News Items

National Study to Document Changes in Physician Practice Expense

The American Medical Association (AMA) is undertaking a new national study, supported by 173 health care organizations, to collect representative data on physician practice expenses. The aim of the Physician Practice Information Survey is to better understand the costs faced by today’s physician practices to support physician payment advocacy. The study will serve as an opportunity to communicate accurate financial information to policymakers, including members of Congress and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). The AMA has contracted with Mathematica, an independent research company with extensive experience in survey methods as well as health care delivery and finance reform, to conduct the study.

The Medicare physician payment schedule, maintained by CMS and used by many other payers, relies on 2006 cost information to develop practice expense relative values, the Medicare Economic Index and resulting physician payments. As the U.S. economy and health care system have undergone substantial changes since that time, including inflation and the wide-spread adoption of electronic health records and other information technology systems, practice expense payments no longer accurately reflect the relative resources that are typically required to provide physician services.

The study will rely on financial experts in the practice to complete an online financial information survey. The number of direct patient care hours is a critical component of the Medicare payment methodology. Therefore, thousands of individual physicians will receive a short patient care hours survey from either their practice directly or from Mathematica. The input from physician practices and individual physicians that are randomly selected to participate in this study is critical for its success. Participation will ensure that practice expenses and patient care hours are accurately reflected.

ASCRS Hosts Another Successful Pathway Program for Students During the 2023 Annual Scientific Meeting

The American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons (ASCRS) hosted an immersive one-day pathway program for 35 Seattle-area high school, medical, and college students interested in the field of surgery during the society's 2023 Annual Scientific Meeting in Seattle, Washington on June 4, 2023. 

DEI-Pathways-1The ASCRS Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee led this program for students. Industry partners Applied Medical, Cook Biotech, Ethicon, Intuitive, Medtronic, Olympus, and Takeda Pharmaceuticals also participated in the program by providing hands-on surgical robotics, suturing stations and presentations about technology within the specialty. Other program support was provided by the Colorectal Cancer Alliance and Tour 4 Diversity
The program kicked off with a welcome breakfast for students and their parents, while they listened to life stories and medical school journeys from Dr. Sharon Dykes, Dr. Martin Uwah, and Dr. Carolina Martinez. Students and parents took a walk through a 12-foot-by-12-foot inflatable colon that displayed descriptive banners next to disease replicas, intended to spark conversation and increase awareness of colon health. Additionally, students attended sessions that promoted awareness for making healthy lifestyle choices, understanding the importance of colon health, and breaking the status quo when it comes to diversity in the colorectal field. Students concluded the day with a lesson on suturing, using kits donated by THD America followed by a friendly suturing competition.  


The DEI Committee's mission is to help ASCRS provide diverse and equitable care to patients and create a diverse colorectal workforce. Sharing information on the medical and surgical fields with curious young minds goes beyond making a difference in the colorectal surgery field.  

“Seeing this inspires me to move forward. Even if you don’t want to go into medicine, just having the drive to do something like this (program) is going to translate to whatever you do want to do.” Dr. Martin Uwah stated during his talk to students. 
ASCRS will host its next student pathway program in Baltimore, Maryland, at the ASCRS 2024 Annual Scientific Meeting. 

ASCRS Announces 2023 David Jagelman Award Winner

The Jagelman Award honors the memory of Dr. David Jagelman, whose advocacy for his patients at the Cleveland Clinic is legendary. 

Dr. Jagelman founded and directed the Cleveland Clinic’s Familial Polyposis Registry and had become chair of the Department of Colorectal Surgery at the Cleveland Clinic Florida shortly before he died from kidney cancer in 1993, at age 53.   

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This year, we honor the Colon Cancer Foundation with the David Jagelman award.

In 2004 Dr. Thomas Weber founded the nation’s first public colon cancer awareness event – the Colon Cancer Challenge. As a surgical oncologist working daily with colorectal cancer patients, he saw the need for increasing public awareness of the nation’s second deadliest form of cancer and the importance of expanding research focused on the causes and cures of colorectal cancer.

The Colon Cancer Challenge has grown to attract thousands of participants and supporters from around the nation, and in 2008 the Colon Cancer Foundation was established with a formal mission of reducing colorectal cancer and related deaths through supporting research, increasing public awareness and education, and collaborating with strategic partners in the fight against colorectal cancer.

A significant area of focus for the Colon Cancer Foundation is research, including the understanding of the causes for early age onset and hereditary colorectal cancer. The Foundation has been supporting young investigators since its first Colon Cancer Challenge walk in Central Park. Additionally, CCF has created a colorectal cancer provider outreach program providing reassurance and support starting at the time of diagnosis. CCF is also the creator of the Protect Your Butt program and call center that puts on fundraising and awareness programs each year. All money raised during Protect Your Butt! Campaigns helps to raise awareness of the nation’s second leading cancer killer and provides funds for colorectal cancer research, education, and prevention programs for the underserved.

ASCRS presented the 2023 Jagelman Award to the Colon Cancer Foundation during the 2023 Annual Scientific Meeting in Seattle, Washington. 


American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons Recognizes Brianna Mercker as the 2023 Local Hero Award Winner

The American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons (ASCRS) is proud to announce Brianna Mercker as the recipient of the prestigious 2023 Local Hero Award. This annual award was created to honor an individual from the host city of the ASCRS Annual Scientific Meeting who has made extraordinary contributions to the field of colon and rectal disease.

Brianna Mercker, a resident of Seattle, has demonstrated remarkable dedication and made significant strides in raising awareness, promoting prevention, and improving treatment options for colon and rectal cancer. Despite her own personal battle with stage IV rectal cancer, Brianna has emerged as a beacon of hope and inspiration for patients and survivors alike.

At the age of 38, Brianna was diagnosed with stage IV rectal cancer in 2018. Through a combination of liver resection, chemoradiation, low anterior resection (LAR), and adjuvant chemotherapy, she made a remarkable recovery. Brianna's unwavering determination to overcome the challenges she faced has motivated her to go above and beyond in her efforts to support others facing similar struggles.

In 2022, Brianna spearheaded the inaugural Seattle Walk to End Colon Cancer, a groundbreaking event that attracted 620 participants and raised over $115,000. Brianna continues to play an instrumental role in leading the Seattle Colorectal Cancer Alliance chapter, providing guidance and support to the local community of colorectal cancer survivors.

To learn more about Brianna Mercker and her journey, watch the inspiring video here:

ASCRS 2022-23 Annual Report

We are pleased to present the first annual report of the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons (ASCRS). This report highlights the many ways in which ASCRS is building value for members and ultimately better serving patients. As you review this report, you will see the tremendous amount of work that is being done to make ASCRS the premier and most inclusive colorectal society, committed to improving patient care through education, professional development, and innovation. In this report, you will also find a glimpse into the future. We recently approved goals and strategies that we will be pursuing over the next three years that we're excited to share with you. 

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