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  • June 30, 2020 8:00 PM | Anonymous

    The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently released the 2020 Quality Payment Program (QPP) Exception Applications Fact Sheet. The fact sheet explains how to apply two types of exceptions: the Promoting Interoperability (PI) Hardship Exception and the Extreme and Uncontrollable Circumstances Exception. If individual clinicians, groups, and virtual groups meet certain criteria for a PI exception or experience extreme and uncontrollable circumstances—such as a natural disaster or public health emergency (including the COVID-19 pandemic)—they can submit an application to reweight their Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) Quality, Cost, Improvement Activities, and/or PI performance categories.

    The fact sheet also explains situations where the automatic extreme and uncontrollable circumstance policy would be applied to individual clinicians located in a CMS-designated area affected by an extreme and uncontrollable event during 2020. However, CMS has not yet announced the COVID-19 pandemic as a triggering event for the automatic extreme and uncontrollable circumstances policy for the 2020 MIPS performance year. Therefore, if your 2020 MIPS data collection and reporting has been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, you should submit application(s) for the extreme and uncontrollable circumstances policies.

    To learn more, view the 2020 MIPS Exceptions Applications Fact Sheet here. Additional questions can be directed to

  • June 18, 2020 11:42 AM | Anonymous

    2020 Claude H. Organ, Jr., MD, FACS, Traveling Fellowship
    Deadline: June 30

    The Organ Traveling Fellowship is awarded to an outstanding young surgeon so he or she can attend an educational meeting or make an extended visit to an institution of his or her choice, tailored to his or her research interests. The successful applicant will receive the sum of $5,000 U.S. This amount is to be used to help defray travel and per diem expenses, plus the cost of any courses the awardee may take in association with the award. Full details and requirements are HERE.


    Gerald B. Healy, MD, FACS, Traveling Mentorship Fellowship
    Deadline: June 30

    The Gerald B. Healy, MD, FACS, Traveling Mentorship Fellowship will be used to facilitate visiting and engaging with one or more successful mentors. The successful applicant will receive the sum of $5,000 U.S. This amount is to be used to help defray travel and per diem expenses, and to subsidize lost revenue from days away from clinical duties. Full details and requirements are HERE.

  • June 14, 2020 6:30 PM | Anonymous

    Today, the New York State Department of Health issued updated guidance for Resumption of Non-Essential Elective Surgeries and Non-Urgent Procedures in Hospitals, Ambulatory Surgery Centers, Office Based Surgery Practices and Diagnostic and Treatment Centers. Highlights from the guidance are included below and a link to the complete document is provided.


    Hospitals in all counties may resume non-essential elective surgeries and non-urgent procedures in both inpatient and outpatient settings. Waivers are no longer required.

    Hospitals should continue to monitor metrics, however, original thresholds of ICU total bed capacity, ICU bed capacity, and COVID hospitalization rate based on the HERDS survey data will no longer be used to qualify hospitals to resume and continue to perform non-essential elective surgeries and non-urgent procedures.

    There is no longer a requirement to submit information about the types and numbers of surgeries and procedures to the Department on a monthly basis however, hospitals should have a mechanism to report this information to the Department if requested in the future.


    The test period may now be extended from three days to five days prior to the surgery or procedure. Test results should be received and reviewed before conducting the surgery or procedure. The only exception would be a nonscheduled  emergent procedure where testing prior to surgery may not be feasible. In this case, a thorough screening and history should be taken as well as appropriate  precautions. A test should be performed as soon as possible, and if positive, may result in the need for health care worker exposure protocols to be followed. Providers / Hospitals do not have to perform the test; it is allowable to accept a third-party test provided it is a viral molecular assay as described above and is performed by a laboratory with any required permits and approvals.

