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

Legislative and Regulatory Updates

Follow-Up with Your Legislators after the ACS Leadership & Advocacy Summit to Ensure Surgery's Voice is Heard

by Ross F. Goldberg, MD, FACS, Chair, ACS Board of Governors Advocacy and Health Policy Pillar

The virtual 2021 ACS Leadership & Advocacy Summit was a great success, particularly due to those who participated in the virtual congressional visits. Your advocacy efforts on behalf of surgeons and surgical patients have already begun to make a positive impact in Washington. Following visits with members of Congress and their staff, several key lawmakers agreed to support or cosponsor important ACS-supported legislative priorities, including efforts to stop cuts to Medicare physician payment, ease the burden of prior authorization, maintain a strong surgical workforce, protect the mental health of COVID-19 health care professionals and promote several trauma-related issues.

This is a great feat in and of itself, but to maintain this momentum, nowis the time to follow-up with congressional offices and encourage legislators to continue to prioritize these and other surgical advocacy efforts. Following up or scheduling an introductory visit with your representative or senators has never been easier. Use SurgeonsVoice.org to request a meeting or call with your lawmaker's office today. Congressional staff will review your request and contact you directly to coordinate logistics.

For questions about the meeting scheduling tool, contact staff at ahp@facs.org. To learn more about ACS-supported federal legislation, visit the ACS website.

ACS Supports Passage of the Lymphedema Treatment Act

The ACS issued letters to the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate this week in support of the Lymphedema Treatment Act (H.R. 3630/S. 1351), which recently was reintroduced by Reps. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Buddy Carter (R-GA), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Mike Kelly (R-PA) in the House and in the Senate by senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA).

The bill would provide Medicare coverage for doctor-prescribed compression supplies, an essential part of the complete decongestive therapy (CDT) used to treat lymphedema. CDT, a multimodal treatment that is only effective when used in its entirety, is the standard of care for lymphedema. Current lack of Medicare coverage for the compression supplies used in daily treatment presents a roadblock for patients to access the full spectrum of care. As a result, many patients suffer from recurrent infections, progressive degradation in their condition and eventual disability because they cannot access the compression supplies required to treat their condition. The ACS also joined 40 organizations in thanking the House bill sponsors for their reintroduction of the legislation.

For more information, contact Emma Zimmerman, ACS Congressional Lobbyist, at ezimmerman@facs.org.