACS) Strong for Surgery program (S4S) has expanded its program to include six new comprehensive checklists to help surgical teams improve outcomes for their patients. The new comprehensive checklists will be announced at the ACS Quality and Safety Conference, July 19–22 in Washington, DC.

As part of these new offerings, some existing checklists have been expanded to include more information, and a new comprehensive Chronic Disease Management Screening checklist will be available. The Chronic Disease Management Screening checklist addresses heart, lung, kidney, blood, diabetes and stroke, and anesthesia concerns. This new comprehensive checklist appears alongside checklists on Nutrition and Functional Status, Cognitive Vulnerability, Tobacco Cessation, Patient-Centered Decision-Making and Support, and Medication Reconciliation and Pain Management.

“Strong for Surgery is a mission to optimize the health of every patient before surgical intervention,” said Thomas K. Varghese, Jr., MD, FACS, head of the section of general thoracic surgery, division of cardiothoracic surgery at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, under whose leadership Strong for Surgery originated. “While the first focus was on high yield modifiable risk factors, with the current release, we now have the ability to comprehensively optimize the patient in every aspect of their health at the start of their perioperative journey.”

S4S is looking to get potential pilot sites interested in using the new checklists. The rollout will begin with paper-based checklists and may move into digital checklists as the pilot progresses.

The S4S checklists are integrated into the preoperative phase of clinical practice for elective operations by surgeons and surgical staff. These checklists aid in providing appropriate interventions to ensure better outcomes for patients. For further information on participating in S4S, visit the Strong for Surgery web page.

ACSPA-SurgeonsPAC Supports Urological Surgeon Greg Murphy, MD, FACS, for U.S. Congress

The American College of Surgeons Professional Association Political Action Committee, (ACSPA-SurgeonsPAC), recently supported ACSPA member and Greenville, NC, urological surgeon Greg Murphy, MD, FACS, in his campaign for U.S. Congress. Dr. Murphy won the July 9 Republican primary runoff for North Carolina’s Third Congressional District, securing his spot in the special election on September 10 to replace the late Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC).

SurgeonsPAC remains committed to educating and training physicians interested in running for public office, particularly candidates like Dr. Murphy who advocate on behalf of surgeons and surgical patients every day,” said SurgeonsPAC Board of Directors Chair, William G. Cioffi, MD, FACS. With additional support from the North Carolina Chapter of the ACS as well as local surgeon advocates, SurgeonsPAC hosted several medical specialty fundraising events for Dr. Murphy in Washington, DC, and intends to continue to support his candidacy.

To learn more about SurgeonsPAC disbursements to federal candidates running for Congress, visit SurgeonsPAC.org or contact Katie Oehmen, Manager, ACSPA-SurgeonsPAC and Grassroots at koehmen@facs.org.