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ABIM Announces New Option for MOC Assessment Starting January 2018

The American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) has announced plans to offer a new Maintenance of Certification (MOC) assessment option beginning in January 2018.

Under the new option, physicians who “engage in and perform well” on shorter assessments would have the option to test out of the current 10-year exam. The 10-year exam, however, will also remain available as a second option. According to ABIM, this new option will be available for physicians maintaining certification in internal medicine, and, possibly, one or two subspecialties starting in January 2018. Based on feedback from these early adopters, ABIM expects to make this option available to additional subspecialties as quickly as possible over subsequent program cycles.

Finding an alternative to the 10-year examination has been one of the top MOC goals of the ACC and the rest of the internal medicine community. It was also one of the primary recommendations of the Assessment 2020 Task Force last year. “MOC continues to rank among the top concerns of our internal medicine members, with the 10-year examination being the largest obstacle,” says ACC President Richard A. Chazal, MD, FACC. “We applaud ABIM’s move in the direction of more flexibility in MOC requirements; however, we will need more details to see how it aligns with the ACC’s proposal.”

The ABIM expects to provide more specific details about what the alternative assessment option will look like no later than Dec. 31, 2016. In the meantime, physicians with certifications that expire before the new assessment option is offered in their specialty will still need to take and pass the 10-year exam in order to maintain their certification.

“The ACC remains highly sensitive to the urgency felt by our members who are approaching the 10-year examination requirement,” says Chazal. “While all of us would prefer a rapid solution to this issue, we do understand the need to get this right.”

According to Chazal, the College will continue to work with ABIM on the details of the rollout. The College has advocated for focused assessments or reevaluations of cognitive skills, similar to the “SAP” model, with the 2016 ACC Lifelong learning Clinical Competencies as the basis of this assessment. Additionally, the ACC has suggested an open-book format for those members choosing to take the 10-year exam. The ACC also continues to advocate for research, working with the internal medicine community, to test the outcome of MOC activities on the actual improvement in patient care and outcomes.

For more MOC information, visit the MOC Hub at ACC.org/MOC. For those active on Twitter, here are some sample Tweets for you to use:

ACC Communication Tactics:

ABIM Eliminates 'Double Jeopardy' MOC Requirement

In response to input provided by the ACC and other cardiology specialty societies (SCAI, HRS and HFSA) around the American Board of Internal Medicine’s (ABIM’s) new requirements for Maintenance of Certification (MOC), the ABIM today announced it is eliminating the requirement to maintain underlying certification in a foundational discipline in order to remain certified in a subspecialty. For cardiology, this means that those specializing in interventional, electrophysiology, adult congenital and advanced heart failure will no longer need to pass both the general cardiology and sub-specialty boards. Click here to read more.

Kentucky Pushes for Smoke Free-Legislation

If passed, this bill will prohibit smoking in all indoor public places and workplaces. Click here to read more.

ACC International Exchange

In an effort to facilitate international exchange for Cardiovascular Professionals, the Early Career Professional Council (ECPC) has developed an on-line resource for those interested in pursuing opportunities abroad. This tool is meant for use throughout the college and is a member benefit for all.

Please visit the ACC International Exchange page at http://www.cardiosource.org/intex.  A list of sites and contacts for those offering exchange programs are available, organized by country, as well as resources for planning and managing the logistics of work-related international travel. This site will be frequently updated.

CGS Medicare (OH and KY) Incorrectly Denies In-Office SPECT-MPI Tests, Working on Fix

Your ACC has confirmed with CGS Medicare, Part B contractor for Ohio and Kentucky, that the payer incorrectly denied SPECT-MPI claims with a place of service (POS) of 11-Office since May 1, 2014. CGS has identified the error and is currently working to correct it.  The affected nuclear cardiology claims were denied with EOB reason code CO-58 - Treatment was deemed by the payer to have been rendered in an inappropriate or invalid place of service. CGS will provide corrective instructions to all providers impacted by the error.  It should only apply to the physician office setting and not to hospital based providers. The ACC is strongly encouraging office-based providers to review their SPECT-MPI claims for the denial code (CO-58) to ensure the affected claims are properly reimbursed. Once the claims processing error is fixed, we will share the corrective instructions.

ACC News You Can Use

April 2016

Overarching ACC News/Publications

JACC Leadership Page: A Call to Action in Changing Times
In a recent Leadership Page published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC), ACC President Richard A. Chazal, MD, FACC, discusses the recent changes and developments in the field of cardiac care. He discusses not only advancements in diagnostics and treatment, but also in the way medical professionals learn, communicate and function. The College itself has seen a growing number of hospitals and practices joining the NCDR and the majority of submissions to JACC come from outside of the U.S. On top of all of this, the Medicare and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) may have huge effects on our health care system. “I challenge ALL of us to meet these changes—and the challenges and opportunities they present—head on,” Chazal writes. “We cannot make them go away. We are unable to go back to a ‘simpler time.’ We can only decide how we choose to respond.” Read more.

JACC Leadership Page: Paying For Value
In a recent Leadership Page published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC), Matthew Phillips, MD, FACC, governor of the Texas Chapter of the ACC, discusses the effects that the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) will have on health care quality. Phillips notes that the College is already committed to tracking data through initiatives such as NCDR, and making sure “technology is meeting its potential” through accreditation programs, such as the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care, ACC’s new accreditation arm. “The initial metrics will likely be very basic until new measures that accurately capture the complexity of patient care and outcomes can be developed. In the end, however, if MACRA results in an ongoing systematic review of the care we provide in any setting, my guess is that the results will be very helpful and interesting … we will still be providing quality care. The difference now is that we will finally be able to prove it,” he writes. Read more. Also visit the MACRA Information Hub on ACC.org.

Latest Issue of CardioSource WorldNews Examines Depression, Diabetes, & Obesity
The cover story of the latest issue of CardioSource WorldNews examines how depression, diabetes and obesity affect patients with heart disease and why they shouldn’t be ignored. In this month’s Editor’s Corner, Alfred A. Bove, MD, PhD, MACC, discusses the importance of patient-centered care and the team based approach in encouraging healthy behaviors and medication adherence in patients. The In Focus feature highlights the ADAPTABLE trial, which will leverage electronic health records from PCORnet to compare the effects of low dose and regular strength aspirin. Additional highlights from the issue include CRT utilization in ICD patients and the effects of the environment on cardiovascular health. See the full issue at ACC.org/CSWN.

Top Science and Quality News

Statement Calls For More Inclusion of Older Patients in CV Clinical Trials
There is a critical need for more large, population-based studies and clinical trials that include adults older than 75 years with complex comorbidities and other issues, according to a scientific statement released April 11 by the ACC, in conjunction with the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American Geriatrics Society, and published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. “The incidence and prevalence of most cardiovascular disorders increase with age, and cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death and major disability in adults ≥75 years of age,” the statement’s authors explain, “however … patients aged ≥75 have been markedly underrepresented in most major cardiovascular trials.” Read more on ACC.org. View a CardioSource WorldNews video interview with statement author Michael W. Rich, MD, FACC, for more information.

ACC Leading Efforts to Improve Care for VHD Patients
Truly a transformative technology, transcatheter valve therapies (TVT) have provided unprecedented benefit to a host of patients with valvular heart disease (VHD) not amenable to or at high risk for surgical treatment, extending and improving their daily lives. Another transformation is now underway: a reinvigorated view of the management of VHD spurred by the potential capacity of TVT to treat a broader range of patients. Yet, challenges identifying and managing patients with VHD could limit these emerging technologies from reaching all who may potentially benefit. In the United States, some 1.5 million people have moderate or severe aortic stenosis (AS) and approximately 4 million people have significant mitral regurgitation (MR). Against this background, the American College of Cardiology (ACC) is leading efforts to improve patient care and outcomes by identifying gaps in knowledge and care in evaluating and managing VHD, developing tools and resources, particularly at the point of care, to address identified shortcomings and determine priorities for future initiatives. Partnerships with key societies and stakeholders are also moving forward to address these objectives. Read more in CardioSource WorldNews: Interventions.

Consensus Statement Offers Guidance on Preventing Sudden Cardiac Death in Athletes
A new consensus statement, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, establishes guidance for conducting pre-participation screenings of college athletes and encourages emergency action plans for quickly responding to sudden cardiac arrest. The statement was developed by a 29-person task force convened by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) in September 2014 that included multidisciplinary physician specialists and athletic trainers representing national sports and medical associations, including the ACC. The NCAA currently requires every student-athlete to undergo a pre-participation evaluation that is conducted by a physician or doctor of osteopathic medicine prior to participation in any NCAA sport. The ACC and the American Heart Association (AHA) both recommend taking an athlete’s family history using the AHA’s 14-point questionnaire and conducting a physical examination to determine the athlete’s risk of cardiovascular disease before the athlete participates in sports. Read more on ACC.org.

Bystander CPR, AED Training Associated With Improved Cardiac Arrest Outcomes
Statewide initiatives to improve bystander cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and first-responder defibrillation may be associated with improved survival and reduced brain injury in people with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, according to research published March 23 and presented at ACC.16 in Chicago. Results showed that the proportion of patients receiving bystander CPR increased at home from 28.3 percent to 41.3 percent and in public locations from 61.0 percent to 70.6 percent. “There were three lessons from our study,” said James Jollis, MD, FACC, co-author of the study and immediate past president of ACC’s North Carolina Chapter. “First, patients who suffer out-of-hospital characteristics share the same demographics as our cardiology patients. As part of discharge discussions with patients, we should be sure that they and their families know how to recognize and respond to cardiac arrest: check, call and compress. Second, the best emergency systems have strong cardiology leadership and pre-specified plans for patients who survive cardiac arrest to hospital admission including who to urgently take to the catheterization laboratory. Thirdly, the cardiology community should support the widespread training of chest compression-only CPR to all employees of health systems, interested community groups, and high school students as part of a standard heart health curriculum.” Read more on ACC.org.

New PCI Bleeding Risk Checklist Now Available
The ACC has released a Percutaneous Coronary Intervention(PCI) Bleeding Risk Checklist designed to inform physicians and the cardiovascular care team about common problems and possible solutions to reduce the risk of bleeding complications after PCI procedures. The clinical care team can utilize this checklist during point of care and/or as a reference material during an educational conference relating to bleeding complications. The checklist facilitates consistent risk assessment and communication between a physician and patient undergoing a PCI procedure. The checklist is the first tool in a new PCI Bleeding Risk Toolkit available through Quality Improvement for Institutions. Stay tuned for the release of additional tools to reduce PCI bleeding risk. Download the checklist here.

Top Advocacy and Health Policy News

Congressional Subcommittee Hears Clinician Perspectives on MACRA; ACC Submits Statement
This week, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health held a hearing to examine the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) of 2015 and efforts of clinicians to prepare for the new Medicare payment system. The importance of putting electronic health records (EHRs) at the center of the new system was stressed throughout the hearing. Several clinicians emphasized that meaningful data and EHR interoperability are key to improving care and must be core components of MACRA. It was also made clear that specialists and primary care providers must work together to treat populations of patients instead of practicing in silos. Ahead of the hearing, the ACC submitted a statement for the record highlighting its efforts to educate the cardiovascular care team on the transition to new initiatives under MACRA, and underscoring its recommendations to CMS as part of the agency’s request for information. Read more.

New Legislation Proposes Shortened Reporting Period For Meaningful Use
On April 20, Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Michael Bennet (D-CO), along with Reps. Renee Ellmers (R-NC), Tom Price, MD (R-GA), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Ron Kind (D-WI), Bobby Rush (D-IL), and Doris Matsui (D-CA) introduced S. 2822/H.R. 5001, the Flexibility in Electronic Health Record (EHR) Reporting Act [PDF]. ACC Advocacy was instrumental in securing the lead cosponsors for this bipartisan, bicameral legislation, which would shorten the EHR Incentive Program (Meaningful Use) reporting period from one year to 90 days in 2016, as it was in 2014 and 2015. Read more.

CMS Releases 2017 Inpatient Proposed Rule
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on April 18 released the 2017 Inpatient Prospective Payment System proposed rule. Of note, there will be a 0.9 percent increase in payments to hospitals successfully participating in the Hospital Inpatient Quality Reporting and Electronic Health Record programs. This increase includes an offset for previous reductions related to the two-midnight rule in 2014, 2015 and 2016. In 2017, coronary artery bypass grafting will be added to the Hospital Readmission Reduction Program. To implement the Notice of Observation Treatment and Implication for Care Eligibility Act, hospitals must begin notifying patients who receive observation services as outpatients for more than 24 hours. There is also a proposal to add condition-specific payment measures for acute myocardial infarction and heart failure in the value-based purchasing program starting in 2021. The ACC is reviewing the rule and will provide additional details in the coming weeks. The College will submit comments to CMS by June 17.

Changing the Conversation: A Unique Approach to Legislative Practice Visits
In a recent post on the ACC in Touch Blog, Edward J. Toggart, MD, FACC, governor of ACC's Oregon Chapter, discusses his unique approach to a practice visit with Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR). "[Rep. Schrader and I] went straight to my office ... I told him this meeting was all about him. I was there to answer his questions, which actually touched on all of the hot-button issues for cardiology. Some of these included my feelings on the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) and my thoughts on the Meaningful Use electronic health record program. I think this strategy worked very well for this meeting and I felt like we made a meaningful connection." Read more about Toggart's practice visit. To set up a legislator visit, contact Kelly Memphis (state) at kmemphis@acc.org or Elizabeth Shaw (federal) at eshaw@acc.org.

STEMI Care in Illinois
In collaboration with the ACC Illinois Chapter, both Jay Alexander, MD, FACC, governor of the ACC Illinois Chapter, and Kim Allan Williams Sr., MD, MACC, past president of the ACC, sent letters opposing Illinois' H.B. 5620, which would create oversight of ST-elevated myocardial infarction systems of care. According to the letters, the College "has [previously] warned against policies that prescribe or mandate care, especially through public policy measures." Further, both add that "concerned that many of the bill's requirements come with high unforeseen costs and uncertain benefits, such as the provision for a registry fund, accreditation requirements and the establishment of new committees who will establish protocols." ACC State Advocacy will keep members updated on the movement of this bill. While the College opposes legislative mandates, it is committed to improving STEMI care through sound use of data registries and examining best practices in states nationwide.

