News Items

Seven Societies Vote No on ANSI/AAMI Revisions on Endoscopic Processing

Changes to ST91 for Flexible and Semi-Rigid Endoscopes Create Obstacles to Implement Standards and Offer Impractical, Inappropriate or Conflicting Guidance
 
AASLD, ACG, AGA, ASCRS, ASGE, SAGES and SGNA are committed to initiatives focused on eliminating healthcare-associated infections through improved education about evidence-based practices. While our societies appreciated the opportunity to engage in the discussion around the 2021 revision of ST91 Flexible and semi-rigid endoscope processing in health care facilities, the joint GI societies remain concerned and do not support some of the finalized revisions to the standards and therefore voted negative on vote for approval.
 
Each of our societies has endorsed the Multisociety guideline on reprocessing flexible GI endoscopes and accessories, which provides evidence-based recommendations for the reprocessing of flexible GI endoscopes based on rigorous review and synthesis of the contemporary literature and application of the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) framework, included significant input from the endorsing organizations, and achieved consensus through redistribution. The process of revising ST91 and the final output varied significantly from the standards for guideline development expected by our societies, which led to our casting and maintaining negative votes on the final revised version of ST91 Flexible and semi-rigid endoscope processing in health care facilities.
 
While the GI community awaits the availability of widespread, cost-effective alternative endoscopes and novel reprocessing technologies, it is critical for our patients that the focus of the national dialogue continues for the more salient issues of training, oversight and enhancement of cleaning practices and technologies.
 
Fundamentally, our societies remain concerned about the inability for healthcare teams to implement and operationalize this ST91 standard at the practice level due to its length, construction, internal redundancies, disparate definitions, and, at times, conflicting recommendations.
 
The full joint statement has been published online via Gastrointestinal Endoscopy.
 
Represented Organizations AASLD, ACG, AGA, ASCRS, ASGE, SAGES and SGNA are committed to initiatives focused on eliminating healthcare-associated infections through improved education about evidence-based practices. The process of revising ST91 and the final output varied significantly from the standards for guideline development expected by our societies, which led to casting and maintaining negative votes on the final revised version of ST91 Flexible and semi-rigid endoscope processing in health care facilities. Fundamentally, our societies remain concerned about the inability for healthcare teams to implement and operationalize this ST91 standard at the practice level due to its length, construction, internal redundancies, disparate definitions, and, at times, conflicting recommendations.

ASCRS Annual Scientific Meeting COVID Statement from President Thomas E. Read, MD

Dear Friends and Colleagues,
 
The American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons (ASCRS) looks forward to welcoming everyone to the ASCRS 2022 Annual Scientific Meeting (Meeting) scheduled to be held in person from April 30 – May 4, 2022 in Tampa, Florida.
 
We wish to share our rationale for proceeding with the Meeting in person, and to address our current safety practices for the Meeting.
 
Rationale for In-Person Meeting
 
The decision to proceed with the Meeting in person was made only after carefully considering our attendees’ familiarity with the realities of COVID, the widespread availability of high-quality face coverings and vaccines, the interests of our members and our organization, and the emerging science regarding COVID. We also considered, and are encouraged by, other large societies’ in-person meetings over the last 2 years proceeding without significant outbreaks. We are confident we can also host a successful meeting and start to reestablish the social connections that make ASCRS a treasured society.
 
Safety Practices
 
ASCRS is adopting certain practices consistent with Florida law regarding COVID screening procedures designed to minimize the risk of an outbreak at the Meeting. Because public health guidelines and restrictions may change prior to the Meeting, our safety practices may likewise change.
  • Vaccination and Testing
    • We strongly recommend everyone attending the Meeting be fully vaccinated and boosted against COVID. Vaccination is our best defense against serious COVID related illness.
    • Regardless of vaccination status, all attendees are strongly encouraged to take a COVID test prior to attending the Meeting. ASCRS will provide a comprehensive list of facilities offering rapid antigen and PCR testing near the Meeting.
    • Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 prior to the Meeting must not attend. In addition, anyone who develops symptoms of COVID during the Meeting must leave the Meeting and avoid returning unless they obtain a negative test result.
  • Convention Center and Hotels
    • We encourage universal use of N95, KN95 and surgical masks while attending the Meeting, including all social events. ASCRS will provide KN95 masks at the Registration desk on-site at the Tampa Convention Center.
    • Seating capacity will be reduced in conference rooms to ensure social distancing. Attendees are encouraged to leave space between seats in meeting rooms.
    • Hand sanitization stations will be placed throughout the Meeting’s venues.
 
Unforeseen Events and Registration Reimbursement
  • We will refund the registration fees paid to ASCRS without penalty should registrants choose not to attend the in-person Meeting. As such, there is no need to delay registering for the Meeting!
  • Should you wish to cancel your registration, we ask that you notify ASCRS for a full refund.
  • It will be your responsibility to cancel all travel arrangements including hotel and airline reservations. ASCRS is not responsible for refund of costs associated with travel.
 
