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

From the Directors Desk: Together

Heidi Nelson, MD, FACSHeidi Nelson, MD, FACS
Medical Director, ACS Cancer Programs

When you received the last issue of this newsletter, we were just starting to feel the impact of COVID-19 in the United States, and we started canceling meetings to avoid travel and risks of exposure. Since then, significant changes have occurred in everybody’s lives. Many states have implemented lock-down policies to ensure that people shelter in place, limiting activities to the vital few to sustain ourselves. Many of us started to work from home and had to find new routines for managing our work and home lives. 

Meanwhile, as the United States has taken the lead in number of COVID-19 cases in a single country, we are starting to see how hospitals are stressed by the rapidly rising need for hospital beds, ventilators, and access to diagnostic kits and personal protective equipment (PPE) to minimize spread of the virus in the hospital environment. The cumulative impact of the pandemic on hospitals has been to shift away from the normal course of business toward preparing for and managing COVID-19 patients, eliminating elective procedures and practices for the time being. Nothing is the same as it once was. 

The American College of Surgeons (ACS) and Cancer Programs are dedicated to finding ways to help our health care providers and their patients navigate this troubling time. We hope that small measures such as extending accreditation certificates for a year will alleviate the pressure that is being felt in the hospital systems. Similarly, the elective cancer surgery triage documents and webinars have been written and produced to help provide a framework for providers. We hope they will not feel alone in making difficult decisions about how to minimize the adverse impact on patients who need hospital-based care but must wait until the pandemic passes. Each week brings new questions and concerns, and we promise to do all we can to keep working beside you through this crisis. Together, we will be better.