Looking toward the future, the ACS is in the process of
selecting a learning content management system, which
will include a program for surgeons to manage CME and to
maintain a log of their efforts to engage in lifelong learning.
surgeons who have been asked to serve as the surgical quality officers at their institutions.
Emerging quality issues of concern include the
effects of performing concurrent operations and
surgeon fatigue on patient care, public reporting of
institutional and physician outcomes, and perioperative readiness. The College is partnering with other
organizations that represent members of the operative team to address these concerns and develop best
practices for resolving any underlying problems.
Advocating for the surgical patient
For more than a decade, repeal and replacement of
the sustainable growth rate formula used to calculate
Medicare physician payment was a key objective of
the ACS. With enactment of the Medicare Access
and CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program)
Reauthorization Act (MACRA) in April 2015, this
milestone was achieved.
Part of our success in this arena is attributable to
the establishment of the Health Policy and Advocacy Group (HPAG). This committee is charged with
identifying public policy issues that affect surgeons
and our patients, establishing the ACS legislative and
regulatory agenda, and recommending courses of
action to the Board of Regents. HPAG and other College committees will likely play an important role
in our strategic plans for ensuring that MACRA is
implemented in a way that guarantees patient access
to quality surgical care and to the type of information
necessary to make informed health care decisions.
The ACS Inspiring Quality Tour, launched in 2011,
greatly contributed to our ability to inform health
policy decision makers and legislators about how the
ACS Quality Programs can be used to improve the
value of health care services. As MACRA is imple-
mented, the College will continue to promote the
use of clinical, rather than administrative, data for
reimbursement and public reporting purposes. Specifi-
cally, we are advocating that the Centers for Medicare
& Medicaid Services use data from qualified clinical
data registries, ACS NSQIP, and the ACS Surgeon
Specific Registry for its Physician Quality Report-
ing System, the Physician Compare website, and the
development of the Merit-based Incentive Payment
System defined in MACRA.
In 2010, the ACS sought to provide more electronic
learning opportunities, developing focused curriculums and assessment techniques, enhancing skills
training and validation, and assisting surgeons in
achieving Maintenance of Certification.
A key development in this area has been growth of
the ACS Accredited Education Institutes program to
promote hands-on training through simulation. We
also have expanded access to webcasts from the annual
Clinical Congress and made other transformational
changes in the Clinical Congress program, providing
more opportunities to acquire the Continuing Medical
Education (CME), Self-Assessment, and Patient Safety
and Ethics credits surgeons need to meet the evolving
demands of surgical and state licensing boards.
Furthermore, we are providing opportunities
for young surgeons to develop their confidence
and skills as independent health care professionals
through the Transition to Practice Program. With
this objective in mind, we also are promoting mentorship programs.
Looking toward the future, the ACS is in the process
of selecting a learning content management system,
which will include a program for surgeons to manage
CME and to maintain a log of their efforts to engage in
lifelong learning. In addition, the ACS clinical guidelines program, Evidence-Based Decisions in Surgery,
was established in 2014 and is flourishing.