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

NewsScope: July 26, 2019

ACS and HBS Introduce THRIVE on Capitol HillACS THRIVE logo

Leaders from the American College of Surgeons (ACS) and the Harvard Business School (HBS) Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness July 18 gathered on Capitol Hill to introduce ACS THRIVE (Transforming Health care Resources to Increase Value and Efficiency) to congressional staff. During the briefing, ACS and HBS leaders discussed the challenges the nation’s health care system faces as it moves from volume- to value-based payment models, the changing team dynamics within hospitals, and the new care models that health systems must adopt.

Clearly defining the value of patient care is critical to our nation’s health care system,” said ACS Executive Director David B. Hoyt, MD, FACS. “As the patient care model continues to evolve, we must place a premium on providing the utmost quality and efficiency in our hospitals. This program will help hospitals identify clear opportunities to do that.

ACS THRIVE is designed to help hospitals and surgical practices improve patient outcomes while lowering the cost of delivering care as reimbursement shifts to bundled payments—an approach that increases transparency and accountability.

True cost improvement requires that we first measure what it costs today to treat a patient’s medical condition, and then redesign the care model to deliver the same or, preferably, better outcomes with a lower-cost mix of resources, especially personnel, equipment, devices and drugs,” said Prof. Robert Kaplan, MS, PhD, senior fellow and Marvin Bower Professor of Leadership Development, Emeritus, HBS.

Initially, ACS THRIVE’s value-measurement process will be piloted at 10–15 U.S. hospitals, focusing on measuring the full cycle of care—including its key surgical, medical, behavioral, and social elements—for three surgical conditions. Results from the pilot will be used to create a scalable approach that all hospitals can use to measure and improve value. The method will include risk-adjusted benchmarks, so hospitals can compare their value with one another to generate system-wide improvement.

For more information, read the press release.

ACS Participates in Capitol Hill Briefing on Patient MatchingDr. Opelka

The American College of Surgeons (ACS) Division of Advocacy and Health Policy (DAHP) participated in an educational briefing July 22 on Capitol Hill—Mistaken Identity: Reducing Medical Errors with a Unique Patient Identifierhosted by the American Health Informatics Association, the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives, and the American Informatics Association. Frank G. Opelka, MD, FACS, Medical Director, ACS Quality and Health Policy, provided the physician perspective as part of an expert panel that examined the challenges associated with matching patients to their health information, and the patient safety implications when health data is matched to the wrong patient or when essential data is lacking from a patient’s record.

A Unique Patient Identifier (UPI) 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 U.S. House of Representatives last month passed ACS-supported amendment language repealing a 20-year ban on the use of federal dollars to adopt a UPI. As part of its ongoing advocacy efforts, the ACS is working with stakeholders to address UPI issues in the U.S. Senate.

For more information, contact Amelia Suermann, ACS Congressional Lobbyist, at

ACS Launches Geriatric Surgery Verification Program at Quality and Safety ConferenceGeriatric Surgery Verification Quality Improvement Program logo

The American College of Surgeons (ACS) launched its new Geriatric Surgery Verification (GSV) Quality Improvement Program July 19 at the 2019 ACS Quality and Safety Conference in Washington, DC. This program introduces 30 new surgical standards designed to systematically improve surgical care and outcomes for the aging adult population, which accounts for approximately 41 percent of all in-patient operations performed in the U.S. annually and will continue to increase as the population ages and demand for surgical care grows. 

The GSV Program provides hospitals with a validated list of 30 evidence-based and patient-centered standards for geriatric surgery that hospitals can implement to optimize surgical care for this vulnerable population. These standards define the resources and processes that hospitals need to have in place to perform operations effectively, efficiently, and safely in older adults, while prioritizing the needs and treatment goals of individual patients.

The ACS, with support from The John A. Hartford Foundation, led a group of more than 50 stakeholder organizations—collectively called the Coalition for Quality in Geriatric Surgery—in the development of the GSV Quality Improvement Program and its surgical standards.

“Through our collaborative development of this program with stakeholders representing the needs of patients and families, health care professionals, advocacy and regulatory groups, and multiple medical and surgical specialties, we believe we’ve captured the most important considerations for creating standards that truly have the potential to systemically advance surgical care for older adults,” said Ronnie A. Rosenthal, MD, MS, FACS, Chair of the ACS Geriatric Surgery Taskforce and professor of surgery and geriatrics at Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT.

Hospitals will be able to apply and formally enroll in the program beginning in October at the ACS Clinical Congress 2019 in San Francisco, CA. Institutions interested in learning more about the application and enrollment process can contact the ACS at, or visit the ACS website

Also watch the following video on the GSV Quality Improvement Program:

ACS SSR MIPS 2019 Participation and Resources Now Available

Surgeon Specific RegistryThe American College of Surgeons (ACS) Surgeon Specific Registry (SSR™) offers the option to participate in the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and is available in the SSR for the 2019 performance year. Submitting MIPS 2019 data to CMS will allow you to potentially avoid either a flat 7 percent negative payment adjustment or earn a positive payment adjustment of up to 7 percent in calendar year 2021. First, verify your MIPS 2019 eligibility via the CMS QPP Participation Status lookup tool by entering your individual surgeon National Provider Identifier number before signing up for MIPS 2019 in the SSR. Visit the ACS SSR website for more information about MIPS 2019 participation, including requirements, measures and Improvement Activities (IA) specifications, and educational resources.

Several MIPS 2019 educational and instructional resources, including quick guides and video demonstrations, also are now available on the ACS SSR website, and you can sign up for one of several Q&A webinars the SSR program is hosting to provide guidance on MIPS 2019 participation.

The SSR is supporting the Quality and IA components of MIPS 2019, and submitting MIPS data through the SSR is considered individual, registry-based reporting by CMS. MIPS 2019 Quality Measures reporting includes options for general surgeons and plastic surgeons in addition to a wide range of other surgical specialties. For MIPS 2019 IAs, surgeons have 88 surgically relevant activities from which to choose for attestation, including two new opioid-related IAs.

The deadline to submit your MIPS 2019 data through the SSR is January 31, 2020.

For any SSR programmatic questions, including MIPS participation, contact the ACS SSR Program at or at 312-202-5408. For SSR technical questions or issues (password reset, account reactivation, and so on), contact Technical Support at or at 877-600-7237 (toll-free).