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    Payment reform tops College of Surgeons' priorities

     

    The American College of Surgeons’ strength in advocacy and its wide-ranging educational programs are two of the primary benefits of membership for urologists, according to Robert R. Bahnson, MD, chair of the board of directors of the College’s political action committee and a leader of the College’s Health Policy Advisory Group. In this interview, Dr. Bahnson outlines the College’s work on payment reform, the broad appeal of the College’s clinical congress, and other services available to fellows. Dr. Bahnson is the Dave Longaberger Chair in Urology and professor and chair of urology at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, Columbus. He was interviewed by Urology Times Editorial Consultant Stephen Y. Nakada, MD, professor and chairman of urology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

     

    What are the current priorities of the American College of Surgeons?

    Payment reform is our current top priority. The sustainable growth rate has been a thorn in all of our sides for a long time, and it appears that there’s a movement to eliminate it. Doing so requires some alternative payment method, and the American College of Surgeons (ACS) has invested tremendous amounts of time and energy in coming up with one. It’s called the value-based update, and over a transition period of somewhere between 5 and 10 years, surgeons will continue to be reimbursed for episodes of care under the traditional fee-for-service method. However, in order to obtain payment and qualify for bonuses, there will be quality reporting incentives and EHR meaningful use requirements that providers will have to meet.

    The ACS is also heavily invested in the development of programs to improve the quality and safety of surgery. Specific examples include NSQIP (the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program) and two committees: the Commission on Cancer and Committee on Trauma.

     

    How do you feel these efforts have progressed?

    I’m pleased with the way the College has acted proactively. I was somewhat surprised to hear several high-ranking senators describe the Affordable Care Act as a “train wreck.” I’m hoping we can, through work and through thoughtful processes, actually make it better.

     

    How did you become involved with the College as both a member and now an officer?

    As a resident, I enjoyed going to the American College of Surgeons clinical congress. In particular, the surgical forum was an opportunity for residents to present some of their more interesting data. I then became a fellow and was asked to be on the advisory council as the young urology representative.

    I continued to work through the advisory council on the program committee, became a member of the program committee, and ultimately was elected as an officer of the College. I’m currently chair of the board of directors of the College’s political action committee, and I’m also one of the four leaders of the Health Policy Advisory Group.

    It’s been a very long time of service. I’ve enjoyed it and as I’ve gotten to this point in my career, I find it fascinating to study some of these global issues that affect surgeons. It’s great to be a student again.

    Stephen Y. Nakada, MD
    Stephen Y. Nakada, MD, a Urology Times editorial consultant, is professor and chairman of urology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

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