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Available at: www.facs.org/~/
August 18, 2015.
2. Hoyt DB. Executive Director’s
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Accessed August 10, 2015.
3. Richardson JD. ACS Transition
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residents additional opportunities
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2013;98( 9) 23-27. Available at:
Accessed August 10, 2015.
4. Savarise MT. Dispatches from rural
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Bull Am Coll Surg. 2014;99( 10):40-
43. Available at: bulletin.facs.
rule/. Accessed September 14, 2015.
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that “the big push that our
group made in Kentucky was
the importance of critical access
hospitals, the 96-hour rule, 4 and
support for Sen. Pat Robert’s
(R-KS) bill S. 258, 5 trying to
protect small hospitals. That was
the major theme of that entire
episode, so to me, that is one
thing that the College did or has
already done that’s very concrete
in terms of trying to help rural
surgeons,” he said. “I think that
the legislative team clearly is
very attuned to the things that
could impact rural surgery and
is trying hard to intercede on
behalf of rural surgeons.”
Dr. Richardson also
mentioned that Ajit K. Sachdeva,
MD, FACS, FRCSC, Director of
the ACS Division of Education,
has been very interested in
enhancing the portability
of medical licensure across
state lines, which will ensure
easier access for locum tenens
coverage and coverage when
rural surgeons take vacations.
To enhance the College’s
efforts to improve rural access
to surgical care, Dr. Richardson
said he believes the nation needs
a National Surgical Health
Service. At present, “we have
a National Health Service that
provides people to do obstetrics,
dentistry, and primary care. If
the political awareness arose
to the desperate needs of rural
surgeons, then the idea of a
‘surgical health service’ might
be politically palatable. This
could take the form of loan
forgiveness for years of service to
rural communities and the like,”
Dr. Richardson said. “To me,
that’s a big idea that, down the
road, people need to be pursuing
because I don’t know that market
forces alone are going to solve
the problem. This is a long-
term process, but initial steps
should be started at a political
level by those who live and
work in rural communities. “
There is no question that
Dr. Richardson has never lost
his belief in the need for access
to surgical care in rural areas.
“If you want to be a leader in
surgery, you really do need to
look at other people’s point of
view, their obstacles as well
as their strengths in terms of
rendering good patient care,”
he said. “I’ve just tried to do
that for rural surgery.” ♦
With regard to general surgery training, the College
“certainly has been taking the position that we can’t cut
general surgery funding.” However, Dr. Richardson also
feels that the ACS can help to solve rural surgical issues by
helping to promote better training in general surgery.