We appreciate your attention to the foregoing practices designed to help us all enjoy a safe and successful meeting.
 
We are excited about the amazing scientific content at the Meeting, and even more excited to reconnect with friends and colleagues in person.
 
If you have any questions, please contact ASCRS Customer Service at (847) 607-6410 or via email at: [email protected]
 
Sincerely,
 
Thomas E. Read, MD, FACS, FASCRS
ASCRS President 2021-2022

Stop Physician Payment Cuts - Send a Letter to Your Representative Now

Congress must act before the end of the year, or patients will be harmed by significant cuts to surgical care. These cuts stem from both the sequestration and budget neutrality requirements in the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (PFS).

The Medicare PFS for calendar year 2022 proposed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will cut the Medicare conversion factor by 3.75%. Combined with the cuts stemming from the Budget Control Act (BCA) of 2010 and the Statutory Pay-As-You-Go (PAYGO) Act of 2010, the total cuts amount to nearly 9 percent.

Urge your legislative representative to stop physician payment cuts proposed for 2022 by sending them a letter now. The Surgical Care Coalition has made this easy with an online form and drafted language. Only by making your feelings known regarding the harm these cuts will do to patient care can we prevent these cuts. Thank you for protecting your patients and your practice.

TAKE ACTION

ASCRS Fellow Receives $100,000 Sherman Prize for Excellence in the Field of Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Fleshner_Headshot.jpegThe Bruce and Cynthia Sherman Charitable Foundation recently announced the recipients of the 2021 Sherman Prizes and Sherman Emerging Leader Prize, recognizing excellence in the field of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, also known as inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD).  Among the honorees is Dr. Phillip R. Fleshner, an ASCRS Fellow and IBD Committee Member.

Dr. Fleshner received a $100,000 Sherman Prize for his bold approach to research, challenging accepted conventions and establishing evidenced-based surgical best practices.  He was recognized as an outstanding surgeon who has created an entirely new field of study, Translational IBD Surgery Research.

Thanks to his research, patients are no longer treated with high-dose steroids before surgery, and they can skip nasogastric tube feeding and go straight to a regular diet after surgery – both tremendous advances in patient safety and comfort. Dr. Fleshner has also led the vast majority of research on the relationship between biologics and surgery, establishing best practices for their use in the surgical setting. His work has set the stage for using biomarkers to predict surgical outcomes, and by engaging nearly 2,000 patients to participate in research, Dr. Fleshner has developed significant biobanks of data that are helping researchers around the world in their quest for personalized treatments. A committed teacher and mentor, Dr. Fleshner has trained hundreds of surgeons, challenging the next generation of surgeon researchers to drive greater advances in patient care. 

Dr. Fleshner serves as the Shierley, Jesslyne, and Emmeline Widjaja Chair in Colorectal Surgery and Program Director, Colorectal Surgery Residency, at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA

Other Sherman Prize Honorees include: 

Judy H. Cho, MD, Dean and Ward-Coleman Professor of Translational Genetics, Director, Charles Bronfman Institute for Personalized Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY.  Dr. Cho received a $100,000 Sherman Prize for her pioneering IBD genetics research that has advanced understanding of the underlying causes of IBD and paved the way for personalized treatment approaches.

Edward L. Barnes, MD, MPH, Assistant Professor of Medicine and Associate Program Director, Gastroenterology and Hepatology Fellowship Program, UNC Department of Medicine’s Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, NC.  Dr. Barnes was awarded the $25,000 Sherman Emerging Leader Prize for applying his expertise in epidemiology and the study of “big data” to tackle one of the most difficult complications for ulcerative colitis patients – the development of pouchitis after J-pouch surgery.

“Today, thanks to the passion and perseverance of researchers and clinicians like Drs. Cho, Fleshner and Barnes, outcomes for people with IBD are so much better than they were when my father was first diagnosed with Crohn’s disease,” said Bruce Sherman, Founder of the Sherman Prize. “Cynthia and I have been inspired by these honorees as they represent the tremendous work being done along the bench-to-bedside continuum to create a healthier future for people with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. By championing excellence, we hope many others in the field see their achievements and are motivated to reach higher and work harder to improve IBD care and work toward cures.”

The 2021 Sherman Prize recipients are innovators and challengers of the status quo, representing diverse IBD sub-specialties and applying their unique talents to help patients coping with some of the most intractable challenges of these diseases. The Sherman Prize winners will be honored at the Advances in IBD conference in Orlando, Florida on Dec. 9, 2021.

“Across the field of IBD research and care there are thousands of IBD professionals striving to make life better for patients, and Drs. Cho, Fleshner and Barnes stand out as pioneers in this field,” said Dr. Dermot P.B. McGovern, Sherman Prize Selection Committee Chair and the Joshua L. and Lisa Z. Greer Endowed Chair in Inflammatory Bowel Disease Genetics at Cedars-Sinai. “Their commitment to improving outcomes and mentoring the next generation of physician scientists has undoubtedly impacted the lives of countless people with IBD today, as well as those who may be diagnosed tomorrow. On behalf of the Selection Committee, I’m thrilled to recognize these innovators and out-of-the box thinkers for their accomplishments and proud to stand with them as the field pushes ever forward to greater advances and hopefully, someday, cures.”

