STS Comments on CMS Plan to Bundle Payments for Heart Bypass Surgery

Collaboration needed to produce meaningful Medicare payment reform

Statement from Joseph E. Bavaria, MD, President of The Society of Thoracic Surgeons

WASHINGTON, DC (July 26, 2016)The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has proposed the creation of new bundled payment models for patients who have a heart attack or undergo coronary artery bypass surgery.

The Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) has been a longtime advocate of the heart team, which facilitates better, more coordinated, patient-centered care. We urge CMS to work with STS and implement truly meaningful Medicare payment reform that emphasizes care quality and puts the Medicare beneficiary first.

By passing the landmark Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA), Congress is moving us away from fee-for-service medicine and toward a payment structure based on quality. We believe the STS National Database will be an important tool in helping to accomplish the goal of linking payment to quality, rather than volume.

The Adult Cardiac Surgery Database, a component of the STS National Database, is the world’s premier clinical registry for cardiac surgery. The Database, launched in 1989, houses more than 5.9 million surgical records and gathers information from more than 90% of the groups that perform cardiac surgery in the United States. Data from the Database facilitate nationwide quality improvement initiatives, robust public reporting via Consumer Reports, participant credit in U.S. News and World Report’s ranking of best hospitals, and help guide patients and their families as they make life-altering decisions.

We believe that the STS National Database could facilitate physician-led, quality-based payment reform in the way that Congress intended.

It is our hope that yesterday’s announcement will set the stage for collaborations between STS and CMS that will produce meaningful reform resulting in better care for our patients.


To speak with Dr. Bavaria, contact Jennifer Bagley, STS Media Relations Manager, at 312-202-5865 or media [at] sts [dot] org.

Founded in 1964, The Society of Thoracic Surgeons is a not-for-profit organization representing more than 7,200 cardiothoracic surgeons, researchers, and allied health care professionals worldwide who are dedicated to ensuring the best possible outcomes for surgeries of the heart, lung, and esophagus, as well as other surgical procedures within the chest. The Society’s mission is to enhance the ability of cardiothoracic surgeons to provide the highest quality patient care through education, research, and advocacy.