To better meet the needs of those Society for Vascular Surgery (SVS) members who practice in the community setting, the SVS has approved a proposal to evolve the SVS Community Practice Committee to a new Community Practice Section (SVSCPS).
The change provides more representation and opportunities than a committee with limited membership can, said Daniel McDevitt, MD, section chair. The new section integrates the existing Section on Outpatient & Office Vascular Care (SOOVC) as a subcommittee and brings together the whole of the community practice environment.
The Community Practice Section will be optimally positioned to further enhance SVS efforts in education, advocacy, quality practice, ethics, research and member value from a community practice perspective.
SVS traditionally was more focused on the specialty’s science, said McDevitt. However, time has brought changes not only to the Society itself but also to medical care and society in general: Today, more and more SVS members are delivering patient care in community settings, he said.
Community practitioners comprise a significant percentage of SVS membership, he said. Change has come quickly within the past five or so years, with a need to provide more programs and education for these members now deemed necessary.
The Community Practice Committee chair was named to the SVS Executive Board to directly represent those members’ interests. Webinars and sessions of interest at the Vascular Annual Meeting (VAM) have increased in number over the years. And with continuing need, SVS leadership embraced the idea of creating a separate section to help community surgeons meet some of the challenges they face.
“We have a lot of ideas as well as content,” said McDevitt. Many external factors create stress and affect members’ ability to practice, including scope-of-practice, billing and legal concerns; outpatient-based facilities; new employment models; [and] increasing workloads and decreasing reimbursements. “To address these concerns, we need a more robust level of membership engagement. It’s important to have the strong representation SVS provides to advance our cause.”
He cited last year’s advocacy to fight 7–10% Medicare reimbursement cuts: “SVS was front and center on that.”
Some of the Section’s first activities will take place at VAM. The Thursday afternoon of the conference features content devoted entirely to the clinical and business practices of the outpatient vascular lab. Saturday will feature a three-hour postgraduate course of great interest to community practitioners: “Emergency vascular care in the community hospital: What is safe and reasonable?”
During the Thursday session, the Section leaders also will present the Excellence in Community Service Awards for both 2020 and 2021. McDevitt praised Immediate Past SVS President Kim Hodgson, MD, and Ronald L. Dalman, MD, current SVS president, for their whole-hearted endorsement of the proposal. “We are really an inclusive society that represents surgeons in a variety of venues,” McDevitt said. “We all appreciate the Society embracing and representing the entire vascular community.”
Creating a membership section
Understanding the need and desire for groups of members with a common interest to find and engage with one another beyond the scope of committee work, in 2017 the SVS Executive Board established “Sections” as a new organizational model.
Any group of 40 members of the SVS with a common interest or discipline can petition to become an SVS section, and, if approved, provide “added value” for their cohort of members in a variety of ways. Since 2017, only two other sections have been formed—the PA Section in 2017 and SOOVC in 2019. SVSCPS becomes the third.