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‘Vascular surgery is an integral part of a complete healthcare system’

By Beth Bales and Bryan Kay

A new Society for Vascular Surgery (SVS) report highlights both the critical skills vascular surgeons provide to a healthcare system and the specialty’s benefit to an institution’s bottom line.

“The value of the modern vascular surgeon to the healthcare system: A report from the Society for Vascular Surgery Valuation Work Group” was published in the February issue of the Journal of Vascular Surgery. Vascular surgeons provide a unique mix of medical, open surgical and endovascular skills, and fulfill a vital role in the continuum of care of vascular patients, the report stated.

They are also critical to a safe operating room (OR) environment and often provide intraoperative consultations to surgeons of almost every surgical specialty, reported the authors, who were led by Richard Powell, MD, chief of the section of vascular surgery at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire.

The skills of vascular surgeons are needed in many nonsurgical situations, too: For example, as experts in wound care, they are frequently the de facto lower extremity wound care physicians.

“Vascular surgery is an integral part of a complete healthcare system,” according to Powell. “A multitude of specialties require vascular surgery assistance to perform complex procedures; but because vascular surgery is a relatively small specialty, the role and importance of the vascular surgeon in the healthcare system may be underestimated.”

Powell added: “The attributes of the vascular surgery practice are frequently invisible to hospital administration.”

The SVS Valuation Work Group evaluated the role of the modern vascular surgeon, vascular service line revenue, vascular surgeon contribution in different healthcare models, and how to hire and retain a vascular surgeon.

“The particular niche of vascular surgeons is the ability to combine both open and endovascular therapy into hybrid procedures that can take advantage of the unique opportunities that endovascular and open surgery provide,” the report stated. Without the presence of vascular surgeons on standby, some hospitals may decide it is not safe to offer certain interventions, the authors added. The Valuation Work Group found the financial impact of having vascular surgeons “substantial.”

SOURCE: DOI.ORG/10.1016/J. JVS.2020.05.056