Many factors influence the regulation of the healthcare profession in the United States. To address the complex challenges of healthcare regulation, the Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM) has evolved from a singular advocacy effort to a networked approach designed to leverage relationships to effectively address issues and improve the provision of critical care.
To this end, SCCM is part of a formal and ongoing partnership called the Critical Care Societies Collaborative (CCSC) (www.ccsconline.org), whose combined membership of nearly 200,000 has a stronger influence on regulators and legislators than would the membership of any one organization working alone.
In the CCSC, we address specific issues related to critical care. With formal representation to the American Medical Association (AMA) and the Council of Medical Specialty Societies, we work collaboratively to bring about positive changes to the broader regulatory system that effect a wide range of providers. When needed, we partner on specific issues with other like-minded professional societies and other entities to address specific challenges when we can present a common voice for both healthcare providers and patients.
SCCM also has direct representation to myriad U.S. government agencies such as the Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Society receives regular requests to appoint experts to a variety of technical panels and task forces to external entities in the healthcare sector that impact the provision of critical care. Additionally, the Society has formal representation to all medical specialty boards that certify U.S. physicians and other groups that are influential in healthcare regulation, such as the National Quality Forum. SCCM also employs a consultant firm to represent and advise the Society on matters related to the complex issues of billing and reimbursement. The Society has formal representation on the AMA/Specialty Society RVS Update Committee (RUC), which describes the resources required to provide physician services that in turn are used by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in developing relative value units (RVUs), which determine payment.
Finally, SCCM meets frequently with various government agencies to discuss issues that impact the provision of care to our patient population and to help these agencies understand how regulations they promulgate affect both providers and critically ill patients. During these meetings we also advocate for additional research funding to support advances in critical care. SCCM has regular representation to more than 50 organizations and government agencies. Activity from all these delegates is coordinated by SCCM staff to keep the elected leaders of the Society informed and to ensure that a consistent message is delivered by our many representatives who are working to advance SCCM’s broad agenda to improve care. The complex nature of U.S. medicine requires a long-term, multifactorial, networked approach to addressing the many issues that affect the provision of critical care. This is the new face of an effective advocacy effort.