Top Membership News

Is Your ACC Member Profile Up-To-Date?
The ACC wants to make sure it's sending members only the most relevant information. To that end, the College is encouraging all members to update their ACC profile, including contact information, specialty areas, clinical interest areas and practice information. Don’t miss out on the latest cardiovascular research, new clinical guidelines, advocacy updates, ACC news and member benefits. Update your profile online at ACC.org/MyProfile.

Post-ACC16 Education Details

Claim Your Credit from ACC.16
Don't forget to claim your credit or certificate of participation for ACC.16. Click here to access the Credit System, and review the instructions and frequently asked questions for more information. The deadlines for claiming certificates are:

  • CPE Certificate: May 2, 2016 at 5:00 p.m. ET
  • ECME Certificate: July 5, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. ET
  • CME/CNE Certificate and Certificate of Participation: October 4, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. ET

If you are not already logged in, you will need to enter your ACC username and password. If you need assistance, you may contact the Resource Center by email at resource@acc.org or phone at 800-253-4636 ext. 5603 (Toll Free, US & Canada) or 202-375-6000 ext. 5603 (Outside US & Canada).

Get Full Coverage from ACC.16
If you missed some of the latest news from the meeting, you can still read all about it. From trial summaries to presentation slides, videos and news articles, get all of the hot clinical news from ACC.16 on ACC.org. Also, get perspectives from leaders on the ACC in Touch Blog and find daily wrap up videos and interviews from the FITs on the GO on ACC's YouTube Channel.

ACC.16 Attendee Portal Details
The Attendee Portal provides attendees with exclusive access to materials from ACC.16 — all in one place!

  • Take a second look at slides from sessions you attended or peruse slides of sessions you missed with PDFs of the Sessions Slides
  • Tour the Posters from your computer or iPad with the ePosters
  • Access top news from the meeting
  • Claim your credit or get your Certificate of Participation
  • And much, much more!

The Attendee Portal will be available exclusively for ACC.16 attendees until February 2017. Use your ACC username and password* to login and take advantage of all these special features! *If you don't know your ACC password, please use the "Forgot My Password" feature available on the login page. If you are still not able to access the Portal, contact the ACC Resource Center by email at resource@acc.org or call 800-253-4636 ext. 5603 (Toll Free, US & Canada) or 202-375-6000 ext. 5603 (Outside US & Canada).

Experience ACC.16 with iScience
If you didn't have an opportunity to attend every session of interest or want to re-watch some of the great sessions that you attended, you still can! All the valuable educational content from ACC.16 is available to you with iScience, the ACC.16 Meeting on Demand™ Program. Plus, for a limited time only when you order iScience for $1,499 you’ll receive a complimentary $500 Apple Gift Card!
iScience includes more than 400 hours of presentations from ACC.16, delivering high resolution slides with fully synchronized audio. Using state of the art technology, iScience captures everything presented during the session, including procedure videos and pointer movements.
This offer is strictly on a first-come, first-serve basis. So act today and enjoy a $500 Apple Gift Card on us.

Digital ACC Resources

Free ACCEL Access for FITs
Did you know that Fellows in Training receive unlimited, complimentary access to ACC’s ACCEL audio journal. Sign up for this unique membership benefit here.

Stay In Touch with the ACC via Social Media
Stay in touch with the ACC and the latest clinical and advocacy news through ACC in Touch.  ACCinTouch connects ACC members and those interested in cardiovascular news through popular social networking channels like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. Join each of these networks to connect with ACC members and those interested in cardiology. In addition to the ACC's main Twitter profile @ACCinTouch, the College also has a profile dedicated to advocacy-related news (@Cardiology). CardioSmart, the ACC's patient education and support program, also has patient-centered cardiovascular news available through Facebook, Twitter (@CardioSmart), and YouTube. For more information about ACC’s social media channels, visit ACC.org/ACCinTouch.

ACC Archived Webinars
Did you know that you can find archived webinars from throughout the years from the ACC on ACC.org? As a member, you have access to this wealth of information here. To access them, you must have an ACC.org log-in and use the confirmation code and webinar access link emailed to you once you. Questions? Contact ACC’s Resource Center at Phone: 202-375-6000, ext. 5603 or 800-253-4636, ext. 5603 or resource@acc.org.

Download ACC’s Advocacy Action Mobile App
Be sure to download the ACC Advocacy Action mobile app to get easy access to ACC's advocacy priorities and timely talking points to share during congressional visits. The app was designed to help members engage with lawmakers and influence health policy. Download it today on iTunes (iPhone, iPad) and Google Play (Android devices).

Post ACC.16 Special Edition

Get Full Coverage of ACC.16

From trial summaries to presentation slides, videos and news articles, get all of the hot clinical news from ACC.16 on ACC.org here. Also, get perspectives from leaders on the ACC in Touch Blogand you can find wrap up videos from each day of the annual scientific sessions and hot trial videos on YouTube. You can also view the ACC.16 videos from FITs on the GO, the roving reporters who also happen to be ACC Fellows-in-Training. All of the videos are archived here.
Also, check out archived tweets by searching for the official meeting hashtag #ACC16 or scroll through our live coverage of the meeting via twitter at @ACCCardioEd.

Coverage of the most significant trials from ACC.16 (click to access):

  • PARTNER 2a: Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement Compared with Surgery in Intermediate Risk Patients with Aortic Stenosis: Final Results from the Randomized Placement of Aortic Transcatheter Valves 2 Study
  • HOPE-3: Blood Pressure Lowering in People at Moderate Risk; Effects of Rosuvastatin on Cardiovascular Disease in Moderate Risk Primary Prevention in Diverse Ethnic Groups; and the Effects of Combined Lipid and BP-Lowering on Cardiovascular Disease in a Moderate Risk Global Primary Prevention Population
  • GAUSS-3: Comparison of PCSK9 Inhibitor Evolocumab Versus Ezetimibe in Statin-intolerant Patients: The Goal Achievement After Utilizing an Anti-PCSK9 Antibody in Statin Intolerant Subjects 3 Trial
  • FIRE and ICE: Largest Randomized Trial Demonstrates an Effective Ablation of Atrial Fibrillation
  • STAMPEDE: Bariatric Surgery vs. Intensive Medical Therapy for Long-term Glycemic Control and Complications of Diabetes: Final 5-Year STAMPEDE Trial Results

ACC's New Slate of Officers and Trustees Installed

The ACC’s Board of Trustees (BOT) approved the College’s new slate of officers, trustees and committee leaders put forward by the ACC Blue Ribbon Nominating Committee as part of its annual business meeting immediately prior to ACC.16. Christopher M. Kramer, MD, FACC, and Michael J. Mack, MD, FACC were among the new leaders named, both appointed to serve on the BOT for three-year terms. Additionally, Paul Casale, MD, FACC, was appointed to the at-large position on the Executive Committee and Allen Seals, MD, FACC was appointed chair of the ACC’s Board of Governors (BOG).  Following a year of serving as BOG Chair, Robert A. Shor, MD, FACC was appointed chair of the College’s new Membership Committee, which includes representatives from the BOG, Assembly of International Governors, Section Steering Committee, and the FIT, Early Career, CV Team and CV Training Councils. Additionally, more than 188 individuals were appointed to leadership positions on ACC committees across the College following ACC.16. These installments come as part of the ACC’s recent approval of large-scale governance transformation, which includes a reduction of the College’s BOT from 31 members to 19 this year, and ultimately to a nimble and strategic group of 11 members by 2018. Learn more about ACC’s governance transformation on ACC.org and hear about the changes from ACC leaders in this video. You can also read more about the College’s leaders, including new ACC President Richard A. Chazal, MD, FACC who took office during ACC’s 65th annual convocation ceremony,  in the latest issue of Cardiology.

Additional Important News Updates

Special Issue of JACC: Cardiovascular Imaging Highlights Value of CV Imaging in Women
A special issue of JACC: Cardiovascular Imaging, published on April 4, focused on unique sex and gender evidence in the evaluation of ischemic heart disease, valvular disease, screening and radiation exposure, and more.  In an ACC in Touch Blog, Leslee J. Shaw, PhD, FACC, associate editor of JACC: Cardiovascular Imaging and a member of ACC’s Cardiovascular Disease in Women Committee, notes that “In response to a query from the Journal, many articles were screened for publication in this special issue. The response from the research community was amazing and signifies true interest in identifying causal pathways and novel diagnostic approaches tailored for women. This is a must-read issue for all physicians, women’s health experts and female patients!” Read more on the ACC in Touch Blog. View the full JACC: Cardiovascular Imaging issue here.

ACC Publishes Guidance For Non-Statin Therapies
A new expert consensus document regarding the use of non-statin therapies to lower cholesterol in high-risk patients published April 1 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. This document is the first expert consensus decision pathway from the ACC and provides practical guidance for clinicians and patients in situations not covered by the 2013 ACC/American Heart Association Guideline on the Treatment of Blood Cholesterol to Reduce Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Risk in Adults. Since the publication of the 2013 cholesterol guideline, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin 9 (PCSK9) inhibitors for certain patients and the recent publication of the HPS2-THRIVE and IMPROVE-IT trials have provided new evidence about adding non-statin therapies to statins as combination therapy. “This consensus pathway document is the first in a new format, where we offer guidance to clinicians in an easy to understand algorithm approach framed in a data supported fashion,” said James L. Januzzi Jr., MD, FACC, chair of ACC’s Task Force on Clinical Expert Consensus Documents. Read more on ACC.org.

ACC/AHA Release Focused Update on the Use of DAPT
Updated guidelines for the use of dual antiplatelet therapy (DAPT) – aspirin plus a P2Y12 inhibitor – in patients with coronary artery disease, were released March 29 by the ACC and the American Heart Association and published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. The document updates recommendations on duration of DAPT across six previously published guidelines. In the update, recommendations for DAPT generally consist of a Class I recommendation of “should be given” for a minimum time period of time (usually six to 12 months), and a Class IIb recommendation of “may be considered” for continuation beyond that time. Shorter duration of DAPT is recommended for patients at lower ischemic risk with high bleeding risk, whereas a longer duration of treatment may be reasonable for patients at higher ischemic risk with lower bleeding risk. Read more on ACC.org. To accompany the DAPT Update, the ACC has developed a DAPT After PCI Overview Tool that provides clinicians with guidance when treating stable ischemic heart disease and acute coronary syndrome patients undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention. Also check out ACC’s DAPT Hub on ACC.org for all of the available ACC resources, expert commentary, a poll and more. Join the conversations on Twitter using the hashtag #DAPT.

CathPCI Registry and ICD Registry Medication Abstraction Reference Guides Now Available
Two new tools are now available as part of the ACC’s Public Reporting Toolkit, designed to help NCDR hospitals improve on overall quality and performance for all registries. The CathPCI Registry Medication Abstraction Reference Guide and the ICD Registry Medication Abstraction Reference Guide address quality improvement in medication abstraction for the medication measures currently being publicly reported for the CathPCI Registry and ICD Registry. The Public Reporting Toolkit also includes a Data Quality Checklist that helps hospitals ensure that all steps in their data management process produce complete, accurate, reliable and valid data. NCDR hospitals can download the Public Reporting Toolkit for free through Quality Improvement for Institutions.

Surviving MI Webinar: Building the Case for Pharmacy
During the next Surviving MI initiative webinar on April 26 at 12 p.m., experts will discuss how they built the case for greater involvement of pharmacy with the cardiovascular care team at their institutions. Topics that will be covered include resource utilization, 30-day medication supply and dealing with competing interests between the cardiovascular service line and pharmacy. Tracy E. Macaulay, PharmD, AACC, BCPS, will share UK HealthCare’s experience and Brett Vickey PharmD, BCPS, will provide insight into Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center’s experience. Richard J. Kovacs, MD, FACC, will moderate the webinar. There will also be a live Q&A session where participants can ask the presenters questions. Register now.

March 2016

Overarching ACC News:

JACC Leadership Page: State of the States
In a recent Leadership Page published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, Robert A. Shor, MD, FACC, chair of ACC’s Board of Governors, discusses some of the top accomplishments from the College’s 48 U.S. chapters in 2015. These accomplishments fall under key pillars of ACC’s Strategic Plan including member value and engagement, advocacy, transformation of care, purposeful education, population health, and shared challenges and opportunities between chapters. “As we move into a new year, it is my hope that chapters will continue the trend of collaboration and sharing best practices and that ACC members will become increasingly involved in their local ACC chapters,” Shor writes. Read more.

Latest Issue of Cardiology Focuses on Igniting CV Innovation at ACC.16
The cover story in the latest issue of Cardiology magazine offers a deep dive into ACC’s 65th Annual Scientific Session and Expo, highlighting this year’s featured lecturers, distinguished awardees and can’t-miss sessions throughout the conference. Start planning your meeting today by downloading the ACC.16 App. This issue also highlights ACC President Kim Allan Williams Sr., MD, FACC’s year in review and offers an opportunity to get to know ACC President-Elect Richard A. Chazal, MD, FACC. Check out exclusive features on ACC’s governance transformation and recent wins and future opportunities in state advocacy. Learn more about the State of the States in 2015 from Board of Governor’s Chair Robert A. Shor, MD, FACC, and explore how to piece together the MACRA puzzle. Get the full issue at ACC.org/Cardiology.

JACC Leadership Page: Action Through Collaboration
In a recent Leadership Page published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, Robert A. Shor, MD, FACC, chair of the ACC Board of Governors (BOG), discusses the collaboration between ACC’s state chapters, sections and the BOG over the past year. Examples of successful collaboration include efforts to make changes to the Maintenance of Certification process as well advancing the College’s goals surrounding population health, public reporting, advocacy issues and more. “These success stories and actions only come about through member engagement in the ACC,” Shor writes. Read More

JACC Leadership Page: The Seven Deadly Sins of Health Care: Part 2
In a recent Leadership Page published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC), ACC President Kim Allan Williams Sr., MD, FACC, covers part two of a two-part series on the “seven deadly sins of public health.” Williams focuses on the sins of sloth, gluttony and ignorance. Examples of these sins include unhealthy diet and exercise choices, nonadherence to medication, complacency amongst physicians, and poor health literacy. He explains that ACC programs and initiatives, such as CardioSmart, NCDR, JACC, Legislative Conference, and a new pilot program in China using webinars and WeChat, can help physicians deal with these issues. “Together, we can strive to be the counterbalance to the seven deadly sins of public health,” Williams writes. Read more.

