Spring 2015  

President’s Message
As details of Annual Meeting come together, work of busy ASCRS committees continues

Dr. Terry HicksBy Terry C. Hicks, MD

The Annual ASCRS Meeting in Boston, May 31-June 3 is drawing nearer. Meeting Chair Dr. David Margolin and Vice-Chair Dr. David Vargas have put together a program that is well rounded, informative, and educational for everyone who attends. A new feature this year will be the New Technologies Symposium. This afternoon symposium will feature presentations on the latest technologic advances in colorectal surgery. Until now, there has been no platform for introducing emerging technologies to such a concentrated number of colorectal surgeons.

Among the highlights of this year’s program, is the “Medical Legal Symposium: How to Protect Yourself.” This symposium will provide the fundamentals needed to avoid having a medical malpractice claim filed against you. I want to thank the entire program committee for their hard work on what should be a tremendous program.

The ASCRS Executive Council has been meeting on a regular basis overseeing the work of the Society and its many active committees. The Council has approved new clinical guidelines: Ambulatory Anorectal Surgery, Treatment of Fecal Incontinence, Ostomy Surgery, and the Surveillance and Follow-Up of Patients with Colon and Rectal Cancer. These were prepared by the Clinical Practice Guidelines Committee (formerly known as Standards Committee) under the able leadership of Dr. Janice Rafferty.

Several new clinical guidelines are being finalized and will soon be ready. The Socioeconomic Committee led by Dr. Stephen Sentovich, with assistance from Dr. Guy Orangio, has produced a report on CPT coding changes important to colon and rectal surgeons that is included in this newsletter. Dr. Orangio’s report on the most recent meeting of the Relative Value Update Committee (RUC), with details on the government’s efforts to remove the global period for compensation, is also included here.

The Executive Council has finalized the contract with Springer for the third edition of the ASCRS textbook. It is expected to be published in 2016, with Dr. Scott Steele as lead editor. This textbook will continue to be the premier resource for diseases of the colon, rectum and anus.

The Council has selected Drs. Bradley Davis and Charles Whitlow to represent the ASCRS in a summit on quality initiatives in abdominal surgery and gastrointestinal endoscopy, slated for May in Washington, DC. They will participate with members from SAGES and other stakeholders such as CMS, Blue Cross/Blue Shield and IBM to develop quality metrics that can be tested, utilized and help decrease variability in healthcare outcomes.

The Website Committee has overseen the implementation of a new ASCRS website. This site offers better web access for members, physicians, and patients. Not only does this site have a responsive design, allowing individuals to view the website on multiple platforms, desktop, iPad, or smart phone, but it has increased imagery designed appropriately for patients as well as the practicing colorectal surgeon. These updates will enhance access to the Society’s online education programs such as CREST under the guidance of Dr. Scott Steele, and CARSEP under the direction of Dr. Matthew Mutch. Many thanks to Dr. David Margolin and the Committee for seeing this project through. It truly enhances the ASCSR web presence.

American College of Surgeons (ACS) President Dr. David Hoyt asked our Society to participate in a multi-society task force to improve perioperative patient care. We are working with the anesthesiologists and many specialty groups under ACS leadership on this important project. This collaborative effort has been labeled “The Peri Operative Home.” The Council has selected Dr. Anthony Senagore as the ASCRS representative to this forum

Several Society members have been selected to participate in public information videos that aired on CBS television during the NCAA Basketball Tournament last month. These public announcements addressed the importance of screening and treatment for colorectal cancer.

One of the privileges of serving as ASCRS President is the opportunity to represent the Society on many platforms. At last year’s Tripartite meeting in Birmingham, England I had the honor of giving the inaugural Patrick Hanley lectureship. I spoke on the past, present and future of training colorectal surgeons in the United States. “Many international educators came to the conclusion that we are challenged to adequately train our colorectal surgical fellows because of societal changes, regulatory challenges and ever expanding information base.” The result: surgical fellows have more to learn and less time to do it.

It’s imperative that we work together as a specialty to ensure that our trainees attain the highest surgical training. The Society, in collaboration with the APDCRS and ACGME, will have to continue to progress competency-based training as opposed to a one-size fits all length of training. Milestones and technical competency assessment are being developed and refined to accomplish this goal.

I look forward to seeing everyone in Boston.

Copyright © 2015 American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons, All rights reserved.