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SGO HPSE Discusses Virtual Fly-In Day and Grassroots Advocacy Work

News Article
Sep 1, 2021

September is Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month (GCAM) and members of SGO’s Health Policy and Socioeconomic Committee (HPSE) and SGO Ambassadors are gearing up for a month full of grassroots advocacy work. HPSE is comprised of four subcommittees that actively advocate on behalf of SGO members to align the ever-changing policy landscape with the society’s mission and strategic plan. This year’s priority advocacy areas are being addressed by HPSE subcommittees.  On Sept. 21, SGO Ambassadors and Patient Advocates will meet with Members of Congress during SGO’s Virtual Fly-in Day to discuss the following:

  • Continuing to increase funding for the Ovarian Cancer Research Program at the Department of Defense by $10 million, to a total of $45 million for FY 2022.
  • Increasing funding for gynecologic cancer research at the National Cancer Institute and inclusion of Endometrial cancer in the Congressionally-Directed Peer Reviewed Cancer Program at the Department of Defense
  • Gaining more co-sponsors for legislation that seeks to address resources needed to accelerate prevention, screening, and early detection of gynecologic cancers will be on their agenda
  • Stopping reductions of as much as 10 % to the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule for CY 2022 will also be discussed.

Be on the lookout for a member-wide Voter Voice campaign.

“HPSE volunteers are driven by an incredibly strong commitment to identify and implement ways to improve funding, access, delivery, and reimbursement of gynecologic cancer care,” said HPSE Committee co-chair Emily Ko, MD, MSCR. “Together with SGO governance and leadership, they have made some incredible strides not merely to strengthen current practice but to further grow the future of gynecologic cancer care.”

“We are constantly impressed by our volunteers’ individual expertise and collective strength, and so grateful for their time (outside of work)! For those who have a passion for advocacy and skills to share, we invite SGO members to please consider joining us,” said HPSE Committee co-chair Mark S. Shahin, MD, FACOG, FACS.


The Coding and Reimbursement Subcommittee represents the interests of gynecologic oncologists on regulatory issues that impact coding, billing, and reimbursement. Key projects include reviewing the annual Medicare Physician Fee Schedule, participating in the AMA/Specialty Society Relative Value Scale Update Committee (RUC) annual surveying process, and managing proposals for new and revised CPT and ICD codes. In monitoring and responding to policy changes, the Subcommittee coordinates with other medical specialty societies including ACOG’s Committee on Health Economics and Coding (CHEC). The Subcommittee also provides a wealth of member education through coding webinars, an annual coding course, and an online Q&A library. SGO has additionally supported a coding fellow position in order to ensure the creation and maintenance of future SGO experts in this subject.  The next webinar will be a Fall Coding Bootcamp for early-career physicians. Stay tuned for more information.


The Legislative and Regulatory Affairs Subcommittee monitors activities at the national level and communicates information to the appropriate HPSE Subcommittees. This group ensures that government policies are favorable to SGO members, determines SGO’s involvement in issue-specific coalitions, and supports Federal research funding for gynecologic cancers. Through SGO’s annual Fly-in Day and Voter Voice campaign, the Subcommittee engages SGO members and patient advocates in educating policymakers in support of programs that impact gynecologic oncology. The Subcommittee has already achieved considerable success this year with the House of Representative’s passage of a $10 million increase for the DoD Ovarian Cancer Research Program and inclusion of endometrial cancer as a research priority. Final approval from Congress will result in a historic $45 million funding level in FY22.


The Policy, Quality, and Outcomes Subcommittee educates SGO members about opportunities to participate in quality reporting programs, assumes a leadership role in defining indicators of quality care, and fosters the development of tools and expertise to advance the delivery of high-quality gynecologic care. Key projects this year include developing a protocol for members to access validated data from the Clinical Outcomes Registry (COR) and launching a COVID-19 Registry to study impacts of the pandemic on gynecologic oncology. The Subcommittee is also collaborating with the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer (CoC) to develop new quality measures on cervical, endometrial, and ovarian cancer. In addition to providing resources to SGO members, this group’s work drives continuous quality improvement and helps shed light on the value of referral to gynecologic oncology for improved patient outcomes.


The Future of Physician Payment Reform Subcommittee supports SGO members with the ongoing transition from a fee-for-service system to a value-based system and ensuring the delivery of high-quality and cost-effective gynecologic oncology care. The Subcommittee develops forward-thinking practice models for physician payment, such as the Endometrial Cancer Alternative Payment Model, and considers solutions to practice management issues that impact the care of people with gynecologic malignancies. As part of its effort to keep the SGO membership abreast of the latest payment reform initiatives, the Subcommittee recently published a Clinical Commentary on the Oncology Care Model (OCM) and also developed a comprehensive course on payment reform which is now available on SGO ConnectEd.


For questions about HPSE and information about how to contribute to these Subcommittee initiatives, please contact the appropriate SGO staff liaison listed below. All SGO members who are interested in serving as a committee volunteer are invited to apply during the annual Call for Volunteers


Health Policy and Socioeconomic Committee

Emily Ko, MD, Co-Chair
Mark Shahin, MD, Co-Chair


Legislative and Regulatory Affairs

Saketh Guntupalli, MD, Chair
Matthew Carlson, MD, Vice-Chair

Coding and Reimbursement

Mary Cunningham, MD, Co-Chair
David Holtz, MD, Co-Chair

SGO Staff Liaison: Traci Schwendner

Policy, Quality, and Outcomes

Summer Dewdney, MD, Chair
Rachel Clark-Sisodia, MD, Vice-Chair

Future of Physician Payment Reform

Leslie Boyd, MD, Chair
Margaret Liang, MD, Vice-Chair

SGO Staff Liaison: Jessica Oldham