Latest Issue of CardioSource WorldNews Examines Innovation in Health Care
The cover story of the latest issue of CardioSource WorldNews examines innovation in health care and in his Editor’s Corner, Alfred A. Bove, MD, PhD, MACC, discusses  how innovative technology, including wearable devices and other sensors, will continue to improve patient care. Also in the issue, Andrew M. Freeman, MD, FACC, explains the recent changes to the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Adults and John S. Rumsfeld, MD, PhD, FACC, discusses his new role as the ACC’s Chief Innovation Officer. See the full issue at ACC.org/CSWN.

Top Science and Quality News:

U.S. News & World Report Heart Rankings Will Credit Hospitals For Publicly Reporting via NCDR  
Starting this spring, hospitals that publicly report through the NCDR’s CathPCI Registry and/or ICD Registry will receive a credit as part of the U.S. News & World Report’s Best Hospitals in Cardiology & Heart Surgery. In its announcement on March 4, U.S. News & World Report noted that methodology changes are intended to “drive broader transparency.” In 2016, 3 percentage points of a facility’s Cardiology & Heart Surgery score will be tied to registry participation. To receive 3 percentage points, a hospital must publicly report through the NCDR (either the CathPCI Registry or ICD Registry) as well as the Society of Thoracic Surgeons' (STS) Adult Cardiac Surgery Database. If a hospital is only publicly reporting through one organization’s program (ACC or STS), 2 percentage points will be awarded. No credit will be given to hospitals that are not publicly reporting. If your hospital is not currently reporting through the CathPCI Registry and/or ICD Registry, you have until the end of March to participate in order to receive credit in the 2016 heart rankings. Access paperwork for the CathPCI Registry here and ICD Registry here. Learn more about ACC’s public reporting program and how to opt in.

ACC/AHA Task Force Seeks Comment on Sudden Cardiac Death Measure Set
The ACC/AHA Task Force on Performance Measures has developed a prevention of sudden cardiac death measure set. The Task Force is seeking public comments on the measure set. Before completing the survey, please review the draft prevention of sudden cardiac measure set. To provide comments, please access the survey here.  If you need to exit the survey before you have finished commenting, you can save your responses and return to the survey later. The comment period will close on Sunday, March 20. Contact the ACC/AHA TFPM staff lead at comment@acc.org with any questions or concerns. Please include “Prevention of Sudden Cardiac Death Measure Set” in the subject line.

New PCI Bleeding Risk Checklist Now Available
The ACC has released a Percutaneous Coronary Intervention(PCI) Bleeding Risk Checklist designed to inform physicians and the cardiovascular care team about common problems and possible solutions to reduce the risk of bleeding complications after PCI procedures. The clinical care team can utilize this checklist during point of care and/or as a reference material during an educational conference relating to bleeding complications. The checklist facilitates consistent risk assessment and communication between a physician and patient undergoing a PCI procedure. The checklist is the first tool in a new PCI Bleeding Risk Toolkit available through Quality Improvement for Institutions. Stay tuned for the release of additional tools to reduce PCI bleeding risk. Download the checklist here.

ACC Launches First Open-Access Journal: JACC: Basic to Translational Science
The ACC today launched its first open-access journal – JACC: Basic to Translational Science – which will serve as a forum for advancing the field of translational cardiovascular medicine, and as a platform for accelerating the translation of novel scientific discoveries into new therapies that improve clinical outcomes for patients affected with or at risk for cardiovascular disease. Highlights from the issue include a look at “kinetics and signal activation properties of circulating factor(s) from healthy volunteers undergoing remote ischemic preconditioning,” as well as whether “extracellular matrix hydrogel promotes tissue remodeling, arteriogenesis and perfusion in a rat hindlimb ischemia model.” Read more about the journal in an ACC in Touch Blog post by Editor in Chief Douglas L. Mann, MD, FACC. Read the full issue here. ACC members receive free access to the journal, as well as discounts on the article processing charge.

LAAO Registry: Quality Improvement Support For LAAO Procedures
Atrial fibrillation (AFib) affects more than three million individuals in the U.S. today – putting them at higher risk for stroke. Left atrial appendage (LAA) occlusion (LAAO) provides a treatment option to manage stroke risk for patients with non-valvular AFib who are unable to maintain adequate anticoagulation through other therapies. The LAAO Registry is designed to assess real-world procedural outcomes, short and long-term safety, comparative effectiveness and cost effectiveness of LAAO procedures. The registry provides standardized, evidence-based data elements and definitions; benchmarked decision-making data on LAAO procedures; quarterly outcome reports comparing the institution’s performance with volume-based peer groups and the national experience; and an executive summary dashboard providing at-a-glance insights. The NCDR is currently working with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to become an approved registry as a result of CMS’ final decision memo that supports a national coverage determination for Medicare patients undergoing percutaneous LAA closure. Additional information about the LAAO Registry can be found at ACC.org/LAAORegistry.

New Quality Measure Core Sets Provide Continuity For Measuring Quality Improvement
The Core Quality Measures Collaborative, convened by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and America's Health Insurance Plans, has announced six core quality measure sets, including one for cardiology, that are intended to make "quality measurement more useful and meaningful for consumers, employers, clinicians and public and private payers." The ACC has been involved in the Collaborative since 2014 and played an instrumental role in shaping the final cardiology core measure set. However, both the ACC and the American Heart Association (AHA), while applauding the work of the Collaborative, are expressing concern about the inclusion of two conflicting measures addressing blood pressure control for patients with hypertension given their potential to confuse patients and providers. "Though we recognize that the inclusion of these two measures was a compromise agreed to by the members of the Collaborative in order to achieve a consensus, AHA and ACC have concerns with the inclusion of the HEDIS 2016 measure in these core measure sets because of its potential to result in an increased population of patients with higher blood pressure," write ACC President-Elect Richard A. Chazal, MD, FACC, and AHA President Mark A. Creager, MD, FACC, in an editorial published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology and Hypertension. Read more on the measures.

Top Advocacy and Health Policy News

ACC Comments on MACRA Implementation
The ACC recently submitted two comment letters in response to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Draft Quality Measure Development Plan and Episode Groups. The Draft Quality Measure Development Plan is CMS' strategic framework for developing and implementing quality measures for use under the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and eligible Alternative Payment Model pathways under the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA). CMS intends to utilize episode groups to measure clinician resource use when treating patients with certain conditions or when performing certain procedures. The ACC stated that any new quality measures or episode groups must be developed with the involvement of the clinicians who provide cardiovascular care. The College also cautioned CMS against implementing measures or episode groups that may unintentionally penalize clinicians, especially those clinicians who treat high-risk patients. To read the ACC's comments and learn more about MACRA, visit the MACRA Information Hub at ACC.org/MACRA.

Health IT Policy Update
In early March, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) released the "ONC Health IT Certification Program: Enhanced Oversight and Accountability" proposed rule. According to the agencies, the proposal to update the ONC Health IT Certification Program based on current electronic health record (EHR) trends "would further enhance the safety, reliability, transparency, and accountability of certified health IT for users." The proposed rule – which focuses on direct review, enhanced oversight and greater accountability and transparency – would give ONC the authority to revoke an EHR's certification for safety reasons, including those stemming from usability and security issues. "[The] proposed rule will help us ensure that health IT products and the health IT marketplace are continuing to meet the needs of the health care system," said National Coordinator for Health Information Technology Karen B. DeSalvo, MD, MPH, MSc, during the 2016 Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society Conference (HIMSS16). "We look forward to comments on the proposed rule from health IT developers and other stakeholders as we continue to work together to make health information available where and when it is needed safely and reliably." Also during HIMSS16, HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell announced that most EHR vendors, the five largest health care systems in the U.S., and numerous other stakeholders have taken a pledge to improve health IT for patients. These groups will work together to stop the practice of "information blocking," implement a universal language, and enhance EHRs to ensure patients can access their information.

Alternative Payment Model Goal Reached
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that as of January 2016, more than 30 percent of Medicare Part A and B payments are tied to alternative payment models (APMs), a goal that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services had targeted for completion by the end of 2016. According to CMS, "true transformation of our health system cannot be done through Medicare alone, and so CMS looks forward to continuing to work with partners across the country to achieve the goals of tying 30 percent of spending to APMs by the end of 2016 and 50 percent by the end of 2018 for the entire U.S. health care system."

CDC Releases Prevention Status Reports
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released the latest Prevention Status Reports (PSRs).  The PSRs highlight—for all 50 states and the District of Columbia—the status of public health policies and practices designed to prevent or reduce 10 important public health problems. Heart disease and stroke, which are the leading causes of death for men and women in the United States, are featured in the report. According to the 2015 reports, all 50 states increased the number of office-based physicians who use EHRs to engage with patients. The majority of states have a pharmacist collaborative drug therapy management policy in place for all health conditions. These policies are vital because they can increase the chances that patients will adhere to medications used to treat high blood pressure and cholesterol and potentially improve patient outcomes. You can find your state’s report at PSRs by State.  To help you use the reports, CDC created the PSR Quick Start Guide, which provides tools to increase the use of evidence-based public health practices in your state.  If you have questions about the PSRs, please email psrinfo@cdc.gov.  For more on cardiovascular disease, visit http://www.cdc.gov/dhdsp/

Top Education and Career Growth News

ACC Publishes Lifelong Learning Competencies For General Cardiologists
The ACC has published new lifelong learning competencies for general cardiologists, defining the knowledge, skills and behaviors expected throughout the span of their careers, while also identifying certain aspects of cardiovascular medicine that exceed core expectations. The document, published Feb. 19 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, aims to ensure the highest levels of quality and service for patients, and complements the Core Cardiology Training Statement (COCATS 4), released in March 2015. Together the documents cover the spectrum of a practicing cardiologist from training through their career. In a recent article in Cardiology magazine, Eric S. Williams, MD, MACC, and Jonathan L. Halperin, MD, FACC, note that “what makes this document truly unique is that it attempts to define those competencies that every cardiologist should maintain no matter what their career focus, while identifying those skills or activities that reflect a more specific practice focus.” Read more on ACC.org

Join the world’s leading cardiovascular care professionals at ACC.16!
Expand your knowledge through interactive learning in an innovative educational environment at ACC.16. Take the opportunity to engage with experts, connect with colleagues and gain valuable insights to advance the practice of cardiovascular care. Brush up on key clinical skills and get first-hand access to new information that will disrupt traditional thinking and spark transformations in how CV professionals care for their patients.Register now to join us at ACC.16 from April 2 – 4, 2016 in Chicago!

Top Membership News

Is Your ACC Member Profile Up-To-Date?
The ACC wants to make sure it's sending members only the most relevant information. To that end, the College is encouraging all members to update their ACC profile, including contact information, specialty areas, clinical interest areas and practice information. Don’t miss out on the latest cardiovascular research, new clinical guidelines, advocacy updates, ACC news and member benefits. Update your profile online at ACC.org/MyProfile.

Digital ACC Resources

Free ACCEL Access for FITs
Did you know that Fellows in Training receive unlimited, complimentary access to ACC’s ACCEL audio journal. Sign up for this unique membership benefit here.

Stay In Touch with the ACC via Social Media
Stay in touch with the ACC and the latest clinical and advocacy news through ACC in Touch.  ACCinTouch connects ACC members and those interested in cardiovascular news through popular social networking channels like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. Join each of these networks to connect with ACC members and those interested in cardiology. In addition to the ACC's main Twitter profile @ACCinTouch, the College also has a profile dedicated to advocacy-related news (@Cardiology). CardioSmart, the ACC's patient education and support program, also has patient-centered cardiovascular news available through Facebook, Twitter (@CardioSmart), and YouTube. For more information about ACC’s social media channels, visit ACC.org/ACCinTouch.

ACC Archived Webinars
Did you know that you can find archived webinars from throughout the years from the ACC on ACC.org? As a member, you have access to this wealth of information here. To access them, you must have an ACC.org log-in and use the confirmation code and webinar access link emailed to you once you. Questions? Contact ACC’s Resource Center at Phone: 202-375-6000, ext. 5603 or 800-253-4636, ext. 5603 or resource@acc.org.

Download ACC’s Advocacy Action Mobile App
Be sure to download the ACC Advocacy Action mobile app to get easy access to ACC's advocacy priorities and timely talking points to share during congressional visits. The app was designed to help members engage with lawmakers and influence health policy. Download it today on iTunes (iPhone, iPad) and Google Play (Android devices).

February 2016

Overarching ACC News:

JACC Leadership Page: The Seven Deadly Sins of Health Care
In a recent Leadership Page published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, ACC President Kim Allan Williams Sr., MD, FACC discusses the “seven deadly sins of public health.” For part one of this two-part series, Williams focuses on the sins of greed, complacency, timidity, and obstinacy and “the challenges they pose to public health and what is being done to overcome them.” He explains how the College’s endeavors, including the development of appropriate use criteria and guidelines, the growth of registry programs and the recent changes made to the ACC’s governance structure, are working to protect both physicians and patients from these sins. Read more.

JACC Leadership Page: Diversifying Our Ranks, A Call to Action
In a Leadership Page published Feb. 1 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC), ACC President Kim Allan Williams Sr., MD, FACC, and ACC President-Elect Richard A. Chazal, MD, FACC, discuss the importance of provider diversity. They cite a study presented this past November and simultaneously published in JACC which showed “not only substantial salary differences between male and female practicing cardiologists, but also dramatically different job descriptions – despite sharing the same specialty.” They explain that “we need to pay special attention not only to this particular issue, but also to the broader issue of workforce diversity,” and add that “The ACC can and must be both a leader and a convener in this area.” Read more.

