American College of Surgeons
Southwestern Pennsylvania Chapter 

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  • April 11, 2018 11:07 AM | Jim Ireland

    On April 9th, the SWPA Chapter of the American College of Surgeons met at the LeMont Restaurant to consider interesting case presentations by surgical residents from area training programs.  Nineteen cases were submitted and the top five were selected for discussion at the event.  Johnathan Levy, MD (PGY-V) at AHN Allegheny General started the evening with an examination of “Delayed presentation of pyogenic liver abscesses after hemorrhoidectomy.” Kevin Yang, MD (PGY II) from UPMC Mercy presented “Multiply Injured Trauma Patient with a Partially Transected Innominate Artery.” Omar Hashmi, MD (PGY IV) from AHN Allegheny General spoke on “Extensive Neovaginal Squamous Cancer in a Transgender Female Presents as a Large Pelvic Mass.”  “Inside the Eleventh Hour with an Aortoesophageal Fistula” was presented by Jennifer Silvis, DO from Conemaugh Health System.  Pete Allen, MD (PGY-V) from UPMC Mercy was voted Most Interesting Case for his presentation on “A Case of descending mediastinitis from a dental infection.”  Congratulations to Dr. Allen and to all our presenters and special thanks to Dr. Sheri Mancini for moderating the evening’s event.

    Jonathan Levy, MD, Ari Reichstein, MD, Omar Hashmi, MD, Peter Allen, MD, and Stanislav Nosik, MDJonathan Levy, MD, Ari Reichstein, MD, Omar Hashmi, MD, Pete Allen, MD, and Stanislav Nosik, MD

  • March 05, 2018 2:18 PM | Jim Ireland

    Submissions now being accepted for the Most Interesting Case Presentations.

    Submission Guidelines

    The competition is open to all general surgery residents and surgical specialty residents. Medical students are not eligible. Having presented at the national level is not a disqualifier to submitting an abstract.

    Send two copies of each abstract to be presented (one blind copy with only the paper’s title for judging and one version with the principal author’s name, institution, phone, fax, and e-mail address) to the SW PA Chapter Office by Thursday, March 22th, 2018.  The abstracts will be reviewed with a number being selected for presentation at the April 9th event.  Each selected presenter will be notified shortly thereafter.

    Register to attend

  • February 14, 2018 11:49 AM | Jim Ireland

    Protect Your Medicare Payments
    Register Now to Attend 2018 ACS General Surgery Coding Workshop

    With Medicare and third-party payor policy and American Medical Association (AMA) Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) coding changes taking effect in 2018, it is imperative that surgeons and their practice coding and billing team have accurate and up-to-date information to protect reimbursement and optimize efficiency. To help surgeons succeed, the American College of Surgeons (ACS) has scheduled several general surgery coding workshops in 2018. 

    Participants in a coding workshop will not only learn how to correctly report surgical procedures and medical services, but will also have access to the tools necessary to succeed, including a coding workbook to keep for future reference that includes exercises, checklists, resource guides, templates, and examples. Physicians receive up to 6.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™ for each day of participation. In addition, each day of the workshop meets AAPC guidelines for 6.5 continuing education units.

    Register Today

    The remaining ACS coding workshops in 2018 are listed below:

    • Orlando, FL, February 22–23
    • Chicago, IL, April 12–13
    • New York, NY, May 17–19*
    • Nashville, TN, August 9–10
    • Chicago, IL, November 1–3*

    *The New York City and (November) Chicago workshops offer a third day devoted to trauma and critical care coding. 

    Thursday Course: Supercharge Your Reimbursement Skills
    At the end of this session, participants will be able to:

    • Select the correct category of code and level of service for E/M visits.
    • Appropriately assign modifiers to E/M visits.
    • Accurately code lesion excision and repair codes.
    • Describe the medical and surgical services that are and are not included in the global payment for surgery.
    • Assess and improve one key aspect of the revenue cycle function.
    • Implement strategies for collecting from patients with high deductible health plans. 

