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FEDERAL | ASPS Influences Advocacy Priorities for the Surgical Coalition

Dr. Lynn Jeffers, ASPS Board Vice President for Health Policy and Advocacy, joined representatives from the American College of Surgeons (ACS) and 17 other surgical associations at the Surgical Coalition leadership meeting on March 29 in Washington, DC. Formed in the early 2000’s, the Surgical Coalition meets monthly via phone and once a year in person to discuss key issues that impact the surgical community’s ability to provide timely and affordable patient care.

Much of the meeting focused on the future of health care reform – including the repeal of the Independent Payment Advisory Board, much needed medical liability reform, the need to address narrowed health care networks, and lifetime insurance coverage caps. Those in attendance also discussed expected changes to the Medicare Quality Payment Program and how surgeons can effectively participate in the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPs) and/or Alternative Payment Models (APMs).

Additionally, a review of existing Graduate Medical Education policy was included in the day-long event, with several societies sharing thoughts on how to eliminate maldistributions of funds and ensure future workforce needs are met. A report on the future of GME is expected soon, and ACS will convene a group to deep dive into the potential consequences and opportunities this report has for teaching hospitals.

Several workgroups were created as a result of a series of questions surrounding the accurate reporting of all medically reasonable and necessary visits in the surgical global period, as well as the need for regulatory reform to resolve other issues with MIPS and APMs. ASPS staff will participate in these workgroups, helping to craft letters to elected officials and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services highlighting the Coalition’s concerns as well as suggested rule-changes. ASPS will be sure to publish updates as they become available.