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Phoenix Annual Meeting draws 1,625 physicians, record total attendance of more than 2,700

Outgoing President Dr. Alan Thorson (right) enthusiastically congratulates his successor, Dr. Michael Stamos.
Members interested in purchasing copies of Annual Meeting photos are invited to use this link to our photographer's website,

The Society's 114th Annual Meeting, held April 27 – May 1, in Phoenix, Arizona, drew a record 1,625 physicians. Total meeting attendance exceeded 2,700. It was the largest ASCRS Annual Meeting attendance, except for tripartite meetings.

"It was a very successful meeting in every way," says Dr. Stephen M. Sentovich, Boston, MA, Annual Meeting Program Chair. "The hands-on courses were sold out and very well received. We had 25 excellent symposia. The most popular sessions included two colon and rectal cancer symposia, the inflammatory bowel disease symposium, and the worst cases symposium, with international experts," he adds.

Worst Cases: A Global Perspective followed a very popular 2012 Annual Meeting program that featured seven ASCRS past presidents questioning one another, as they offered senior management perspectives in a roundtable discussion of their "worst cases." For this year, course director and ASCRS immediate Past President Dr. Steven D. Wexner, Weston, FL, assembled an international cast for a similar exercise.

"We had great named lectureship talks that were both thoughtful and timely. It was all enhanced by a great venue space," says Dr. Sentovich.

The distinguished lineup of special lecturers included:

  • Glenn D. Steele, Jr., MD, PhD, President and Chief Executive Officer of Geisinger Health System, Danville, PA, and past Chairman of the American Board of Surgery.
  • Daniel P. Sulmasy, MD, PhD, Kilbride-Clinton Professor of Medicine and Divinity School and Associate Professor of the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics in the Department of Medicine, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL.
  • James M. Church, MBChB, Cleveland, OH, a longtime ASCRS member who holds the Victor W. Fazio Chair in Colorectal Surgery at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation. He is Director, Sanford R. Weiss MD Center for Hereditary Colorectal Neoplasia.
  • Anthony J. Senagore, MD, Los Angeles, CA, ASCRS Research Foundation President and ASCRS Past President, currently a member of the faculty at the Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA.
  • Barbara Lee Bass, MD, who holds the John F. and Carolyn Bookout Distinguished Endowed Chair, Department of Surgery, at the Methodist Hospital, Houston, TX.
  • Frederick L. Greene, MD, past chairman of the Department of General Surgery and past director of Surgical Education at the Carolinas Medical Center, Charlotte, NC, and Clinical Professor of Surgery, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Charlotte, NC.

The program placed a strong emphasis on practical knowledge to help surgeons run better practices, Dr. Sentovich emphasized.

A timely symposium on healthcare economics updated the audience on how healthcare will be structured and reimbursed in new ways using accountable care organizations (ACOs) and bundled payments. Another topical program was Practical Solutions to Improve Your Colon and Rectal Surgery Practice, directed by Dr. Sharon L. Stein, Cleveland, OH. It covered marketing a surgical practice, surgeon contracting, making the practice clinically efficient, adopting meaningful use of electronic health records, and using midlevel providers effectively.

Another very practical program was 2013 Ten Minute Updates: What You Really Need to Know, directed by Diseases of the Colon and Rectum Editor-in-Chief Dr. Robert D. Madoff, Minneapolis, MN. "Since outcome-directed research has continued at a fast pace, many surgeons may be unaware of new guidelines and how they should be incorporated into day-to-day practice," Dr. Madoff says. The program included new methods to improve abdominal and anorectal surgery pain control, how to improve quality in the endoscopy suite, new Maintenance of Certification (MOC) steps and requirements, and the new CREST program and how to use it.

A program sure to impact the practice's bottom line was How to Get Paid: Colon and Rectal Surgery Coding and Reimbursement. "Surgeons have a poor understanding of how codes are created and assigned value and a limited understanding of basic coding principles," warned course director Dr. James I. Merlino, Cleveland, OH. The expert faculty included Drs. David A. Margolin and Guy R. Orangio, both of New Orleans, LA, and David P. O'Brien, Portland, OR. "We hadn't done anything on coding of this scale and comprehensiveness for many years," says Dr. Sentovich.