SVS Response to ProPublica Article

May 26, 2023

The Society for Vascular Surgery (SVS) is dedicated to supporting and developing the best science, education, standards and guidelines that clarify and define quality of care in vascular surgery. The SVS Mission and its Code of Ethics are focused on doing what is best and appropriate for the care of our vascular patients across practice settings, regardless of the challenges created by our struggling healthcare delivery system and regulatory healthcare policies.

The overwhelming majority of SVS members are board-certified vascular surgeons dedicated to practicing these principles every day. Unfortunately, as in all professions there are a small number of outliers who stretch scientific or ethical boundaries and deviate from best science or practice.  Those actions may unfortunately lead to patient harm. The SVS encourages and educates all members and trainees to practice at the highest standards.  SVS has a long history of setting standards of care and excellence.  It achieves this through development and publication of evidence-based guidelines, promoting continuous quality improvement through participation in the SVS Patient Safety Organization’s (PSO) Real-World Evidence Registry, the Vascular Quality Initiative (VQI), and most recently, the American College of Surgeons (ACS) and SVS launched in March 2023, its Vascular Verification Program (VVP) ( This program defines the standards of excellence in vascular care and provides a peer-review program to stimulate continuous quality improvement.  Its foundational components include the six domains of quality—safety, effectiveness, timeliness, efficiency, equity, and patient centeredness.

The Inpatient VVP is now available, with the Outpatient Program to be launched very soon.  By participating in these initiatives vascular surgeons and members of the vascular team send a clear signal to the public, and to their professional colleagues, that they practice in adherence to the highest quality standards and are striving always to improve outcomes.

It is essential that SVS and other medical societies, and regulatory bodies, focus on identifying and addressing the small number of individuals practicing well outside evidence-based boundaries, but not penalize or demoralize the thousands of ethical practitioners who are serving their patients’ needs appropriately each and every day. These are the providers who should be championed, continually encouraged, and appropriately incented, for providing safe and effective care in their communities.

Regarding the individual in the ProPublica article cited as a vascular surgeon, SVS can verify that this individual has never been a member of the SVS, nor of the ACS, and is not certified as a surgeon, or vascular surgeon, by the American Board of Surgery or Vascular Surgery Board.  The SVS does have a process whereby members who are reported to be practicing in a harmful or unethical manner can be evaluated and potentially sanctioned by the organization.  With regard to the practice behavior of this individual, SVS relies on the regulatory authorities – federal, state and local – and the legal system, to address specific evidence and render fair judgment in accordance with the law and regulatory practices. The SVS is not privy to all pertinent evidence regarding individual cases and so unable to provide specific comment.  

SVS will continue to pursue and accelerate its efforts to enable quality and safety for vascular patient care through its published guidelines, appropriate care documents, PSO-VQI Registry, and Initiatives such as the Vascular Verification Program.  All practitioners in vascular practice are encouraged to take the opportunity to utilize them.

SVS encourages patients to check and verify the credentials of their providers before agreeing to a plan of vascular care.  In their efforts to cover health news SVS also urges media professionals to be diligent in presenting health or medical information that is fully balanced, as coverage could lead to patients delaying necessary care with potentially adverse consequences.  

Reference: In the “Wild West” of Outpatient Vascular Care, Doctors Can Reap Huge Payments as Patients Risk Life and Limb ProPublica, May 2023

About the Society for Vascular Surgery

The Society for Vascular Surgery® (SVS) seeks to advance excellence and innovation in vascular health through education, advocacy, research and public awareness. The organization was founded in 1946 and currently has a membership of more than 6,000. SVS membership is recognized in the vascular community as a mark of professional achievement.

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