• Healthcare Economics Committee

    The Committee on Healthcare Economics of Acute Care Surgery was created in 2017 by President Rotondo to help guide the AAST membership and leadership on economic factors that relate to the practice of Acute Care Surgery. The economics of the practice of Acute Care Surgery is inherently tethered to the country’s overall healthcare economic landscape. In addition to macroeconomic trends, the financial viability of local practices is often dependent on shifting policies and reimbursement strategies. As US healthcare economics continue to evolve, it is in the interests of the AAST to stay in front of these trends, maintaining flexibility and ensuring we meet the needs of the population.


    In this way, the goal of the Healthcare Economics Committee is to support the larger objectives of the AAST. These objectives include:

    1. Grow the Acute Care Surgery mission by applying lessons learned in trauma to EGS with emphasis on horizontal integration to the AAST efforts of other committees
    2. Advance EGS, trauma, and SCC training to suit all practice models
    3. Collaborate with other US and international efforts to ensure financial viability of the ACS model
    4. Create reports and studies to inform the AAST membership
    5. Establish economic models for care delivery


    In the first year, the primary objective was the creation of a report, The Current and Future Economic State of Acute Care Surgery and the AAST. The report provides a background to the complex US healthcare environment and explores how current trends are affecting the ACS model of care. The report further examines threats and opportunities for ACS and concludes with a set of key priority areas for action by the American Association for the Surgery of Trauma. This report, which will be presented to the AAST membership at the 2018 Annual Meeting in San Diego, serves as the framework for ongoing Committee action. The committee also conducted research and concluded that the economic “footprint” of ACS is quite large—20 percent of acute inpatient hospitalization costs are associated with an acute care surgical diagnosis. This indicates that ACS and AAST leadership in economics is not just important, but necessary.

    February 2019 Update:

    The Healthcare Economics Committee was created to explore and inform the AAST on financial and economic matters that shape the future of acute care surgery. In its first year, the Committee drafted a report for the AAST Board of Managers. This report provided a background to the complex U.S. healthcare environment and explored how current local and national trends are affecting ACS models of care. It also identified areas where further research is required. In order to make these findings widely available to the AAST membership, an executive summary of the report will be available in the Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery, and two detailed segments will be available in the journal Trauma Surgery and Acute Care Open.


    The task at hand for the committee in the upcoming year will be to help to define the “value” of care provided by the acute care surgery community. The rationale is that if acute care surgeons do not take the lead in defining value, it will be done for us. To achieve such an understanding requires that we begin to capture important economic variables. The Committee is partnering with the Injury Assessment and Outcomes Committee to help develop these variables. Finally, the Economics Committee is partnering with the Geriatrics Committee to explore the concept of value in the growing population of older adults treated in U.S. trauma centers.

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