    Friday Course: 2018 Mastering General Surgery CPT Coding
    At the end of this session, participants will be able to:

    • Correctly code common general surgery procedures including breast, endoscopy, colorectal, bariatric, trauma, gall bladder, liver, hernia, and more.
    • Accurately use new and revised incompetent vein treatment codes.
    • Identify areas for improvement in surgical documentation.
    • Accurately apply modifiers when they are required and understand their impact on reimbursement.
    • Understand how to report and get paid for unlisted procedures.
    • Integrate 2018 CPT and HCPCS coding changes and guidelines into practice.

    Saturday Course: 2018 Intensive Trauma and Critical Care Coding - Only in New York City and (November) Chicago 
    At the end of this session, participants will be able to: 

    • Discuss how the pre, intra and post-operative component of trauma procedures are valued.
    • Understand the difference between co-surgeon and assistant surgeon in trauma.
    • Describe how surgical modifiers are used in trauma and how they impact payment.
    • Describe accurate coding of common surgical trauma scenarios.
    • Apply coding concepts to complex trauma surgeries, including multiple injuries and damage control surgery.
    • Apply modifiers to E/M and critical care services.
    • Identify scenarios when critical care coding is appropriate and when it is not.

    For more information about the 2018 ACS coding workshops, please visit the ACS website or e-mail

  • February 08, 2018 10:00 AM | Jim Ireland

    The American College of Surgeons (ACS) will host our seventh annual Leadership & Advocacy Summit, May 19–22 at the Renaissance Washington, DC Downtown Hotel. The Summit is a dual meeting offering comprehensive and specialized sessions that provide volunteer leaders and advocates with the skills and tools they need to be effective in their roles.

    Register Today

    Registration is now open! Register by Monday, April 23 to take advantage of the early bird rate!

     Register online

    Reasons to Attend in 2018

    Join more than 400 College leaders and ACS members for the 2018 ACS Leadership & Advocacy Summit. The Leadership portion of the meeting will include a full day of sessions devoted to building communication and strategic thinking skills for effective leadership in and out of the operating room. Topics for 2018 will focus on change management, leading in times of crisis, ethics in surgical leadership, fostering leadership skills in young surgeons and residents, managing complex and diverse teams, and getting the most from your team. In addition, a portion of the meeting will be dedicated to sharing ACS chapter success stories and working with you to identify strategies to help strengthen ACS chapters.

    The Advocacy portion of the meeting will provide you with the opportunity to hear more about legislative priorities the College is pursuing on your behalf, and will bring together ACS members to develop advocacy skills, learn about legislative and health policy priorities, and advocate in meetings with members of Congress and their staffs.

    General Schedule

    Saturday, May 19: ACS Committee Meetings and Leadership & Advocacy Summit Opening Reception

    Sunday, May 20: Leadership Summit Program and Advocacy Reception and Dinner

    Monday, May 21: Advocacy Summit Program

    Tuesday, May 22: Hill Visits

    Mark your calendars and plan to be in Washington, DC, to

    • Advocate to improve health care
    • Engage influential decision makers
    • Connect with ACS leaders and learn how to get involved
    • Lead discussions on innovative ways to face leadership and surgical challenges
    • Enhance your leadership skills by attending professional development sessions


    For information on the Leadership Summit, please contact Brian Frankel at or 312-202-5361.

    For information on the Advocacy Summit, please contact Michael Carmody at or 202-672-1511.

  • February 07, 2018 8:46 AM | Jim Ireland

    In the next two days, Congress will be considering legislation to continue to fund the government.  In the past 24 hours, we have learned that Congress intends to include some additional items in this legislation.  The ACS supports two of these items but is in opposition to another.  We strongly encourage you to review ACS’s letter circulated to all members of Congress earlier today.

    In brief, the three issues include:

    1. Flexibility for the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) related to how much weight will be ascribed to the cost component in an individual physician’s MIPS score as well as setting the level at which physicians will either receive a bonus or a cut.  This language, and the effort to include it, has been spearheaded and long championed by the ACS. ACS strongly supports the inclusion of these provisions in the larger legislation.
    2. Easing meaningful use (MU) requirements by removing an outdated requirement directing the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to continue to make meaningful use standards increasingly stringent over time.  Increasingly stringent MU requirements that do not lead to improvements in patient care are unnecessary and unfair to both patients and providers.  ACS supports this language.

