Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine receives national recognition

Drs. Norm Cohen and Austin Peters receive distinguished awards from the American Society of Anesthesiologists

October 24, 2017

Dr. Norm Cohen receiving the ASA Distinguished Service AwardTwo members of the Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine took home big honors from the American Society of Anesthesiologists meeting in Boston this week. Norman Cohen, M.D., professor of anesthesiology and perioperative medicine, OHSU School of Medicine, received the 2017 Distinguished Service Award in recognition of his exceptional contributions to the patient care and educational missions of ASA. The award is the highest honor ASA bestows and is presented annually to a member who has transformed the specialty of anesthesiology.

Austin Peters, M.D., resident in anesthesiology, was honored with the 2017 ASA resident research award. Dr. Peters is a CA-4 trainee whose research focuses on traumatic brain injuries; he is pursuing a master's degree in human research through the Oregon Scholars Program.

"I couldn't be more proud for Norm and Austin," said Jeffrey Kirsch, M.D., professor and chair of anesthesiology and perioperative medicine, OHSU School of Medicine. "ASA has approximately 50,000 members;to have two of our department physicians recognized is a huge honor and great recognition of the hard-working teams of OHSU anesthesiology."

Dr. Austin Peters receiving the ASA resident research award"I would like to thank Dr. Cohen for his tireless advocacy of local and national policies affecting physician anesthesiologists," said Jeffrey Plagenhoef, M.D., ASA president. "His efforts and passion have been monumental to transforming practice and payment models for our specialty."

Dr. Cohen is known for his deep knowledge of health care policy and his ability to understand how it affects the profession and academic health centers like OHSU. While taking part in advocacy efforts on behalf of the Society, Dr. Cohen frequently positioned himself as a leader with legislators, regulators and the press on a myriad of policy issues. Notably, his engagement with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and Congress led to improved physician payments to academic health centers across the country. 

ASA called Dr. Cohen's ability to understand and translate economics "unprecedented" and said it has led lay people and medical professionals alike to better understand and endorse appropriate payment for physician anesthesiologists. Within the American Medical Association's RVS Update Committee, his work as chair of the Evaluation and Management Review Committee resulted in more accurate payment for evaluation and management services and impacted medicine as a whole. Separately, Dr. Cohen helped convince the RUC and CMS that anesthesia services were undervalued by Medicare, resulting in a significant increase in the CMS conversion factor that's used for payment of anesthesia services.

Dr. Cohen has held leadership positions at OHSU and at ASA. In addition to his faculty role, he is medical director for clinical documentation and coding improvement at OHSU. His ASA leadership culminated with his role as vice president for professional affairs. He has also served as chair of the Committee on Economics, Committee on Future Models of Anesthesia Practice, and Section on Professional Practice as well as several ad hoc committees.

Pictured: (top) ASA President Dr. Plagenhoef presents the Distinguished Service Award to Dr. Cohen.

(bottom) Dr. Peters is shown on screen during the ASA conference receiving the resident research award.