Statement on Scope of Practice and Credentialing

General Surgery is a comprehensive discipline that encompasses knowledge and experience common to all surgical specialties. The General Surgeon Specialist has primary responsibility and expertise in the areas of the abdomen and its entire contents, breast, head and neck, vascular system, endocrine system, oncology, trauma and critical care. The General Surgeon Specialist has the experience and training to manage common problems in plastic, thoracic, pediatric, gynecologic, urologic, neurologic and orthopedic surgery. The General Surgeon Specialist has the training, competence and qualifications to perform a wide range of diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, including endoscopy. Education, training and documented experience are the paramount factors in determining the qualification of an individual surgeon to perform specific procedures. When qualified General Surgeon Specialists apply their skills and qualifications to the treatment of surgical problems, they best serve patients’ interests.

Credentialing criteria for General Surgeon Specialists that grant privileges for a surgical procedure or that restrict their scope of practice should reflect training, quality of practice and experience rather than economic considerations. The ASGS advocates the granting of privileges for a surgical procedure based on a surgeon’s experience, education and training. Disagreements over credentialing necessitate independent review by unbiased non economically motivated outside consultants. The ASGS can assist in reviewing surgeons’ qualifications. It is important for practicing surgeons to evaluate and determine appropriate applications for new technology related to their surgical practice.

For reasons of both economics and quality of patient care, it is of paramount importance that new technology, equipment and procedures be presented promptly to practicing General Surgeon Specialists for their evaluation and application to their surgical practices. As major providers of surgical care in this country, General Surgeon Specialists are the patients’ major advocates regarding surgical care.

Approved by ASGS Board of Trustees
December 9, 1996