    Transfers / Hospital Capacity

    The intention was clarified for for ambulatory facilities to maintain ongoing confirmation of local hospital capacity (bed census, ICU census, and ventilator availability). The intention of this guidance is for ASC, OBS, and DTC providers to monitor capacity at the hospitals to which they would normally be transferring to and/or recommend patients visit post procedure, if necessary. Providers should establish their own policies for frequency of monitoring and may monitor local hospital capacity by region at the following link:


    There has been no change to the requirement for ASCs, OBSs and DTCs to have adequate PPE and medical and surgical supplies appropriate to the number and type of procedures to be performed. Adequate PPE means that an ambulatory provider has at least a seven-day supply of PPE on hand, and the provider’s supply chain can maintain that level to support outpatient surgeries and procedures without resorting to contingency or crisis capacity strategies. To prepare for a potential future surge, providers should be working towards having immediate access to a 90-day supply of PPE.

  • June 09, 2020 11:34 AM | Anonymous

    The June 9th issue of the newsletter, Bulletin Brief, is available. Key highlights below:

    Planning for Clinical Congress 2020 to be presented remotely and consideration of a smaller live meeting in Chicago, IL, is under way. Issues to be addressed, based on the results of a member survey, include surgeons’ willingness to attend, the ability to realistically maintain social distancing with large crowds, and the impact of travel restraints some institutions have imposed. The concerns about a second surge in COVID-19 cases and the subsequent effect on the surgical workforce are real and are under consideration. A final decision will be made over the next two weeks.

    New Legislation Provides Greater Flexibility for Small Business Loans
  • June 03, 2020 11:40 AM | Anonymous
    As hospitals resume operations paused due to COVID-19, a new survey shows a majority of people are reluctant to undergo procedures and may not reschedule necessary surgical care while COVID-19 continues to circulate in communities.* To help surgeons and hospitals address patient concerns, the American College of Surgeons (ACS) has released a new resource, Preparing to Have Surgery during the Time of COVID-19.  

    A new toolkit from the ACS accompanies the release of a patient discussion guide to help you communicate with your patients about the steps your hospitals are taking to reduce the risk of COVID-19, and stresses that, when it comes to talking about COVID-19, surgeon-patient communication is a shared responsibility. 

    The survey also found surgeons are the most influential voices for patients wondering whether their care will be safe. Personalized outreach, including phone calls, can ease fears and allow patients to ask you questions about what they can expect when they arrive at the hospital, ambulatory center, or your office. They want to hear directly from you, and no level of detail is too much in our current environment. 

    Included in this toolkit are templates and resources to help you reach out to patients directly who may also have wanted to reach out to you but are not comfortable making that first phone call. Also included are resources for traditional and social media, and your hospital or practice website, including:

    • The aforementioned discussion guide, with sample questions that your patients may ask. This guide will help you gather the information you will need to have detailed conversations and answer potential patient questions.
    • A companion document to help you prepare answers to anticipated patient questions and enlist members of the care team and administration as part of the preparation process. 
    • A template press release that you can distribute to your local media.
    • Sample social media posts, images, and tips for posting.
    • A sample video script that can be used for recording on your phone or tablet, which you can post on social media or on your hospital or practice website. You can also work with your hospital’s media relations officer to record a video if your facility has its own studio or videographer. 
    • A draft newsletter article that you can post on your hospital or practice website.
  • June 01, 2020 11:43 AM | Anonymous

    Recent events across the country have significantly impacted us all, particularly Fellows who are members of Black and Brown communities.  

    The ACS stands in solidarity against racism, violence, and intolerance. Our mission is to serve all with skill and fidelity, and that extends beyond the operating room.  

    Racism, brutal attacks, and subsequent violence must end. We will help any injured, and we will use our voice in support of the health and safety of every person.

  • May 22, 2020 5:13 PM | Anonymous

    Under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) created by the CARES Act, loans may be forgiven if borrowers use the proceeds to maintain their payrolls and pay other specified expenses.

    The Treasury Department and Small Business Administration recently released the application form and instructions for loan forgiveness. The forgiveness forms, instructions, and worksheets can be downloaded here.

    PPP borrowers must apply for loan forgiveness with the lender that processed the loan.

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