Top Science and Quality News:

New Quality Measure Core Sets Provide Continuity For Measuring Quality Improvement
The Core Quality Measures Collaborative, convened by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and America’s Health Insurance Plans, has announced six core quality measure sets, including one for cardiology, that are intended to make “quality measurement more useful and meaningful for consumers, employers, clinicians and public and private payers.” The ACC has been involved in the Collaborative since 2014 and played an instrumental role in shaping the final cardiology core measure set. However, both the ACC and the American Heart Association (AHA), while applauding the work of the Collaborative, are expressing concern about the inclusion of two conflicting measures addressing blood pressure control for patients with hypertension given their potential to confuse patients and providers. “Though we recognize that the inclusion of these two measures was a compromise agreed to by the members of the Collaborative in order to achieve a consensus, AHA and ACC have concerns with the inclusion of the HEDIS 2016 measure in these core measure sets because of its potential to result in an increased population of patients with higher blood pressure,” write ACC President-Elect Richard A. Chazal, MD, FACC, and AHA President Mark A. Creager, MD, FACC, in an editorial published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology  and Hypertension. Read more on the measures.

AUC For Diagnostic Imaging of Patients With Chest Pain Released
New recommendations on the appropriate use of diagnostic imaging for patients with chest pain were released Jan. 22 by the ACC and the American College of Radiology and published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Led by Frank J. Rybicki, MD, PhD; James E. Udelson, MD, FACC; and W. Frank Peacock, MD, co-chairs of the Emergency Department Patients With Chest Pain Writing Panel, two panels of cardiology and radiology specialists reviewed evidence-based medicine, existing guidelines and practice experience to address appropriate use criteria in 20 fundamental clinical scenarios for emergency imaging in patients who present to the emergency department with chest pain. Each recommendation assesses when imaging is useful in a given scenario, as well as what information is provided by the specified imaging procedure. Read more on ACC.org.

American Heart Month: Find Your Heart a Home
In a recent post on the ACC in Touch Blog, as part of a series for American Heart Month, Gregory J. Dehmer, MD, MACC, chair of the NCDR Public Reporting Advisory Group, discusses ACC’s public reporting campaign, Find Your Heart a Home, powered by CardioSmart. “Similar to how people can research hotels and restaurants online, Find Your Heart a Home enables patients and their caregivers to search and select hospitals based on the cardiac services provided and data related to the quality of care delivered,” states Dehmer. Read more on the ACC in Touch Blog and be sure to join @CardioSmart for a Heart Month Twitter Chat on patient engagement, shared decision-making and Find Your Heart a Home. The chat will take place on Feb. 23 at 1 p.m. ET. To join the conversation, use hashtag #CardioChat.

Learn How to Enhance Quality Improvement at NCDR.16
Practice quality improvement efforts, quality reporting and value-based reimbursement are here to stay, and will play a critical role in provider payment models moving forward. The ACC’s NCDR Annual Conference (NCDR.16) held immediately prior to ACC’s Annual Scientific Session in Chicago, IL, offers a unique opportunity for physicians and other cardiovascular professionals  to learn more about the College’s clinical registry programs and how they can be leveraged to meet growing quality improvement requirements. The two-day meeting, held March 31 – April 1, 2016, will offer registry-specific workshops on topics ranging from how to access and interpret outcome reports and dashboard data, to  proper input of challenging data elements and understanding registry metrics. Inter-professional workshops will also cover topics such as how to build a quality improvement team and how to implement quality improvement programs. Over 1,000 registry professionals, quality experts, physicians and administrators from across the country are expected to attend. Learn more and register for NCDR.16 at CVQuality.ACC.org/NCDRAnnualConference.

PINNACLE Registry Launches Atrial Fibrillation Management Toolkit
As part of our efforts to better respond to the needs of cardiovascular professionals and improve treatment and outcomes for patients, the American College of Cardiology is now offering the Preventing Preventable Strokes (PPS) toolkit to drive quality improvements for patients with nonvalvular atrial fibrillation (AF). This toolkit is the result of a major initiative involving contributions from numerous PINNACLE practices.  The PPS toolkit offers both provider and patient-focused materials, arming PINNACLE practices with new evidence-based quality improvement tools and best practices. Topics include common barriers to optimal care, patient education, and managing and balancing stroke and bleed risks. Stroke prevention relies on patients’ adherence to prescribed medical therapies. Still, providers and/or the healthcare system have a significant impact on patients’ ability to receive optimal care, as patients cannot adhere to medications that are not prescribed to them. The overall Preventing Preventable Strokes Quality Improvement Initiative engages physicians and their practices in identifying anticoagulant treatment gaps and driving guidelines-compliant medical decision making. The PPS toolkit is a central component of this overall initiative. Start utilizing these tools in your practices today and please be on the lookout for an invite to participate in our survey in the coming weeks.

PINNACLE Registry Hits New Milestones
The ACC continues to broaden the reach of its outpatient cardiovascular data registries. The PINNACLE Registry has recently hit a new important milestone, exceeding six million unique patients and 25 million encounters. This is a significant threshold for all registry stakeholders, including outcome researchers, data-submitting clinicians and PINNACLE Research Alliance participants. The registry's sustained growth in the number of patients drives care improvement by contributing to the national benchmarking. The PINNACLE Registry has experienced growth not only at the national level, but also internationally. Most recently the ACC partnered with the Mexico Chapter, in collaboration with both the Sociedad Mexicana de Cardiología and the Asociación Nacional de Cardiólogos de México, to establish a registry network that is aligned with the PINNACLE Registry.Read More>>>

Top Advocacy and Health Policy News

Grassroots Spotlight on Anita Arnold, DO, FACC
In a recent post on the ACC in Touch Blog, Anita Arnold, DO, FACC, a member of ACC's Health Affairs Committee, discusses her grassroots advocacy efforts with the ACC Florida Chapter. "I was under the mistaken impression that congressional members were very much aware of the issues, and would not want to talk with me about them. But as it turns out, if health care is not a priority of theirs, they know very little and are interested in dialoguing with a representative of an important group such as the ACC." Read more about Arnold's grassroots journey. In 2015, ACC members participated in nearly 60 legislator practice visits, in-district meetings and fundraisers. To set up a legislator visit, contact Kelly Memphis (state) at kmemphis@acc.org or Elizabeth Shaw (federal) at eshaw@acc.org.

PQRS Submission Deadline Extended
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has extended the deadline for 2015 Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) Electronic Health Record submissions to March 11 at 8 p.m. ET. According to CMS, “Eligible professionals who do not satisfactorily report quality measure data to meet the 2015 PQRS requirements will be subject to a negative PQRS payment adjustment on all Medicare Part B Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) services rendered in 2017.” Read more.

EHR Attestation Deadline Extended
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has extended the 2015 attestation deadline for the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Programs to March 11 at 11:59 p.m. ET. The deadline was originally scheduled for Feb. 29. According to CMS, those participating in the Medicare EHR Incentive Program can attest through the CMS Registration and Attestation System, with the exception of providers, who should refer to their respective states for attestation information and deadlines.

Changes to EHR Hardship Exception Process
If you were unable to meet the requirements of the Electronic Health Records (EHR) Incentive Program for 2015 because the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) delayed releasing modifications to the Stage 2 program or you had issues updating your EHR, you can file for a hardship exception and avoid a 2017 payment adjustment. New hardship exception applications and instructions for the 2017 EHR payment adjustment are available here. Section 2.2d of the application offers eligible professionals the opportunity to apply for the new hardship exception. The ACC encourages all eligible professionals to consider applying in the event that they did not meet requirements for the 2015 program year.

Changes to the hardship exception process stem from the Patient Access and Medicare Protection Act, a culmination of efforts by the ACC and other medical societies to spur Congress to provide relief. The changes aim to reduce the burden on eligible professionals, eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals. To take advantage of the new process and this new exception, eligible professionals must submit their applications by March 15, 2016. As part of the changes, groups of providers can now submit a single application to apply for a hardship exception. Eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals must submit applications by April 1, 2016. Additional information is available on the CMS website.

CMS LAA Coverage Reflects ACC Feedback
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has posted a final decision memorandum solidifying a national coverage determination (NCD) for percutaneous left atrial appendage (LAA) closure. CMS will cover LAA closure for non-valvular atrial fibrillation patients with a CHADS2 score ≥ 2 or a CHA21DS2-VASc score ≥ 3 who can take short-term warfarin but are unable to take long-term oral anticoagulants. The ACC, in conjunction with the Society of Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions, and the Heart Rhythm Society, submitted joint comments on the proposed NCD last year. Many of the changes recommended in the letter were made, such as removal of a requirement for registries to capture data on non-interventional controls. Other coverage aspects include a documented shared decision making interaction with a non-interventional physician using an evidence-based decision tool, performance of the procedure by operators with trans-septal puncture experience at hospitals with an established structural heart disease and/or electrophysiology program, and facility participation in an approved national registry that consecutively enrolls LAA patients and tracks outcomes. The NCDR's LAAO Registry will apply for approval in the near future, enabling sites to comply with coverage requirements. Read more on ACC.org.

ACC Crafts Stark Law Principles
The Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee recently held a closed-door roundtable to discuss current challenges facing providers trying to comply with the Stark law, also known as the physician self-referral law. Furthermore, they discussed ways to improve the law, particularly in light of the recently passed Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015. In response to a request for stakeholder input, the ACC developed principles related to any policy changes in this area. ACC Advocacy stressed a need for simplification, to reduce the exorbitant legal fees and administrative burdens currently imposed on clinicians, as well as revisions to distinguish between willful and inadvertent violations of the law.

If You're Not at the Table, You're on the Menu
In a recent Fellows in Training (FIT) and Early Career Page in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, Sandeep Kumar Krishnan, MD, an FIT at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, CA, encourages all ACC members to get involved in advocacy, beginning in fellowship. "It is our turn as [FITs] to step up and build upon the [advocacy] foundation laid by our predecessors," says Krishnan. "We should do everything we can to ensure that we continue to improve the stature of our profession in the eyes of our patients and our legislators." In a response, Ralph G. Brindis, MD, MPH, MACC, states that he shares these "enthusiastic 'rallying call' and encourage our [FITs], cardiac care associates, and [FACCs] to become actively involved in the noble mission of advocacy. It is a particularly powerful and effective advocacy strategy when the full complement of the cardiovascular team appears at their congressman's office sharing personal stories surrounding patient care."

Get Up-to-Date on Value-Based Payment
Last year, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell announced an accelerated transition to alternative payment models (APMs) for Medicare recipients with a target of 30 percent of payments linked to value in 2016 and 50 percent in 2018. As part of the effort to transition America's health care system from volume to value, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services established the Health Care Payment Learning and Action Network (LAN), which convenes providers, consumers, purchasers, states and federal partners to establish a common pathway for success. The ACC, as an early follower of the LAN, acquired partner status in 2015. The Health Care Transformation Task Force (HCTTF) is another group dedicated to advancing value-based payment. The HCTTF, which brings together providers, payers, purchasers and consumers, was formed in early 2015 with the goal of having 75 percent of respective businesses operating under value-based payment arrangements by 2020.Both of these groups are key players to follow in the movement to a value-based reimbursement environment. Read more about the LAN and HCTTF. The LAN's recently released APM Framework White Paper is available here.

Top Education and Career Growth News

Get Up-to-Date on Value-Based Payment
Last year, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell announced an accelerated transition to alternative payment models (APMs) for Medicare recipients with a target of 30 percent of payments linked to value in 2016 and 50 percent in 2018. As part of the effort to transition America's health care system from volume to value, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services established the Health Care Payment Learning and Action Network (LAN), which convenes providers, consumers, purchasers, states and federal partners to establish a common pathway for success. The ACC, as an early follower of the LAN, acquired partner status in 2015. The Health Care Transformation Task Force (HCTTF) is another group dedicated to advancing value-based payment. The HCTTF, which brings together providers, payers, purchasers and consumers, was formed in early 2015 with the goal of having 75 percent of respective businesses operating under value-based payment arrangements by 2020.Both of these groups are key players to follow in the movement to a value-based reimbursement environment. Read more about the LAN and HCTTF. The LAN's recently released APM Framework White Paper is available here.

Top Membership News

Is Your ACC Member Profile Up-To-Date?
The ACC wants to make sure it's sending members only the most relevant information. To that end, the College is encouraging all members to update their ACC profile, including contact information, specialty areas, clinical interest areas and practice information. Don’t miss out on the latest cardiovascular research, new clinical guidelines, advocacy updates, ACC news and member benefits. Update your profile online at ACC.org/MyProfile.

Digital ACC Resources

Free ACCEL Access for FITs
Did you know that Fellows in Training receive unlimited, complimentary access to ACC’s ACCEL audio journal. Sign up for this unique membership benefit here.

Stay In Touch with the ACC via Social Media
Stay in touch with the ACC and the latest clinical and advocacy news through ACC in Touch.  ACCinTouch connects ACC members and those interested in cardiovascular news through popular social networking channels like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. Join each of these networks to connect with ACC members and those interested in cardiology. In addition to the ACC's main Twitter profile @ACCinTouch, the College also has a profile dedicated to advocacy-related news (@Cardiology). CardioSmart, the ACC's patient education and support program, also has patient-centered cardiovascular news available through Facebook, Twitter (@CardioSmart), and YouTube. For more information about ACC’s social media channels, visit ACC.org/ACCinTouch.

ACC Archived Webinars
Did you know that you can find archived webinars from throughout the years from the ACC on ACC.org? As a member, you have access to this wealth of information here. To access them, you must have an ACC.org log-in and use the confirmation code and webinar access link emailed to you once you. Questions? Contact ACC’s Resource Center at Phone: 202-375-6000, ext. 5603 or 800-253-4636, ext. 5603 or resource@acc.org.

Download ACC’s Advocacy Action Mobile App
Be sure to download the ACC Advocacy Action mobile app to get easy access to ACC's advocacy priorities and timely talking points to share during congressional visits. The app was designed to help members engage with lawmakers and influence health policy. Download it today on iTunes (iPhone, iPad) and Google Play (Android devices).

January 2016

Overarching ACC News:

Committee Nominations Extended to January 25
In light of increased interest and the availability of the newly formed Interim Blue Ribbon Nominating Committee, Committee Nominations will be extended through Monday, January 25. Take advantage of this unique opportunity to help guide the direction of the College. Members are encouraged to review the open positions and may self-nominate or nominate a colleague. Applicants will be notified of results in February 2016. Click here to review open positions.

