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American College of Surgeons Issues New Health Care Reform Agenda, Emphasizes Need to Address Access, Surgical Workforce Shortage
Date:12/4/2008

d that: there are 50 percent fewer general surgeons today than there were 20 years ago (79 percent concerned); there are not enough qualified surgeons to staff emergency trauma centers across the country (89 percent); the number of medical students who become general surgeons has decreased 30 percent over the last 10 years (81 percent); and three-quarters of U.S. hospitals say they don't have enough specialty surgeons to treat their patients (86 percent).

To ensure the United States has a well-trained and available surgical workforce to meet patient needs, the College encourages lawmakers to create policies that:

  • Help eliminate disparities in surgical care by expanding the National Health Service Corps to include surgeons. The College believes that doing so will help increase public service and also assist surgeons with medical school debt.
  • Support and help fund a national health workforce database to identify areas with little or no access to surgical care.
  • Explore alternative methods for paying for health care to ensure the presence of an adequate and robust surgical workforce over time by working with the ACS to develop a demonstration program.
  • Reduce medical errors, improve safety, provide patients with higher quality care, and potentially reduce the incidence of medical liability cases by partnering with the College and the surgical community to test surgical and patient safety initiatives.

"It is our job to ensure that all Americans have access to innovative, high-quality, and affordable surgical care," said Thomas R. Russell, MD, FACS, ACS Executive Director. "Creating an environment in which all patients -- rural or urban, wealthy or poor -- have access to the surgical care they need must be an essential element of health care reform. We look forward to working with policymakers, patient advocates, and
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SOURCE American College of Surgeons
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