FSCI Kicks Off with Statewide Meeting in Orlando

More than 200 people gathered in Orlando Feb. 3 for the Florida Surgical Care Initiative Statewide Kick-Off Event, sponsored by BlueCross Blue Shield of Florida. Participants heard from national and local surgical and quality leaders about the value of the FSCI method for quality improvement, which is based on the 20-year history of the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP), and how the program will place Florida’s hospitals on the leading edge of national quality efforts.

“We formed FSCI to set a national example for quality care, and show the nation and policymakers that here in Florida, we deliver high value care,” said Bruce Rueben, president of the Florida Hospital Association. “FSCI is the tool that can help us do that. FSCI will help prevent complications, save lives, improve care and reduce costs. That’s how we define value.”

FSCI’s four measures – SSI, UTI, colectomy and elderly surgery outcomes – were developed by ACS in partnership with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) as possible national outcome measures. Two of the measures were recently endorsed by the National Quality Forum (NQF).

“Through FSCI, Florida’s hospitals will have a valuable head start on working to improve in these key areas, before these measures are publically reported and tied to reimbursement,” Rueben told participants.

“FSCI is not just about making sure we’ve completed all the required processes. It’s about reviewing the care we’re providing, learning from those results, and making care better for our patients on an ongoing basis,” said Clifford Ko, MD, FACS, director of the ACS Division of Research and Optimal Patient Care. “Our hospitals will benefit, our surgical teams will benefit, and most importantly, our patients will benefit.”

Throughout the day, speakers highlighted FSCI goals, how data is collected and reported, and how the collaborative will work together to improve care throughout the state.

“We have the opportunity to lead in our state and in our nation to improve surgical care for our patients,” said Dr. Joseph Tepas, MD, FACS, ACS Board of Governors member and Professor of Surgery and Pediatrics at the University of Florida College of Medicine-Jacksonville. “We need to make the commitment to do better.”

“We need the best data, and then we need to put that data into action,” said Bruce Spurlock, MD, CEO of Convergence Health Consulting and a national expert on collaborative quality improvement. “The FSCI collaborative will allow you to share tools and best practices, learn new implementation strategies and network with others around the state. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel if someone already has a QI strategy that’s successful.”

In the coming months, Dr. Spurlock will continue to work with FSCI by leading the initial FSCI monthly collaborative calls.

Participants also heard from local ACS NSQIP participant Jillian Knight, surgical clinical reviewer at Baptist Hospital of Miami. The hospital has used its ACS NSQIP data to reduce general and vascular surgical site infections from 4.42% to 1.77%, and has achieved “exemplary” results on 17 ACS NSQIP measures. It has also achieved $4 million in savings annually since 2007 and its mortality rate is in the ACS NSQIP 90th percentile, resulting in hundreds of lives saved. Five hospitals in the Baptist Health South Florida system participate in the full ACS NSQIP and the sixth system hospital will join FSCI.

In the afternoon, breakout sessions and panel discussion allowed Surgeon Champions, Surgical Clinical Reviewers, quality improvement leaders and other leaders to learn more about the program, ask questions and begin networking with fellow participants around the state. Participants heard from Jennifer Ritz, RN, quality manager and former surgical clinical reviewer from Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Mich., and from Dr. John Morton, MD, FACS, surgeon at Stanford  University School of Medicine and national chair of the ACS NSQIP surgeon champions group.

The meeting marked the start of collaborative-wide activities. Following the meeting, collaborative conference calls will occur monthly. Please mark your calendars to participate in collaborative events beginning in March.

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Contact Information

  • Martha DeCastro, MS, RN, CIC
  • Vice President of Nursing
  • Florida Hospital Association
  • Email:
  • Tel: 850.222.9800
  • Gina M. Pope, RN, CNOR
  • Business Development Representative
  • ACS NSQIP
  • Email:
  • Tel: 312.202.5607