ACC Approves Transformational Changes to Its Governance Structure
In a recent post on the ACC in Touch Blog, Kim Allan Williams Sr., MD, FACC, president of the ACC, discusses changes to the College’s governance structure that were recently approved during the ACC Board of Trustees’ meeting. “At a high level, the changes allow for a centralized Board that is strategically focused and dedicated to the ACC’s mission to transform cardiovascular care and improve heart health,” explains Williams. “The new structure is modeled around the concepts of centralized authority and decentralized decision-making. Practically, this places tactical, operational, and management decision-making at staff and committee levels and makes room for a more diverse group of members to take on leadership opportunities at the College.” Read more on the ACC in Touch Blog.

ACC, SCPC Merger to Improve CV Accreditation, Quality Improvement Services
The ACC and the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care (SCPC) have completed a merger that will provide a comprehensive quality improvement solution for hospitals and other facilities that combines SCPC accreditation and ACC’s registry services, quality initiatives and education. As the merger is implemented in 2016, hospitals and other facilities will be able to take advantage of improved and streamlined quality improvement services, including expanded accreditation services, to improve cardiovascular patient care. SCPC will remain in its current headquarters in Dublin, Ohio. “This is an exciting time for the ACC and SCPC,” said ACC Chief Executive Officer Shal Jacobovitz. “It presents unprecedented new opportunities to continue to reduce the data burden on hospitals, grow the scope and impact of accreditation, and most importantly continue to deliver evidence-based cardiovascular care to patients more effectively than ever before.” Read more.

Rumsfeld Named ACC Chief Innovation Officer
The ACC has named John S. Rumsfeld, MD, PhD, FACC, as Chief Innovation Officer. Rumsfeld, who has been a member of ACC’s Board of Trustees and chief science officer for the NCDR programs, will be responsible for developing and implementing an innovation strategy for the College. “The ACC’s focus on innovation sets us apart as an association,” said ACC Chief Executive Officer Shal Jacobovitz. “Dr. Rumsfeld has played a visionary role in developing the Veterans Administration’s health records and quality management system and in the management of the College’s NCDR registries, ensuring the registries continue to be relevant and successful in today’s health care environment. We look forward to him bringing this vision and passion to bear on broader ACC efforts to transform care and improve heart health.” Read more on ACC.org

ACC Appoints New Annual Scientific Session Vice Chair
The ACC has announced the appointment of Andrew M. Kates, MD, FACC, to the position of vice chair of the ACC Annual Scientific Session. Kates will serve as vice chair during ACC.17 and ACC.18, and will assume the chair position for ACC.19 and ACC.20. The position was developed to ensure consistent leadership and allow for continual improvement of ACC's flagship Annual Scientific Session. "Dr. Kates is an exceptional choice for this critical role at the College," said ACC President Kim Allan Williams Sr., MD, FACC. "His long history of working to expand and improve educational opportunities for the cardiovascular community shows a commitment to innovation and excellence that will not only keep the meeting’s mission on course, but also guide it to new heights in the future." Read more on ACC.org.

JACC Leadership Page: Honing Leadership Skills at the Chapter Level
In a recent Leadership Page published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, Robert Shor, MD, FACC, chair of the ACC Board of Governors, discusses how the path to ACC leadership can start at the chapter level. During his time as the BOG chair, Shor has helped to develop a mentorship program for governors and emerging chapter leaders. He also discusses other leadership programs offered by the College, including the Leadership Academy, which launched in January 2014, as well as less-formal leadership pathways. “I am amazed at the energy and innovation of our members who volunteer in the common goal of fostering our profession and transforming care in the interest of our patients,” he writes. Read more.

Latest Issue of CardioSource WorldNews Examines Genetics and the Heart
The cover story of the latest issue of CardioSource WorldNews looks at how gene therapy may combat heart disease and Editor-in-Chief Alfred A. Bove, MD, PhD, MACC also discusses this subject in his Editor’s Corner. ACC President Kim Allan Williams Sr., MD, FACC, outlines the College’s new governance structure. This month’s Health Tech column explores Touch Surgery, an app that enables users to learn and practice surgical techniques. See the full issue at ACC.org/CSWN.

Top Science and Quality News:

2015 Dietary Guidelines Recommend Limited Cholesterol Intake
Physiological and structural functions of the body do not require additional intake of dietary cholesterol according to the 2015 Dietary Guidelines released Jan. 7 by the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and of Agriculture (USDA). As such, people should practice healthy eating patterns consuming as little dietary cholesterol as possible in order to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and obesity. The 2015 Dietary Guidelines differ from the previous edition in that the recommendation to limit dietary cholesterol consumption to 300 mg per day has been removed. “This change does not suggest that dietary cholesterol is no longer important to consider when building healthy eating patterns,” state the USDA and HHS in the guidelines. The 2015 Dietary Guidelines also recommend limiting the intake of added sugars, saturated and trans fats, and sodium. “It is more important than ever that Americans have a source of clear science-based information about diet. The 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans makes a clear step forward in providing Americans with science-based guidelines,” says ACC President Kim Allan Williams Sr., MD, FACC. Read more on ACC.org.


ACC Launches LAAO Registry to Track Use, Results of New Stroke Prevention Technology in AFib Patients
The ACC has launched a new LAAO Registry to capture data on a new class of medical devices used in left atrial appendage occlusion procedures, which will help assess real-world procedural indications and outcomes as well as short- and long-term safety of procedures and devices for closing the left atrial appendage. The registry will serve not only as the formal U.S. Food and Drug Administration-mandated post-approval study for the WATCHMAN device, but it is also expected to serve as a long-term clinical registry for all patients undergoing occlusion of the left atrial appendage, regardless of the device used.

Read more on ACC.org. Also check out a CardioSource WorldNews Interventions interview with Paul Varosy, MD, FACC, the lead physician for the data set development work group for the LAAO Registry.

Focused Update of ACC/AHA Lipid Performance Measures Stress Shared Decision-Making
Updated performance measures for lipid management in secondary prevention were released Dec. 14 by the ACC and American Heart Association (AHA), and were published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. The updated measures place a greater emphasis on shared decision-making, and are based on the secondary prevention recommendations of the 2013 ACC/AHA Guideline on the Treatment of Blood Cholesterol to Reduce Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Risk in Adults. “These measures respect the wishes of patients regarding the use of statins and do not penalize physicians who may have a patient decline to take medications for personal reasons,” says Joseph P. Drozda Jr., MD, FACC, chair of the writing committee. “Integrating patient values, preferences and personal context with evidence-based medicine and guidelines is novel and changes the focus from recommending and prescribing statins based on evidence to promoting choice by an informed patient.” Read more.

Latest Issue of CardioSource WorldNews Interventions Examines the Focus on Stents at TCT
The cover story of the latest issue of CardioSource WorldNews Interventions examines findings presented at TCT, particularly the focus on stents at this year’s meeting. In an interview, Eric Bates, MD, FACC, discusses the 2015 ACC/AHA/SCAI Focused Update on Primary PCI for STEMI Patients and what it could mean moving forward. Paul Varosy, MD, FACC, was interviewed regarding the upcoming atrial fibrillation and left atrial appendage occlusion registries. The issue’s Peripheral Matters column examines the surgical and pharmacological treatment of peripheral artery disease. See the full issue at ACC.org/CSWNI.

Stakeholder Collaboration Key to Evolving Valve Management Strategies
Clinicians face several challenges in identifying and treating patients with valvular heart disease, particularly aortic stenosis and mitral regurgitation. To help better address these challenges, the College recently hosted a two-day Evolving Heart Valve Management Strategies Roundtable that brought together experts from 28 organizations representing a wide variety of medical specialties, industry, patients, integrated health systems and other stakeholder groups. Roundtable participants were tasked with reviewing existing research regarding the evaluation and management of VHD, identifying gaps in care, and finding ways to integrate current evidence with tools and resources that can improve care and outcomes for VHD patients. Read more on the ACC in Touch Blog.

Learn How to Enhance Quality Improvement at NCDR.16
Practice quality improvement efforts, quality reporting and value-based reimbursement are here to stay, and will play a critical role in provider payment models moving forward. The ACC’s NCDR Annual Conference (NCDR.16) held immediately prior to ACC’s Annual Scientific Session in Chicago, IL, offers a unique opportunity for physicians and other cardiovascular professionals  to learn more about the College’s clinical registry programs and how they can be leveraged to meet growing quality improvement requirements. The two-day meeting, held March 31 – April 1, 2016, will offer registry-specific workshops on topics ranging from how to access and interpret outcome reports and dashboard data, to  proper input of challenging data elements and understanding registry metrics. Inter-professional workshops will also cover topics such as how to build a quality improvement team and how to implement quality improvement programs. Over 1,000 registry professionals, quality experts, physicians and administrators from across the country are expected to attend. Learn more and register for NCDR.16 at CVQuality.ACC.org/NCDRAnnualConference.

JACC Leadership Page: Medical Research and Innovation Policy
In a recent Leadership Page published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, Benjamin Z. Galper, MD, MPH, and ACC Immediate Past President Patrick T. O’Gara, MD, MACC, discuss ACC’s main objectives concerning research funding and policy: increasing the availability of funding for research, removing barriers to clinical research, and developing a learning health system. “Much work lies ahead and the actions of many others will be needed to achieve our aims. The identification of these three objectives is just the first step in the process ... We look forward to achieving the ultimate goal of better outcomes for cardiovascular patients,” they write. Read more.

Top Advocacy and Health Policy News

Senate HELP Committee Approves Nomination of Robert M. Califf, MD, MACC, For FDA Commissioner
On Jan. 12, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee approved by voice vote the nomination of Robert M. Califf, MD, MACC, as U.S. Food and Drug Administrator (FDA) commissioner. During the committee voting session, Committee Chair Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) pointed to Califf's extensive clinical trial and research experience. "So you understand how research gets done in the real world, where there are opportunities for the FDA to help address challenges, and where the FDA needs to get out of the way," said Alexander. The committee confirmation hearing, prior to the vote, provided an opportunity for Califf to share his vision for making the FDA a "partner in innovation, rather than a barrier." Califf, who currently serves as the FDA Deputy Commissioner for Medical Products and Tobacco, was nominated for commissioner by President Barack Obama in September 2015. Califf's pending nomination now requires confirmation by the full Senate.

ACC Comments on Common Rule
The ACC submitted comments to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on proposed changes to the Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects, also called the Common Rule. In its comments, the College stressed the importance of aligning and harmonizing with other government regulations affecting research; using individually identifiable information for secondary purposes without requiring notice in certain circumstances; requiring the use of a single institutional review board for multi-site research conducted in domestic institutions; extending the application of the Common Rule to all research conducted by institutions receiving federal funding, as well as all clinical trials; and developing a meaningful informed consent program that provides potential subjects the information that they need to make informed decisions. The letter underscored, "it is critical that we continue to push forward and enable research to occur in a manner that allows for innovative examinations but also protects research subjects from potential harms."

Medicare Payment Adjustment
According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services (CMS), 209,000 eligible professionals will be subject to penalties in 2016 under the Medicare Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program (Meaningful Use) for failing to demonstrate meaningful use. To avoid the penalties, eligible professionals must demonstrate meaningful use in either the Medicare EHR Incentive Program or the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program. The Agency recently released a fact sheet for eligible professionals on the Meaningful Use program with more information on the 2016 payment adjustment.

ACC Advocacy Is Shaping the Future of Cardiology
Through its advocacy efforts, the ACC builds relationships with Congress, federal government agencies, state legislative and regulatory bodies, private insurers and other policy making groups to advance the College's mission of improving heart health. In 2016, the College's advocacy priorities include creating a value-driven health care system; ensuring patient access to care and cardiovascular practice stability; promoting the use of clinical data to improve care; fostering research and innovation in cardiovascular care; and improving population health and preventing cardiovascular disease. Member participation in advocacy efforts is crucial to shaping the future of cardiology. See how ACC members are ensuring cardiology's voice is heard at the local, state and national level. Now is the time to get involved! Find out how you can make a difference by visiting ACC.org/Advocacy or emailing AdvocacyLeg@acc.org.

The Journey to Value-Based Payment Continues
In a new ACC in Touch Blog post, Paul Casale, MD, MPH, FACC, a member of ACC's Board of Trustees and chair of the Partners in Quality Subcommittee, gives an overview of the value-based payment landscape. Casale noted that "2015 was a pivotal year for the transition to value-based payment," given the repeal of the Sustainable Growth Rate and introduction of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA). "While the value-based payment landscape continues to evolve rapidly, the time is right to determine how ACC can more efficiently and effectively contribute to meet cardiologists' needs as new payment models are implemented," he said. Get a complete summary of "Measuring and Paying for Value in Cardiovascular Care: Past, Present and Future" and read about "Ensuring Value in a Value-Based Health System" and "A Micro View of MACRA" in recent Leadership Pages published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. The 2016 Cardiovascular Summit: Solutions for Thriving in a Time of Change, Feb. 18 – 20 in Las Vegas, NV, will provide an important forum for continued discussions on MACRA and new payment models. Register today!

Help Your Patients Make Informed Care Decisions
Patients, caregivers and other stakeholders can now search, compare and select hospitals via Find Your Heart a Home, a CardioSmart tool designed to connect cardiac patients and caregivers with the right hospital. This tool provides patients and caregivers with hospital cardiovascular information and publicly reported data to ensure that they understand the quality of care being provided in their area and help them make informed choices. Patients and caregivers rely on your expertise when making cardiac care decisions. Encourage them to use Find Your Heart a Home before they receive a diagnosis, when they receive a diagnosis, to learn more about your facility, or when they are in need of a cardiovascular service not available at your facility. Get started at FindYourHeartaHome.org.

Top Education and Career Growth News

ACC Impacts on MOC Process: Success But Still a Partial Victory
In a recent post on the ACC in Touch Blog, ACC’s Presidential Team provides a summary of the recent changes to the American Board of Internal Medicine’s (ABIM’s) Maintenance of Certification (MOC) process and discusses ACC’s recommendations for further changes. In a recent meeting with the ABIM, ACC’s Presidential Team “clearly communicated [the College’s] needs to ABIM in order to make the MOC process useful and effective for cardiologists, as well as for our patients.” They add that “heading into 2016, the College will continue to press ahead with efforts to turn these recommendations into reality … This remains an utmost priority for the College and we intend to prevail.” Check out ACC’s online MOC hub, as well as the ACC in Touch Blog, for complete information on all of the changes, as well as information on frequently asked questions on recertification. Read more on the ACC in Touch Blog.

