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

ACS Committee on Trauma Guidance for ATLS Course Directors and Participants

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The American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma (ACS COT) fully supports the directives urging social distancing to slow the spread of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) virus, and strongly encourages Advanced Trauma Life Support® (ATLS) sites to cancel Courses planned in the near future.

We are aware that this will result in difficulties both for the participants who planned to take Courses, as well as for the Faculty and Coordinators. For this reason, we are issuing the following guidance:

  • Instructor status will be extended for one year from the date of expiration for all ATLS Instructors whose status expires in 2020 and who have not been able to obtain the required number of teaching opportunities needed to keep their current status up to date.
  • Any ATLS Provider whose course verification expires in 2020 will have the grace period extended for one year from the expiration date. The expectation is that they will take the appropriate Course in 2021 to renew their course verification.
  • Alternate solutions for graduating residents who require ATLS verification to sit for the Qualifying Board Examination are being reviewed and will be posted once resolved. Should the graduating resident have current Provider status, we will simply extend their status for one year as we would for any other current ATLS Provider.
  • For those who have never taken ATLS but require it for their employment or academic appointment, we are working on possible solutions to this issue. For the time being, we will need to deal with these on a case-by-case basis.

The ACS COT expects adherence to all governmental and organizational restrictions on gatherings, hosting of meetings on their premises, or business travel for their employees. If you do hold an ATLS Course, make sure that you are appropriately sanitizing your equipment and have the appropriate personnel cleaning supplies for your staff, faculty, and Course participants. Advise potential participants that they will not be admitted to a Course should they demonstrate signs of cold- or flu-like illnesses. We recommend liberal policies regarding refunds for cancelled courses or non-admittance due to potential illness.

The most important thing for the health and safety of our patients is to prioritize the health and safety of the healthcare community. The ATLS Staff and Leadership are committed to assisting all of you during this difficult time. For further assistance with individual concerns, please contact

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