    3. Continuation of the severely misguided policy relative to “Misvalued Codes” that will almost certainly result in broad, across the board cuts in Medicare physician payment. ACS opposes this language.

    We need your help in ensuring that all Senators and Representatives know the ACS’ position on these provisions.  Accordingly, we ask you to use the link below to send a message to your individual Senators and Representative, informing them that you support the ACS position.  

    Help Deliver ACS Message

  • September 01, 2017 3:40 PM | Jim Ireland

    The ACS Clinical Congress features outstanding education and training opportunities at the premier annual surgical meeting for surgeons, surgery residents, medical students, and members of surgical teams. The hallmarks of the Clinical Congress are a broad range of outstanding hands-on and didactic learning opportunities and timely discourse on the most relevant surgical practices and research, along with unparalleled access to peers.

    Who Should Attend and What’s Included?

    Registration is open to all physicians and individuals in the health care field and includes a name badge, program book, and entrance to the exhibits and all sessions, excluding Postgraduate Courses and Meet-the-Expert Sessions.*

    *The following sessions are included with your Clinical Congress registration and are not ticketed. Registering for these sessions does not guarantee seating within the course. Seating is provided on a first-come, first-served basis until the meeting room is full.

    • Named Lectures
    • Panel Sessions
    • Scientific Forum
    • Town Hall Meetings
    • Video-Based Education

  • May 17, 2016 3:25 PM | Jim Ireland

    The Southwestern Pennsylvania Chapter of the American College of Surgeons hosted its Presentation of Most Interesting Cases May 16th at The LeMont Restaurant in Pittsburgh, PA. Chapter President Christopher Bartels, MD, FACS, welcomed attendees and facilitated the evening’s presentations. Area surgical residents were invited to submit abstracts for consideration by the SWPA ACS Council. The Council selected the following cases to be presented at the event:

    • Glucagonoma Presentation and Treatment: Not Just an ABSITE Question, Rachel P. Tindall, MD, from Allegheny General Hospital, Allegheny Health System
    • Multiply Injured Trauma Patient with Inominate Artery Laceration, James Ackerman, MD, from University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Mercy
    • Portal Venous Anomaly Associated with Giant Intrahepatic Duodenal Diverticulum, Michael A. Archer, DO, from Allegheny General Hospital, Allegheny Health System
    • Primary Hepatoma and Primary Renal Cell CA with Portal Vein Thrombus, Mark Scaife, MD, from University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Mercy
    • Paradoxical Portal Anatomy in a Young Male with Hepatocellular Carcinoma, Ravi N. Ambani, MD, from Allegheny General Hospital, Allegheny Health System

    Following the presentations, Dr. Rachel P. Tindall was awarded Most Interesting Case and Dr. Michael A. Archer was selected as runner-up. Congratulations to Drs. Tindall and Archer. Special thanks to all of our presenters and the physicians who submitted their abstracts for consideration.

  • October 12, 2015 3:29 PM | Jim Ireland

    On Monday, October 12th, 2015 Christopher Bartels, MD, FACS, Chapter President-Elect, guided first and second year medical students through their first experience with surgical knot tying and suturing. Dr. Bartels was assisted by Katherine Kirk, MD, Patrick Varley, MD, and Paul Waltz, MD. Special thanks to Chelsea Meenan, class of 2018, for organizing the event.

  • May 15, 2015 3:36 PM | Jim Ireland

    Members of the Southwestern Pennsylvania Chapter of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) met in the Ohio Room in the Rivers Casino overlooking Three Rivers Point May 11. The chapter was hosting residents from local programs for the annual “Most Interesting Cases” for presentation and discussion with members.

    Residents from UPMC St. Margaret’s, UPMC Shadyside, UPMC Mercy, Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center and Allegheny Health Network (AHN) Allegheny General Hospital submitted a total of 17 abstracts which were reviewed by council, and from that number, six were selected for oral presentation at the May 11 meeting.

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