About the Sherman Prize
The Sherman Prize was founded in 2016 by the Bruce and Cynthia Sherman Charitable Foundation to honor innovators from a variety of professional disciplines who have dedicated their careers to the fight to overcome IBD and represent “Excellence in Crohn’s and Colitis” in their chosen endeavors. Every year, two $100,000 Sherman Prizes are awarded to IBD visionaries to recognize their exceptional and pioneering contributions that have transformed the care of people with IBD. A $25,000 Sherman Emerging Leader Prize is awarded to an IBD professional who, while early in her or his career, has contributed to an advancement and shows great promise for significant future contributions. Visit ShermanPrize.org to view the Honor Roll of Sherman Prize recipients, watch their inspiring short tribute films and sign up to receive notification of the 2022 nomination cycle.

ASCRS Seeks Applicants for Alternate Delegate Position for the American Medical Association (AMA) House of Delegates

The AMA House of Delegates (HOD) is the legislative and policy-making body of the AMA and includes State medical associations, national medical specialty societies, national societies, AMA sections, professional interest medical associations and federal services.
 
The American Society of Colon & Rectal Surgeons (ASCRS) holds 1 delegate and 1 alternate delegate seat in the House of Delegates (HOD) of the American Medical Association (AMA) and is currently seeking applicants for the alternate delegate position.
 
The ASCRS HOD seat(s) sits within the Section Council of Digestive Disease which includes delegates from ASCRS, SAGES, and other GI/Medical organizations who are “subject experts.”
 
The delegate and alternate delegate each serve a 3 year term, and the alternate delegate is expected to become the delegate after serving in the alternate role for 3 years (a total 6 year commitment).
 
Both the delegate and alternate delegate are expected to attend and participate in the Annual Meeting of the HOD which takes place in June of every year in Chicago and the Interim meeting of the AMA HOD which takes place in November of every year at varying locations throughout the U.S. Travel and lodging are sponsored by the ASCRS. At times, additional ad-hoc meetings may be called on an as-needed basis.
 
Additional responsibilities include a review of motions/proposals brought to the Section Council and the House of Delegates in preparation for the meetings. Participation in the Surgical Caucus held by the American College of Surgeons is also expected, although this is not a formal section of the AMA HOD. The delegate and alternate delegate will represent the interests of the ASCRS as a member to the AMA House of Delegates. They will also serve as members of the ASCRS Healthcare Economics Committee and will report periodically to that Committee with updates from the HOD that are pertinent to the ASCRS.
 
Delegate roles & responsibilities
 
The delegate role
Members of the AMA House of Delegates (HOD) serve as an important communications, policy and membership link between the AMA and grassroots physicians. The delegates and alternate delegates are a key source of information on activities, programs and policies of the AMA. The delegates and alternate delegates are also a direct contact for the individual member to communicate with and contribute to the formulation of AMA policy positions, the identification of situations that might be addressed through policy implementation efforts and the implementation of AMA policies.
 
Delegates and alternate delegates to the AMA are expected to foster a positive and useful two-way relationship between grassroots physicians and the AMA leadership.
 
To fulfill these roles, AMA delegates and alternate delegates are expected to make themselves readily accessible to individual members by providing the AMA with their addresses, telephone numbers and email so that the AMA can make the information accessible to individual members through the AMA website and through other communication mechanisms.
 
Qualifications to be a delegate
·       Be an AMA member
·       Elected or selected by the principal governing body or the membership of the sponsoring organization
·       At least 1 member of each delegation is encouraged to be involved in the governance of their sponsoring organization
 
Delegate responsibilities
·       Regularly communicate AMA policy, information, activities and programs to constituents so the delegate will be recognized as the representative of the AMA.
·       Relate constituent views and suggestions, particularly those related to the implementation of AMA policy positions, to the appropriate AMA leadership, governing body or executive staff.
·       Advocate constituent views within the HOD or other governance unit, including the executive staff.
·       Attend and report highlights of HOD meetings to constituents, for example, at hospital medical staff, county, state and specialty society meetings.
·       Serve as an advocate for patients to improve the health of the public and the health care system.
·       Cultivate promising leaders for all levels of organized medicine and help them gain leadership positions.
·       Actively recruit new AMA members and help retain current members.
·       Participate in the AMA Membership Outreach Program.
 
To Apply:
Send your cover letter and CV to the selection committee at [email protected] by July 16 and include “AMA Delegate” in the subject line.
 
To learn more about the AMA House of Delegates please visit the HOD website at:
https://www.ama-assn.org/house-delegates
https://www.ama-assn.org/house-delegates/hod-organization/delegate-roles-responsibilities
 
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