Top Membership News

Is Your ACC Member Profile Up-To-Date?
The ACC wants to make sure it's sending members only the most relevant information. To that end, the College is encouraging all members to update their ACC profile, including contact information, specialty areas, clinical interest areas and practice information. Don’t miss out on the latest cardiovascular research, new clinical guidelines, advocacy updates, ACC news and member benefits. Update your profile online at ACC.org/MyProfile.

Digital ACC Resources

New Updates For ACC’s Clinical Mobile App Collection
The ACC has recently expanded the mobile clinical content and decision support tools for clinicians with three additions to its Clinical Mobile App Collection. 1) The new STS/ACC TAVR In-Hospital Mortality Risk App built to assist clinicians in determining the predicted in-hospital mortality risk of a patient who is considering TAVR as a treatment option for AVR; 2) The updated AnticoagEvaluator App that helps clinicians make well-informed decisions on antithrombotic therapy for non-valvular AF patients – in addition to an upgraded look, the app features up-to-date therapy options, renal-specific dosing advice, and expanded web access; 3) Content additions to the Guideline Clinical App, including the Executive Summary, 10 Points to Remember, and 19 related tools for the new 2015 Supraventricular Tachycardia Guideline. Find out more and download the apps at ACC.org/Apps.

Stay In Touch with the ACC via Social Media
Stay in touch with the ACC and the latest clinical and advocacy news through ACC in Touch.  ACCinTouch connects ACC members and those interested in cardiovascular news through popular social networking channels like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. Join each of these networks to connect with ACC members and those interested in cardiology. In addition to the ACC's main Twitter profile @ACCinTouch, the College also has a profile dedicated to advocacy-related news (@Cardiology). CardioSmart, the ACC's patient education and support program, also has patient-centered cardiovascular news available through Facebook, Twitter (@CardioSmart), and YouTube. For more information about ACC’s social media channels, visit ACC.org/ACCinTouch.

ACC Archived Webinars
Did you know that you can find archived webinars from throughout the years from the ACC on ACC.org? As a member, you have access to this wealth of information here. To access them, you must have an ACC.org log-in and use the confirmation code and webinar access link emailed to you once you. Questions? Contact ACC’s Resource Center at Phone: 202-375-6000, ext. 5603 or 800-253-4636, ext. 5603 or resource@acc.org.

Download ACC’s Advocacy Action Mobile App
Be sure to download the ACC Advocacy Action mobile app to get easy access to ACC's advocacy priorities and timely talking points to share during congressional visits. The app was designed to help members engage with lawmakers and influence health policy. Download it today on iTunes (iPhone, iPad) and Google Play (Android devices).

December 2015

Top Science and Quality News:

LBCTs for ACC.16 Due Jan. 7, 2016
The ACC is now accepting Late-Breaking Clinical Trial submissions for consideration for presentation at ACC.16. Submissions will be accepted in any of the following categories:

  • Major Study
  • Smaller Study/Randomized Clinical Trial
  • Multi-center Observational Study or Registry
  • Secondary Analysis of Major Clinical Trial
  • Other

ACC.16 will feature 5 LBCT sessions, including 3 sessions which will be co-sponsored by the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC), the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) and the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM). Each accepted submission will be considered for JACC Rapid Review and publication in JACCJAMA and NEJMThe deadline for submissions is Thursday, Jan. 7, 2016 at 11:59 p.m. ET. For additional information please read the full Submission Instructions and Policies and Procedures prior to submitting your Late-Breaking Clinical Trial.

Advisory Group Report Provides Deep Dive on ACC Public Reporting Efforts
A recent ACC Advisory published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology describes the public reporting efforts from the ACC and its partners, including the benefits, challenges and what to expect from the data. The ACC developed a public reporting pathway in an effort to allow individuals to obtain information about the care they are likely to receive at an institution. Hospitals across the U.S. are now voluntarily reporting their NCDR data on several measures related to percutaneous coronary intervention and implantable cardioverter defibrillator procedures through FindYourHeartaHome.org, powered by ACC's CardioSmart. In addition to enabling patients to identify the best institution for their needs, public reporting incentivizes clinicians and health care organizations to improve quality of care, the authors note. Read more on ACC.org. Additionally, a recent U.S. News and World Report article called ACC's public reporting program an "initial step toward transformational transparency." Hospitals can opt in to publicly report at any point; hospitals that choose not to publicly report will be listed as "not participating" with ACC public reporting. Learn more about participating in public reporting.

TVT Registry Report Shows Positive Outcomes For Evolving TAVR Procedure
Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) continues to evolve, and remains “safe and effective,” according to an annual STS/ACC TVT Registry report published Nov. 30 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC). The report provides an overview of current U.S. TAVR practice and trends, and includes the 26,414 TAVR procedures performed from Jan. 1, 2012 through Dec. 31, 2014 at 348 centers enrolled in the STS/ACC TVT Registry. Patients were elderly, with a mean age of 82 years, had multiple comorbidities, were highly symptomatic, were often frail, and had poor self-reported health status. Read more here.

ACC/AHA Statement on Aortic Dilatation in Patients With Bicuspid Aortic Valves Released
A statement of clarification has been issued by the ACC and the American Heart Association (AHA), with endorsement from other societies, regarding differences between two guidelines that address the risk of aortic dissection in patients with bicuspid aortic valves and severe aortic enlargement. The statement was released Dec. 4 and published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. It clarifies differences in the 2010 ACCF/AHA/AATS/ACR/ASA/SCA/SCAI/SIR/STS/SVM Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Patients with Thoracic Aortic Disease and the 2014 AHA/ACC Guideline for the Management of Patients with Valvular Heart Disease, which differ in regard to the recommended threshold of aortic root or ascending aortic dilatation that would justify surgical intervention in patients with bicuspid aortic valves. Read more on ACC.org.

Learn How to Enhance Quality Improvement at NCDR.16
Practice quality improvement efforts, quality reporting and value-based reimbursement are here to stay, and will play a critical role in provider payment models moving forward. The ACC’s NCDR Annual Conference (NCDR.16) held immediately prior to ACC’s Annual Scientific Session in Chicago, IL, offers a unique opportunity for physicians and other cardiovascular professionals  to learn more about the College’s clinical registry programs and how they can be leveraged to meet growing quality improvement requirements. The two-day meeting, held March 31 – April 1, 2016, will offer registry-specific workshops on topics ranging from how to access and interpret outcome reports and dashboard data, to  proper input of challenging data elements and understanding registry metrics. Inter-professional workshops will also cover topics such as how to build a quality improvement team and how to implement quality improvement programs. Over 1,000 registry professionals, quality experts, physicians and administrators from across the country are expected to attend. Learn more and register for NCDR.16 at CVQuality.ACC.org/NCDRAnnualConference.

Top Advocacy and Health Policy News

JACC Leadership Page: A Micro View of MACRA, How the ACC and NCDR Will Help Members Navigate Radical Changes Ahead
In a recent Leadership Page published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, Kim Allan Williams Sr., MD, FACC, president of the ACC, along with Paul N. Casale, MD, MPH, FACC, a member of the ACC Board of Trustees, and William J. Oetgen, MD, MBA, FACC, executive vice president of Science, Education and Quality for the ACC, discuss the Medicare and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA), which was signed into law on April 16, and is the result of more than a decade of collaboration between medical societies to repeal the Sustainable Growth Rate formula. They examine ways in which the College, particularly through the NCDR, will prepare members for MACRA. “The time is now for all ACC members to be certain that they are participants in at least one of the NCDR registry programs and to become familiar with their NCDR data,” they write. Read more. A MACRA issue brief is also available on ACC.org. The 2016 Cardiovascular Summit: Solutions for Thriving in a Time of Change, Feb. 18 – 20 in Las Vegas, NV, will provide an important forum for continued discussions on MACRA and new payment models. Register on ACC.org

ACC in Touch Blog Focuses on the Responsibility and Power of Advocacy
Fellow-in-Training and Adult Congenital Pediatric Cardiology section member, Ada Stefanescu, MD, discusses the critical importance of the voice of cardiovascular professionals as advocates in a Nov. 24 post on the ACC in Touch blog. She specifically talks about how advocacy has made an impact on congenital heart disease patients ineligible for Medicaid or state insurance plans via the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Read Stefanescu’s post here.

Top Education and Career Growth News

ABIM MOC Deadline Approaching
For the majority of American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) diplomates, the two-year deadline to earn Maintenance of Certification (MOC) points is Dec. 31. In order to be classified as “Participating in MOC,” diplomates must earn some MOC points prior to this date. For information about your personal MOC status please visit ABIM’s website. ACC members have access to wide-array of ABIM-approved resources and educational activities to help earn MOC points in time for the deadline, as well as throughout the year. ACC tools include ACC’s MOC Collection with modules in general cardiology/prevention, imaging, interventional cardiology, electrophysiology, valvular heart disease and more; ACC’s Patient Safety MOC Module; ACC Journal Club; ACCSAP® 8; CathSAP® 4; and EchoSAP® 7. Learn more about ABIM’s MOC program in the MOC Information Hub on ACC.org.

Top Membership News

ACC in Touch Blog Features Perspective from New Faculty Cardiology and New Mom
In a Dec. 9 ACC in Touch Blog piece, Monika Sanghavi, MD, of Dallax, TX and the ACC Women in Cardiology section shares her perspective on a year of dual responsibilities and roles: cardiologist and new mom. “As I continue to work to create order in this storm of change, I routinely get advice from those who have fared similar waters in the past and take solace that so many amazing women have figured out a way to create a balance in their lives that allow them to ‘do their best,’ Sanghavi writes. “I think ‘doing it all’ may be an unrealistic expectation created by a society that we naively are trying to achieve.” Read her entire post here.

Is Your ACC Member Profile Up-To-Date?
The ACC wants to make sure it's sending members only the most relevant information. To that end, the College is encouraging all members to update their ACC profile, including contact information, specialty areas, clinical interest areas and practice information. Don’t miss out on the latest cardiovascular research, new clinical guidelines, advocacy updates, ACC news and member benefits. Update your profile online at ACC.org/MyProfile.

Population Health, Prevention and Patient Audience News

Latest Issue of Cardiology Explores Population Health
The cover story in the latest issue of Cardiology magazine explores population health, one of ACC’s strategic priorities and the focus of a recent retreat at Heart House. Check out an exclusive interview with Kim A. Eagle, MD, MACC, editor of ACC.org. Learn more about Pamela Bowe Morris, MD, FACC’s lifelong passion for fitness and health nutrition; explore state level efforts to improve cardiovascular health; and more. Get the full issue at ACC.org/Cardiology.

ACC Infographic Provides Closer Look at the Cost of Lighting Up
Last month, November 2015, marked Smoking Cessation Month which provides an important opportunity to discuss the impacts of smoking on cardiovascular health. The ACC aims to promote smoking cessation by providing health care providers and their patients with information on the ‘Cost of Lighting Up,’ including national and global statistics on smoking and cardiovascular disease. Download the infographic at ACC.org/Infographics. More patient resources for smoking cessation can be found on CardioSmart.org.

Digital ACC Resources

Stay In Touch with the ACC via Social Media
Stay in touch with the ACC and the latest clinical and advocacy news through ACC in Touch.  ACCinTouch connects ACC members and those interested in cardiovascular news through popular social networking channels like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. Join each of these networks to connect with ACC members and those interested in cardiology. In addition to the ACC's main Twitter profile @ACCinTouch, the College also has a profile dedicated to advocacy-related news (@Cardiology). CardioSmart, the ACC's patient education and support program, also has patient-centered cardiovascular news available through Facebook, Twitter (@CardioSmart), and YouTube. For more information about ACC’s social media channels, visit ACC.org/ACCinTouch.

ACC Archived Webinars
Did you know that you can find archived webinars from throughout the years from the ACC on ACC.org? As a member, you have access to this wealth of information here. To access them, you must have an ACC.org log-in and use the confirmation code and webinar access link emailed to you once you. Questions? Contact ACC’s Resource Center at Phone: 202-375-6000, ext. 5603 or 800-253-4636, ext. 5603 or resource@acc.org.

Download ACC’s Advocacy Action Mobile App
Be sure to download the ACC Advocacy Action mobile app to get easy access to ACC's advocacy priorities and timely talking points to share during congressional visits. The app was designed to help members engage with lawmakers and influence health policy. Download it today on iTunes (iPhone, iPad) and Google Play (Android devices).

November 2015

Top Science and Quality News:

Hospitals Nationwide Begin Reporting PCI and ICD Measure Results
Hospitals across the country are now voluntarily reporting their results on several measures related to percutaneous coronary intervention and implantable cardioverter defibrillator procedures. CathPCI Registry® hospitals and ICD Registry™ hospitals that volunteered to participate in the ACC's public reporting program have their results posted on FindYourHeartaHome.org, powered by ACC's CardioSmart program. "Our hope is that by tracking and publicly reporting these measures we can raise awareness of variation where it exists and help to ensure consistent, evidence-based care is provided across the U.S.," said ACC President Kim Allan Williams, Sr., MD, FACC. Hospitals can opt in to publicly report at any point by submitting a data consent form for the CathPCI Registry and/or ICD Registry. Hospitals that choose not to publicly report will be listed as "not participating" with ACC public reporting. Read more on ACC.org. Patient-focused information on the measures is available at FindYourHeartaHome.org.

Physicians Can Track Care with Confidential CathPCI Physician Dashboard
Did you know that ACC members affiliated with NCDR CathPCI Registry hospitals can use the CathPCI Registry Physician Dashboard to track and improve the quality of care provided to patients? The free dashboard, which can be accessed securely through ACC.org, allows physicians to privately view their registry data including appropriateness of percutaneous coronary interventions, volume of cases treated, observed and expected mortality, door-to-balloon times and vascular complications. It also allows comparisons to other CathPCI Registry physicians in aggregate. In addition to raising awareness of performance, the dashboard can also help physicians earn Maintenance of Certification Part IV credit. Learn more at ACC.org/PhysicianDashboard.

