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

Bulletin Advocacy Brief: October 7

Congress Needs to Hear from Surgeons about Medicare Payment Cuts

Prior to the October 8 deadline, Fellows are encouraged to visit SurgeonsVoice and send pre-drafted letters to their representatives asking lawmakers to sign the letter led by Reps. Ami Bera, MD (D-CA), and Larry Bucshon, MD (R-IN), urging House leadership to prevent cuts to Medicare payment for surgeons. Without imminent congressional action, these cuts will take effect January 1, 2022.

As a reminder, the letter highlights growing financial uncertainty and the need for systemic reforms within the Medicare payment system and urges lawmakers to provide stability to health care professionals by averting imminent payment cuts, including extending the expiring 3.75 percent payment adjustment Congress provided last year.

By this time last year, surgeon advocates sent more than 10,000 letters to Congress regarding this issue. The same level of support is essential this year to demonstrate to elected officials that it is a critical priority.

To learn more, visit facs.org or contact ahp@facs.org.

From the Bulletin Brief: Christian Shalgian Discusses CMS Attack on Medicare Payment to Surgeons

In the October 5 issue of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) Bulletin Brief, Christian Shalgian, Director, ACS Division of Advocacy and Health Policy, shared his thoughts on the upcoming planned cuts to Medicare payment for surgeons—and what surgeons can do to help—with Steven D. Wexner, MD, FACS, FRCSEng, FRCSEd, FRCSI(Hon), FRCSGlasg(Hon), Vice-Chair, ACS Board of Regents, and Director, Digestive Disease Institute at Cleveland Clinic Florida in Weston, FL.

Watch the interview below:



ACS Supports Legislation to Avoid Funding Cut to Michigan's Trauma System

The Michigan legislature passed legislation, H.B. 5094, supported by the American College of Surgeons (ACS) and ACS Michigan Chapter, to avert a funding cut to the state's trauma system. The ACS sent a letter  and initiated grassroots efforts to support the legislation.

The trauma system currently receives funding from excess revenue of the state's crime victim's rights fund at a maximum of $3.5 million. Without the legislation, the law prescribing the funding levels would have cut the amount for the trauma system by 50 percent starting on October 1, 2021.

H.B. 5049 maintains the current funding level until September 30, 2022; after that date, however, the trauma system will no longer receive any funding from the crime victim's rights fund. The state government will need to identify a new source of funding for the trauma system.

The legislation was delivered October 1 to Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D), who has stated support for the legislation.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Considers Nomination of Atul Gawande

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee on September 29 held a confirmation hearing for Atul Gawande, MD, FACS, who was nominated by President Biden to the position of Assistant Administrator for Global Health at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The ACS and ACS Operation Giving Back, the volunteer initiative of ACS providing global humanitarian volunteer response, have continued to advocate for policies within USAID to support and strengthen capacity to address neglected surgical conditions in low- and middle-income countries. Additionally, the ACS and 15 other medical organizations sent a letter to Congressional Appropriations earlier this year requesting inclusion of report language directing $100 million via USAID to strengthen health systems and increase surgical health capacity. A vote to confirm Dr. Gawande has not yet been scheduled, but the ACS will continue to track the nomination.

For more information, contact Amelia Suermann, ACS Senior Congressional Lobbyist, at asuermann@facs.org.

SurgeonsVoice Advocate of the Year: Top Contenders

The ACS Division of Advocacy and Health Policy's (DAHP) Advocate of the Year recognition program tracks how surgeon advocates participate in legislative calls to action and use the tools and resources available through SurgeonsVoice to engage policymakers. Top advocates also build and maintain relationships with legislators, helping to advance important ACS-supported health policy priorities.

While the 2021 Advocate of the Year will be recognized at the virtual Clinical Congress 2021 during the Annual Business Meeting of Members, the following Fellows were the top contenders as of October 4:

  • Amalia L. Cochran, MD, FACS
  • Mark A. Dobbertien, DO, FACS
  • Marion C.W. Henry, MD, MPH, FACS, FAAP
  • Steven Schechter, MD, FACS
  • Hunter B. Wessells, MD, FACS

For more information and to review past recipients, visit Advocate of the Year web page. To learn more about your personal advocacy engagement, contact Maggie Draughn at mdraughn@facs.org.