•GME should be supported as a public good.
•Surgical GME has unique needs.
•Reforms should focus on creating a system that produces
a physician workforce that can optimally and consistently meet our nation’s medical needs.
•Because the practice of medicine is dynamic, the system
should be nimble enough to adjust to the changing medical landscape.
•Accountability and transparency must be built into the
•Programs that produce high-quality graduates in an
efficient manner and consistent with workforce needs
should be rewarded through financial incentives or
higher levels of support.
The Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Program for the meaningful use (MU) of certified medical
records has now entered a penalty-only phase. Unsuccessful or nonparticipation in the 2015 EHR program
will result in a – 3 percent penalty of Medicare Part B
fee-for-service payments and will be applied in 2017.
The ACS commented on CMS’ proposed rule on
Stage 3 of the MU program. CMS proposes that Stage
3 will be the final stage of the program and seeks to
require all providers to report on the Stage 3 objectives and measures in calendar year (CY) 2018. The
ACS response stressed the importance of flexibility for
providers, reduced measure thresholds, and additional
In addition, CMS released a proposed rule on modifications to the MU program for 2015–2017, which seeks
to modify MU Stages 1 and 2 by removing duplicative measures, reducing thresholds for measures that
require patient action, and allowing all providers to
comply with a 90-day reporting period in CY 2015.
The ACS continues to generate Physician Quality
Reporting System (PQRS) educational materials and
resources. The April 2015 Bulletin provided a detailed
overview of the PQRS programs and resources that
the College offers to assist members in complying with
2015 program requirements. Furthermore, the PQRS
section of the website is regularly updated with new
information, including how to report measures via
claims, registries, and EHRs. In addition, the ACS has
worked to ensure that the Surgeon Specific Registry
(SSR) can be used for PQRS reporting.
The ACS continues to play a leadership role in
surgical training. The special “Fix the Five” Committee
on Residency Training continues to make progress.
Discussions have centered on ensuring that residents
achieve the requisite levels of knowledge and skills
through definition of milestones, competency-based
advancement, and use of the final year of training to
prepare individuals for surgical practice.
A new Committee on the Future of Surgery Residency and Training was appointed this year to examine
the ACS’ role in accrediting post-residency Fellowships
and possible collaboration with the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.
During the academic year 2014–2015, the ACS
Transition to Practice Program (TTP) was piloted at 11
sites. At present, 18 institutions have been approved
to offer the TTP Program in 2015–2016. A special ACS
TTP Program: Experiences from the Field, took place
in April, with several TTP Directors and TTP Associates in attendance.
The Consortium of ACS-Accredited Education
Institutes (ACS-AEIs) continues to advance the field
of simulation-based surgical education and training,
promote teamwork, and enhance patient safety. The
ACS-AEIs will be showcased in 2015–2016, through
a cross-country tour starting with the Methodist
The most significant health policy and advocacy development
in this period occurred April 16, when President Barack Obama
signed H.R. 2, MACRA. This legislation repeals the SGR
formula used to calculate Medicare physician reimbursement
and ends 13 years of costly, short-term payment fixes.