Check Out ACC’s Diabetes-Related Tools and Resources
As November kicks off Diabetes Awareness Month, the ACC has a growing number of tools and resources for clinicians to help prevent and treat this disease. The Diabetes Collaborative Registry – the first global, cross-specialty clinical registry – is designed to help track and improve the quality of diabetes and cardiometabolic medicine across the primary care and specialty care continuum. Joining is free and the process is even easier for practices already participating in the PINNACLE Registry. The College also has a number of Cardiometabolic initiatives, including online clinical topic hubs focused on Dyslipedemia and Diabetes and Cardiometabolic Disease designed to keep clinicians up-to-date on news, trends and clinical guidelines. Additionally, ACC’s CardioSmart initiative offers several patient resources, including infographics and educational factsheets. ACC President Kim Allan Williams Sr., MD, FACC, talks about these resources and more in a recent blog post. Read more>>>


NQF Now Accepting Public Comments on CV Measures 2015 Phase Three Project
The National Quality Forum (NQF) is seeking public comments until Monday, Nov. 23, on 23 cardiovascular measures. Eight of the 23 measures were submitted by the ACC. Of these, three were submitted solely by the ACC, and five were co-developed by the ACC/American Heart Association (AHA) Task Force on Performance Measures and the American Medical Association Physician Consortium for Performance Improvement (AMA PCPI). The public comment period provides an opportunity for members of the cardiovascular community and other stakeholders to play an active role in the development of performance measures that could have a direct impact on hospitals and physician practices. The ACC, solely and through work with other organizations, including AHA and the AMA PCPI, has committed significant resources over the years to both developing and testing cardiovascular measures. We encourage you to submit comments via the NQF website by the Nov. 23 deadline. In order to comment on the measures, you must have an NQF log in. If you do not have one, you can set one up here. Learn more and see a list of the eight measures submitted by the ACC on ACC.org. Email comment@acc.org with questions.

Surviving MI Webinar: Cardiology Presence Around the Clock
Everyone knows that continuous cardiology coverage is essential, but may not be feasible for most hospitals due to financial resources needed and/or inadequate supply of cardiologists. During the next Surviving MI webinar on Dec. 3 from 12-1 p.m. ET, experts will address this pressing issue and provide participants with solutions they can implement at their respective hospitals. The webinar will include a panel discussion with perspectives from rural, urban and academic settings. The session will be moderated by Richard Kovacs, MD, FACC, and will feature presentations by Eric Bates, MD, FACC, John Brush, MD, FACC, and Susan Farkas, MD, FACC. There will also be a live Q&A session where participants can ask the presenters questions. Register now.

Roundtable Discusses Periprocedural Management of Anticoagulation and Management of Bleeding
Anticoagulation management is a rapidly-evolving field, presenting challenges to clinicians across a broad range of specialties. With new reversal agents on the horizon, there is a critical need for guidance. In an effort to better guide clinicians to address the evolving challenges of anticoagulation care, the ACC brought together a number of stakeholders across the health care spectrum for its third Anticoagulation Consortium Roundtable this past weekend. ACC President Kim Allan Williams Sr., MD, FACC, discusses the outcomes of the Roundtable in a recent post on the ACC in Touch Blog. Some of the topics being addressed during the meeting were: periprocedural management of anticoagulation, including the BRIDGE Trial; tools and resources available to help clinicians offer better anticoagulation care; bleed management within the hospital; as well as the reversal agents in development. Read more on the ACC in Touch Blog.

Latest Issue of CardioSource WorldNews: Examines Advances in Miniaturization
The cover story in the latest issue of CardioSource WorldNews focuses on the “fantastic journey” of miniaturization in technology, with references to the Micra® Transcatheter Pacing System, the REVEAL LINQ insertable cardiac monitor, adhesive heart monitors and other advances in technological miniaturization. In a conversation with the Pacific Heart Institute, a cardiology group in Southern California that provides a full range of cardiovascular disease management services, Katy Reed and Tessa Kerby of ECG Management Consultants examine the Institute’s “enhanced access” hybrid concierge program and other innovative practices. Additional articles include a piece with Steven E. Nissen, MD, MACC, in which he discusses what the approval of PCSK9 Inhibitors could mean for the future of lipid treatment. The issue’s featured ACCEL article explores the need for innovation in the treatment of atrial fibrillation. Read the full issue here.

Top Advocacy and Health Policy News

CMS Releases Final 2016 Physician Fee Schedule and Hospital Outpatient Rules: Last week, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released two final regulations of note to cardiovascular professionals. These rules determine the payment levels and associated policies for services provided under the Physician Fee Schedule and the Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System. Consistent with the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015, physicians will see a 0.5 percent formula increase on Jan. 1. Unrelated payment formula changes result in an estimate that payment for cardiology services will neither increase nor decrease from 2015 to 2016. However, this estimate is based on the entire universe of cardiology services and can vary widely depending on the mix of services provided in a practice. Also of note, CMS will delay the requirement that clinicians ordering advanced imaging services (i.e., CT, MR, SPECT) consult with AUC through a qualified clinical decision support mechanism starting on Jan. 1, 2017. CMS will issue additional regulations on this program in the 2017 and 2018 rulemaking cycles. The Agency also finalized with modifications the process for selecting AUC developed by national professional medical specialty societies and other provider-led entities for the AUC consultation requirement that will apply to professionals ordering advanced imaging services. Additional details on the final rules are available on ACC.org. More information will be forthcoming as ACC Advocacy staff review and analyze the regulations.

Questions About ICD-10 Claims?
Have questions about processing and billing ICD-10 claims? Check out CMS' Frequently Asked Questions page for more information on ICD-10 coding, national coverage determinations and more. Visit the ICD-10 Medicare Fee-For-Service Provider Resources web page for a complete list of Medicare Learning Network educational materials.

JACC Leadership Page: Legislative Conference and What’s Next for ACC Advocacy
In a recent Leadership Page published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, ACC President Kim Allan Williams Sr., MD, FACC, reflects on ACC’s Legislative Conference, held October 18-20 in Washington, DC, and looks at what’s ahead in health policy. Williams discusses the importance of lowering health care costs, a cardiovascular team-based care approach and engagement in advocacy. With the repeal of the Sustainable Growth Rate, “the College now has an opportunity to be more forward-thinking in discussions with lawmakers,” he writes. Read more.

FDA Update on Tobacco Sales to Minors
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced on Oct. 29 that it will take action against retailers that have repeatedly sold tobacco products to minors, initiating the first-ever No-Tobacco-Sale Order actions. According to the announcement, a No-Tobacco-Sale Order can be pursued after a total of five or more repeated violations of the restrictions on the sale and distribution of tobacco within 36 months. If the FDA's No-Tobacco-Sale Order goes into effect, the eight retailers will be prohibited from selling regulated tobacco products for 30 days.

Top Education and Career Growth News

Expert Journal Club Faculty Discussion of Triple Therapy Among Older Patients With Acute MI and AFib Now Available Online.
The October ACC Journal Club discussion is now available online. Click here to view slides and hear experts discuss the “Use and Outcomes of Triple Therapy Among Older Patients With Acute Myocardial Infarction (MI) and Atrial Fibrillation (AFib),” published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Visit ACC.org/ACCJournalClub to view the article, learn more about the program, and access a past collection of Journal Club recordings and articles. Also, take the Journal Club 2014 activity to earn 2 AMA PRA Category 1 CME Credits™ per month and up to 10 MOC II points! The activity includes links to past webinars and articles – including PARADIGM-HF, HPS2-THRIVE, INVEST and more – as well as three multiple choice questions per session. Start the activity here.

Membership

ACC Member Renewals are Due Dec. 10!
Renew your ACC membership today and continue their access to tools and benefits that help them stay up-to-date on the latest in the field and navigate practice change. With 300+ educational opportunities online, five JACC journals and resources to help members improve patient care, the ACC is the best investment a CV professional can make in their career. And with representation across governmental and professional forums, the ACC is an advocate for you and your members’ interests, championing the priorities that matter to cardiovascular team members and patients alike. Renew online at ACC.org/Dues  or by calling the Resource Center at +1 202-375-6000, ext. 5603.

Is Your ACC Member Profile Up-To-Date?
The ACC wants to make sure it's sending members only the most relevant information. To that end, the College is encouraging all members to update their ACC profile, including contact information, specialty areas, clinical interest areas and practice information. Don’t miss out on the latest cardiovascular research, new clinical guidelines, advocacy updates, ACC news and member benefits. Update your profile online at ACC.org/MyProfile.

Population Health, Prevention and Patient Audience News

JACC Leadership Page: Health Care in Transition, Primary Prevention and Health Disparities in Focus
In a recent Leadership Page published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC), Robert A. Shor, MD, FACC, chair of ACC’s Board of Governors (BOG), and Michael Mansour, MD, FACC, immediate-past chair of the BOG, discuss ways ACC Chapters can make a difference in tackling the burden of cardiovascular disease around the world, such as supporting the World Health Organization’s goal of a 25 percent reduction in non-communicable diseases by 2025. According to Shor and Mansour, “ACC chapters can play leading roles in supporting ways to address population health in a manner that improves health and lowers the cost of health care delivery.” Read more.

Digital ACC Resources

Home Improvements: ACC.org Keeps Getting Better
Several enhancements have recently been made to the College’s online home, ACC.org. From new tools that make it easier to find specific types of content within the Latest in Cardiology feed, to faster access to the latest Journal of the American College of Cardiology journal articles and popular editor-in-chief audio summaries, ACC.org is evolving to meet the needs of cardiovascular professionals. In a recent post on the ACC in Touch Blog, Kim A. Eagle, MD, MACC,editor-in-chief of ACC.org, highlights the recent updates and the website’s popular personalization options such as email digests featuring the latest ACC.org content and customization options for the homepage “Recommended For You” news feed. Read more.

Stay In Touch with the ACC via Social Media
Stay in touch with the ACC and the latest clinical and advocacy news through ACC in Touch.  ACCinTouch connects ACC members and those interested in cardiovascular news through popular social networking channels like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. Join each of these networks to connect with ACC members and those interested in cardiology. In addition to the ACC's main Twitter profile @ACCinTouch, the College also has a profile dedicated to advocacy-related news (@Cardiology). CardioSmart, the ACC's patient education and support program, also has patient-centered cardiovascular news available through Facebook, Twitter (@CardioSmart), and YouTube. For more information about ACC’s social media channels, visit ACC.org/ACCinTouch.

ACC Archived Webinars
Did you know that you can find archived webinars from throughout the years from the ACC on ACC.org? As a member, you have access to this wealth of information here. To access them, you must have an ACC.org log-in and use the confirmation code and webinar access link emailed to you once you. Questions? Contact ACC’s Resource Center at Phone: 202-375-6000, ext. 5603 or 800-253-4636, ext. 5603 or resource@acc.org.

Download ACC’s Advocacy Action Mobile App
Be sure to download the ACC Advocacy Action mobile app to get easy access to ACC's advocacy priorities and timely talking points to share during congressional visits. The app was designed to help members engage with lawmakers and influence health policy. Download it today on iTunes (iPhone, iPad) and Google Play (Android devices).

October 2015

Top Science and Quality News:

Check Out Complete TCT 2015 Coverage on ACC.org
In case you missed it, the ACC provided coverage of the hottest trials that came out of the 2015 Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics (TCT) meeting in San Francisco. To view all of the latest science – including RIVER-PCI; BRAVO 3, and more – visit ACC.org/TCT. Check out the TCT 2015 simultaneous publications in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC) and JACC: Cardiovascular Interventions for more interventional science. Now that the conference is over stay up-to-date on the latest science with ACC's Invasive CV Angiography and Intervention Clinical Topic Collection.

Societies Release Statement on the Future of Clinical Registries
While there has been a rapid increase in the number of clinical registries over the past decade, there are still broad clinical areas and specific procedures that would benefit from the creation of a dedicated registry, according to a “Statement on the Future of Registries and the Performance Measurement Enterprise,” released Oct. 2 by the ACC, the American Heart Association and the Society of Thoracic Surgeons, and simultaneously published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. The statement examines the current state of clinical registries while acknowledging their future growth potential. “Registries can support the development, implementation, and evaluation of performance measures as tools for improving patient care and communicating meaningful information to patients regarding quality,” says Deepak L. Bhatt, MD, MPH, FACC, chair of the writing committee. Read more on ACC.org.

ACC Public Reporting Opportunity Now Available for CathPCI Registry and ICD Registry Hospitals
All hospitals participating in the NCDR’s CathPCI Registry and/or ICD Registry now have the opportunity to review and voluntarily report their results on several registry-specific measures. Hospitals that choose to participate in this effort will have their rating posted on CardioSmart.org, ACC’s patient education and empowerment initiative starting in late October or early November. The ACC encourages eligible hospitals to take advantage of this opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to transparency and quality improvement. Learn more about this public reporting opportunity and how to enroll. Additionally, a Data Quality Checklist is now available to help NCDR hospitals ensure that all steps in their data management process produce complete, accurate, reliable and valid data. The checklist is accessible via the Quality Improvement for Institutions Clinical Toolkits page (select “Public Reporting Toolkit”). This tool is part of a new Public Reporting Toolkit designed to help NCDR hospitals improve on overall quality and performance for all registries, as well as publicly reported ICD Registry and CathPCI Registry metrics.

New ACC/AHA/HRS Guideline Addresses Management of SVT
To aid clinicians in treating SVT and distinguishing it from other disorders, on Sept. 23 the ACC, the American Heart Association (AHA) and the Heart Rhythm Society (HRS) released the “2015 Guideline for the Management of Adult Patients With Supraventricular Tachycardia” (SVT). The document, which supersedes the 2003 guideline, contains the most updated consensus of clinicians with broad expertise related to SVT and its treatment. To coincide with the guideline, the ACC has developed an SVT Diagnosis and Treatment Tool to help clinicians quickly diagnose the type of SVT a patient presents with and ensure they consistently follow a prescribed algorithm for treatment of the condition. To view all of the SVT resources, including the SVT Diagnosis and Treatment Tool; Slide Set; Key Points to Remember; and CardioSmart Patient Resource, visit ACC.org. On Sept. 23 the ACC/American Heart Association Task Force on Clinical Practice Guidelines also released a report explaining the changes to the latest recommendation classification system, which have been integrated into the 2015 SVT guideline, and better align with the Institute of Medicine’s 2011 recommendations. Learn more on ACC.org.

