Surgeons have been especially effective in various states in lending
their voice in support of injury prevention legislation, including
seatbelt regulation, helmet laws, youth athlete concussion
education and prevention, prevention of falls by elderly patients,
child safety restraints, and regulation of all-terrain vehicles.
The College’s state advocacy efforts enable swift and
nimble responses to changes at the regional level.
The ACS maintains a well-organized state-level surveillance mechanism. One Councilor from each
ACS chapter functions as the advocacy expert and
is responsible for its grassroots advocacy efforts.
Surgeons also can participate in the District Office
Contacts by Surgeons Program, which fosters close
relationships between state policy leaders and individual surgeons, who then serve as resources to their
elected officials on changes and challenges in health
care policy. College members who would like to
have their finger on the pulse of statewide legislative
agendas also may participate in the ACS Councilor
program and act as the “eyes and ears” of the State
Affairs team in the ACS Division of Advocacy and
Health Policy, Washington, DC.
Surgeons also are encouraged to take action at the
local level by participating in the Advocacy Lobby
Day Grant Program. The ACS supports chapter lobby
days by offering the State Lobby Day Toolkit and
matching grants of up to $5,000.17
SurgeonsVoice is another way the College provides
members with support at the local level by offering
an online resource for engaging in state advocacy
initiatives, including Surgeons as Advocates: A Guide
to Successful State Advocacy, a comprehensive handbook on effective, sustainable campaigns for local and
18 All of these resources foster lasting
relationships between surgeons and their elected state
officials. By becoming knowledgeable and respected
champions for surgical patients and practice, state-level advocates serve as an invaluable point of contact
for their elected officials as well as a link between
legislators and the ACS.
The ACS has concentrated state-level efforts in sev-
eral issue areas. One example is quality and patient
safety, which includes injury prevention efforts and
19 Surgeons have been
especially effective in various states in lending their
voice in support of injury prevention legislation, includ-
ing seatbelt regulation, helmet laws, youth athlete
concussion education and prevention, prevention of
falls in elderly patients, child safety restraints, and regu-
lation of all-terrain vehicles.
19 Scope-of-practice efforts
have recently focused on developing guidelines for com-
plex surgical procedures by nonphysician providers.
Another area of state-level focus is the implemen-
tation of the Uniform Emergency Volunteer Health
Practitioners Act (UEVHPA), model legislation that
allows state governments to give licensing reciprocity
to emergency and disaster personnel from other states.
Local surgeon advocates, with the support of the ACS
and their state chapters, have called for passage of the
bill in multiple states, and successful versions of the
bill have passed in Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Indi-
ana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, North
Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, Utah,
and the District of Columbia. Implementation of this
act is an ongoing process, with recent focus on passing
versions of the UEVHPA in Georgia and Pennsylvania.
The ACS also supports state-level policies related
to physician payment, including Medicaid reimbursement; classification of certain surgical procedures, such
as bariatric surgery, as essential insurance benefits; and
opposition of restricted networks for insurance sold on
At the federal level, recent legislative priorities have
included Medicare physician payment, maintenance of
the fee-for-service payment model, support for a merit-based approach to achieving benchmarks for incentive
programs such as the meaningful use program for
electronic health records, the Value-Based Payment
Modifier Program, and the Physician Quality Reporting
System, as well as reduction of administrative burden of
20 Medical liability reform is a perennial
topic of concern, and most recently, the ACS supported
the Saving Lives, Saving Costs Act (H.R. 4106), which
proposes the establishment of independent medical
review panels to evaluate liability lawsuits, provide
liability protections, and discourage frivolous litigation while promoting patient safety.
21 Similarly, the