Master Surgeon in Thoracic Surgery

The Master Surgeon in Thoracic Surgery (MSTS) program is focused on improving the safety and quality of thoracic patient care worldwide and lowering the overall costs associated with successful treatment. Data from MSTS participants will be used to determine which treatment works best for which patient under what circumstances. This information enables clinicians, patients, payors and policymakers to make informed decisions that improve healthcare at the individual level and for the patient population as a whole. The MSTS program helps position thoracic surgeons at the forefront of care and demonstrate the improved outcomes and cost savings that result from a quality initiative.

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Program Requirements

1: Surgical Experience

The applicant has served as the primary surgeon for at least 200 thoracic surgery procedures in their lifetime and performs at least 150 procedures annually.

Procedures performed at any facility may be used toward volume. Surgeons must have served as the primary surgeon for a procedure to qualify. If the surgeon’s role as primary surgeon has been properly documented, procedures performed during fellowship or residency may qualify. Cases in which the surgeon served as co-surgeon or assisting surgeon do not qualify.

Each procedure used for volume must be thoroughly documented to enable a medical chart review. Volume waivers may be approved in some circumstances.

Procedures that do not qualify include: 

  • Diagnostic procedures 
  • Biopsies 

2: Equipment and Instruments

The applicant performs thoracic surgery in a facility that has a full line of equipment and surgical instruments to provide appropriate perioperative care for their patients. The applicant’s facility has documented training for appropriate staff in the safe operation of this equipment.

3: Surgeon Dedication

The applicant spends a significant portion of their effort in the field of thoracic surgery and has active, full privileges in thoracic surgery at the facility participating in their inspection.

The applicant is board-certified or an active candidate for board certification in thoracic surgery by the highest certifying authority available.

The applicant completes at least 24 hours of continuing medical education (CME) focused on thoracic surgery every three years. Only American Medical Association Physician’s Recognition Award Category 1 Credits or similar credits from a CME accrediting body outside the United States or three national or international meetings qualify.

4: Clinical Pathways and Standardized Operating Procedures

The applicant formally develops and implements clinical pathways that facilitate the standardization of perioperative care for thoracic surgery procedures. The following pathways are required: 

  1. Anesthesia, including monitoring and airway management 
  2. Perioperative care, including monitoring, pain management and airway management 
  3. Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) prevention and management 
  4. Instructions for identification, evaluation and management of early warning signs of complications. 
  5. Preoperative patient preparation, evaluation, patient education, consent and plan of action for discharge that includes follow-up and any necessary patient education 
  6. Preoperative multidisciplinary evaluation, education, preparation, admission workup/evaluation and informed consent of the patient 
  7. Preoperative pulmonary preparation and long-term postoperative pulmonary patient rehabilitation 
  8. Smoking cessation education and support 

 The first three pathways will be deemed satisfied if the facility undergoing the site inspection has accreditation from The Joint Commission (formerly known as JCAHO), DNV-GL or an equivalent healthcare organization approved by SRC.

Each applicant surgeon performs each surgical procedure in a standardized manner as allowed by variations in operative circumstances.

Each applicant surgeon uses a template for operative note dictation that ensures proper collection of data for surgical procedures. 

5: Surgical Team and Support Staff

The applicant has nurses and/or physician extenders who provide education and care to patients. The applicant performs thoracic surgery in a facility that has an operative team trained to care for thoracic surgery patients.

The applicant ensures appropriate staff are provided with ongoing, regularly scheduled staff education in-services to ensure they have a basic understanding of thoracic surgery and the appropriate management of the thoracic surgery patient. In-service topics must include: 

  • Signs and symptoms of common postoperative  complications 
  • Equipment and surgical instruments 
  • Clinical pathways 

6: Patient Education

The applicant must provide all thoracic surgery patients with comprehensive preoperative patient education.

The applicant must also have a process for obtaining informed surgical consent and selecting procedures that are most appropriate for each patient’s condition.

7: Continuous Quality Assessment

The applicant must collect prospective outcomes data on all patients who undergo thoracic surgery procedures in SRC’s Outcomes Database (or a similar qualifying database) in a manner consistent with applicable patient privacy and confidentiality regulations. This de-identified data must be available to SRC for initial and renewal inspections or upon request.

Program Fees

Initial Fees

Application Fee: $1,650 USD

  • Discounts may be available for surgeons that participate in multiple accreditation programs. Contact SRC for details.
  • Upon payment of application fees, applicants achieve Provisional Status and gain access to SRC’s Outcomes Database at no additional charge.

Site Inspection Fees

Virtual Site Inspection: $1,175 USD

  • Inspections for Master Surgeon accreditations are not performed on site at the surgeon’s location. Instead, materials are sent to SRC and the inspection is performed “virtually” saving the surgeon time and money.
  • If the virtual inspection concludes that an on-site inspection is required, additional fees will be charged.
  • Renewal inspections are required every three years to ensure ongoing program compliance.

Recurring Fees

Annual Fee: $1,650 USD

  • Annual participation fees will be billed one year after applicants achieve Provisional Status and each year thereafter.

Fees are subject to change without notice and are not refundable. Payment of required fees does not guarantee accreditation.