ACC/AHA Statement on Latest Guideline Recommendation Classification System
The ACC and American Heart Association (AHA) Guideline Recommendation Classification System continues to become more precise and rely more heavily on high-quality evidence, according to a statement from the ACC/AHA Task Force on Clinical Practice Guidelines, published Sept. 23 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
The statement explains changes to the latest recommendation classification system, which have been integrated into the “ACC/AHA/HRS 2015 Guideline on the Management of Patients With Supraventricular Tachycardia,” and better align with the Institute of Medicine’s 2011 recommendations.
Read more on ACC.org.

IHE Connectathon Registration is Open
The Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE) Connectathon is a cross-vendor, live, supervised and structured testing event attended by more than 100 participating vendors and more than 550 engineers and information technology (IT) architects. These experts will meet in Cleveland, OH, Jan. 25—29 for one full week of interoperability testing and problem resolution. IHE is a unique collaboration of health care professionals and industry focused on improving the way computer systems in health care share information. The ACC has partnered with IHE to develop cardiology profiles for cardiac catheterization, echocardiography and stress testing workflows, electrocardiogram retrieval, implantable device cardiac observations, and cardiovascular displayable reports. Registration is now open.

ACC Think Tank Brings Together Experts to Discuss Combination Therapy and ASCVD Risk Reduction
In view of recent evidence of the benefit of non-statin therapy and the emergence of PCSK9 inhibitors, clinicians are faced with a number of important issues when considering combination therapy in high-risk patients. To address these issues, representatives from medical specialty societies and other stakeholder groups attended the LDL: Address the Risk Think Tank in September at ACC’s headquarters.Christie M. Ballantyne, MD, FACC, and Kim Birtcher, MS, PharmD, AACC, discuss the outcomes of the Think Tank in a recent post on the ACC in Touch Blog. Some of the topics being addressed during the Think Tank were combination therapy and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) risk reduction; considerations for using non-statin therapy; as well as clinical strategies for managing muscle-related symptoms on statin therapy and the role of non-statin therapies in statin intolerance. Read more on the ACC in Touch Blog.

Top Advocacy and Health Policy News

Annual Legislative Conference ACC's Congressional Asks
Nearly 400 ACC members attending Legislative Conference on Oct. 18 -- 20 in Washington, DC urged Congress to:

  1. Cosponsor H.R. 3355/S. 488, a bill that would expand access to cardiac rehabilitation by allowing physician assistants, nurse practitioners and clinical nurse specialists to supervise cardiac, intensive cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation programs.

  2. Utilize the expertise and experience of medical specialty societies to promote the usability of electronic health records by care team members.

  3. Support new funding for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and National Institutes of Health at the levels provided in the House-passed 21st Century Cures Act.

  4. As the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) is implemented, work with medical specialty societies and federal agencies to develop alternative payment models that allow clinicians to provide the most effective and efficient care to their patients.

The ACC is always focused on other issues on the horizon that impact providers and patients, including site of service, in-office ancillary services exception, graduate medical education, pediatric care, generic and prescription drug affordability and access. For more on ACC’s Legislative Conference, follow @Cardiology on Twitter or head to the ACC in Touch Blog for full event coverage.

Meaningful Use Regulations Released
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology have released two final rules that align all three stages of the Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program (also known as "Meaningful Use"). In addition to finalizing program requirements for the 2015-2017 reporting periods, the rules combine Meaningful Use into one single stage. According to the agencies, the alignment aims "to advance electronic health records with added simplicity and flexibility." While the ACC is a longtime advocate of EHRs as a way to improve the quality of patient care, the College has voiced its concerns with moving too quickly with Meaningful Use implementation. "Many of the requirements for Stage 2 proved unattainable," said ACC President Kim Allan Williams, Sr., MD, FACC, in response to the rules. "Large numbers of providers either haven't met them or, after trying and failing, have given up. That is why it is vital that CMS consider participation data from the current stage to see what is working and what isn't before outlining an upcoming stage. We cannot establish a long-term health care program that does not take into account what we can feasibly attain in the short-term, transitional period." The ACC will continue to work with CMS to determine how Meaningful Use will align with the new Merit-Based Incentive Payment System which will go into effect in 2017. The ACC is currently reviewing the rules and will formally weigh in during the 60-day comment period. Read more on ACC.org.

ACC Trustee Appointed to Advisory Committee
Paul N. Casale, MD, MPH, FACC, a member of ACC's Board of Trustees, was appointed to the new Physician-Focused Payment Model Technical Advisory Committee, created by MACRA. The 11 committee members, which were appointed by Gene L. Dodaro, the Comptroller General of the United States and head of the U.S. Government Accountability Office, will provide information and recommendations on physician payment models to the Secretary of Health and Human Services. "This committee will be a critical source of information and advice for the Secretary of Health and Human Services as the department considers new payment approaches for Medicare physician services," said Dodaro.

Top Education and Career Growth News

ACC Response to ABIM Report on Vision for Certification and MOC Programs in 2020
The American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) in September released a report entitled “A Vision for Certification in Internal Medicine in 2020,” that was drafted to inform the reshaping of ABIM's Certification and Maintenance of Certification (MOC) programs. It includes three key recommendations that are similar to those being proposed by the ACC on behalf of its members, as well as the rest of the internal medicine community. Specifically, the report proposes to: 1) replace the 10-year MOC exam with more frequent, less burdensome assessments; 2) focus assessments on cognitive and technical skills; and 3) recognize specialization. Read the full report here and read ACC’s statement in its entirety here.

Updated Training Requirements For Clinical EP Released
The duration of required training for clinical cardiac electrophysiology will increase to two years, and the volume of procedures trainees should perform prior to completing their fellowship will increase, according to an updated Advanced Training Statement released Sept. 18 by the ACC, the American Heart Association (AHA) and the Heart Rhythm Society (HRS), and published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. The statement complements the Core Cardiovascular Training Statement (COCATS 4), released earlier this year.
Read more on ACC.org.

Find a Mentor, Be a Mentor: Register for ACC’s Mentoring Program
The College’s online mentoring program, developed through the efforts of the Early Career Professionals Leadership Council and Section, is designed to help create and foster mutually beneficial mentor/mentee relationships. The program connects experienced cardiovascular professionals with younger professionals based on areas of interest, specialty and expertise. Register online and find out more at ACC.org/Mentoring.

Publications

Latest Issue of CardioSource WorldNews: Interventions Explores the Benefits of Miniaturization in Tech
The cover story in the latest issue of CardioSource WorldNews: Interventions reflects on the evolution and miniaturization of technology while highlighting the most recent innovations in interventional equipment, with specific mention of 3-dimensional imaging catheters, “the world’s smallest veno-arterial extra-corporeal membrane oxygenation system and stick-on heart monitors.” Other articles include a featured guest commentary, Gerard R. Martin, MD, FACC, and Jeffrey P. Jacobs, MD, FACC, discuss data transparency in regards to congenital heart disease, in addition to an interview with Rebecca Hahn, MD, FACC, about her recent paper in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, which reported on the first in-human successful transcatheter tricuspid valve repair. The issue’s featured ACCEL article examines the coronary slow flow phenomenon and coronary artery spasm. Read the full issue here.

Special Issue of Cardiology Focuses on ACC’s Member Sections
The cover story in the special issue of Cardiology magazine explores the importance of Member Sections in successfully powering ACC’s Strategic Plan. “Member Sections are powering the College forward and shaping the future of the cardiovascular field. They are the College’s answer to the ever-changing health care landscape and are the key to making the ACC the professional home for the entire cardiovascular team,” states ACC President Kim Allan Williams Sr., MD, FACC. This issue features highlights from each of the College’s Sections, including updates on the latest science, stories from members and challenges in clinical innovations. Read more about the Sections on ACC.org/Cardiology.

JACC: Basic Translational Research Now Accepting Manuscript Submissions For Publication
Manuscripts are now being accepted for the ACC’s first open-access journal, JACC: Basic Translational Research. Led by Editor-in-Chief Douglas L. Mann, MD, FACC, the new journal will focus on the best original research and review articles pertaining to basic, translational science. Submissions of original research and state-of-the-art reviews that span all areas of cardiology are encouraged. Experimental and pre-clinical work that directly relates to diagnostic or therapeutic interventions is encouraged. Cardiovascular research representing new and novel approaches from the first and second phases of translational research is of particular interest. Manuscripts accepted between now and March 2016 will receive 20% off the article processing charge.Don’t miss the first issue. Pre-register now to receive the JACC: Basic Translational Research e-Table of Contents when it is published later this year. Learn more at ACC.org/JACCBTR.

Membership

ACC Membership Renewal Due Dec. 10
The American College of Cardiology and your local Chapter are advanced forward by members like you. Your interests and your feedback help us to develop the necessary tools and resources that support you in your practice of cardiovascular medicine from your training through retirement, and we look forward to providing that support to you over the coming year in 2016. ACC membership renewals are due Dec. 10, and annual statements are now in the mail. We invite you to renew now at ACC.org/Dues or by calling ACC National’s Resource Center at 202-375-6000, ext. 5603.

Is Your ACC Member Profile Up-To-Date?
The ACC wants to make sure it's sending members only the most relevant information. To that end, the College is encouraging all members to update their ACC profile, including contact information, specialty areas, clinical interest areas and practice information. Don’t miss out on the latest cardiovascular research, new clinical guidelines, advocacy updates, ACC news and member benefits. Update your profile online at ACC.org/MyProfile.

Population Health, Prevention and Patient Audience News

ACC Celebrates World Heart Day; JACC Issue Promotes Population Health
In a post on the ACC in Touch Blog, John Gordon Harold, MD, MACC, past president of the ACC, and Gerard Martin, MD, FACC, chair of ACC’s Population Health Policy and Health Promotion Committee, discuss the outcomes of the recent United Nations (UN) Summit and the impact of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals on non-communicable diseases. Learn more about factors impacting cardiovascular disease in the Population Health Promotion issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Get a recap of the World Heart Day conversations on Twitter with the hashtags: #heartchoices #worldheartday. Read more on the ACC in Touch Blog.

‘I am CardioSmart’ Contest Now Accepting Entries
CardioSmart has launched the fourth annual “I am CardioSmart” contest to recognize individuals living well with heart disease. Six people with one of six conditions—heart attack, stroke, heart failure, atrial fibrillation, congenital heart defect and coronary artery disease—will be selected based on their inspiring journey to heart health as told through video or essay submissions. Encourage your patients to share their story for a chance to be featured on CardioSmart.org and inspire others to partner with their care team and take charge of their heart health. One grand prize winner selected by Facebook vote will win a trip for two to Chicago in April 2016 and a chance to share their story with ACC.16 attendees at a special event. The deadline for entries is Nov. 6. For more information, visit or direct your patients to www.cardiosmart.org/becardiosmart.

Free CardioSmart Webinar for Patients and Caregivers on Oct. 28
Join the “The CardioSmart Heart Forum” webinar on  Wednesday, Oct. 28 at 12 noon ET. This free webinar isthe first in a series of CardioSmart webinars and will feature Dr. Martha Gulati, editor-in-chief of CardioSmart presenting the inaugural program on Managing Heart Failure, which is geared towards patients and caregivers.  The program aims to teach attendees about the importance of managing HF through lifestyle changes and treatment options, as well as put the focus on the importance of the caregiver. Register and learn more here.

The ACC Offers Free AFib Tools and Resources
Living with atrial fibrillation (AFib) can be overwhelming for patients. Help your patients better understand what causes AFib and how it is treated with CardioSmart AFib poster for your waiting and exam rooms. Also, check out the ACC’s new AFib Shared Decision Making Tool to help guide treatment discussions around anticoagulation with non-valvular AFib patients. The College’s PINNACLE Registry is another useful tool that can help improve AFib outcomes by monitoring adherence to evidence-based guidelines over time. Finally, visit the Anticoagulation Management clinical topic hub on ACC.org for news, expert commentary and more. While there, sign up to receive regular email notifications when new content is posted.   

Important Digital ACC Resources

Stay In Touch with the ACC via Social Media
Stay in touch with the ACC and the latest clinical and advocacy news through ACC in Touch.  ACCinTouch connects ACC members and those interested in cardiovascular news through popular social networking channels like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. Join each of these networks to connect with ACC members and those interested in cardiology. In addition to the ACC's main Twitter profile @ACCinTouch, the College also has a profile dedicated to advocacy-related news (@Cardiology). CardioSmart, the ACC's patient education and support program, also has patient-centered cardiovascular news available through Facebook, Twitter (@CardioSmart), and YouTube. For more information about ACC’s social media channels, visit ACC.org/ACCinTouch.

ACC Archived Webinars
Did you know that you can find archived webinars from throughout the years from the ACC on ACC.org? As a member, you have access to this wealth of information here. To access them, you must have an ACC.org log-in and use the confirmation code and webinar access link emailed to you once you. Questions? Contact ACC’s Resource Center at Phone: 202-375-6000, ext. 5603 or 800-253-4636, ext. 5603 or resource@acc.org.

Download ACC’s Advocacy Action Mobile App
Be sure to download the ACC Advocacy Action mobile app to get easy access to ACC's advocacy priorities and timely talking points to share during congressional visits. The app was designed to help members engage with lawmakers and influence health policy. Download it today on iTunes (iPhone, iPad) and Google Play (Android devices).

September 2015

Overarching News:

2015 Legislative Conference Registration Now Open
Registration is open for the ACC’s 2015 Legislative Conference, which will take place Oct. 18-20 in Washington, DC. The conference will provide the inside scoop on regulatory changes, legislative action and the state of cardiology to empower ACC members to become effective advocates for patients and cardiovascular professionals. Don't miss this unique opportunity to hear directly from the experts who shape health policy, and meet directly with congressional leaders to share ways the cardiovascular community is providing quality, cost-effective, evidence-based care to millions of patients nationwide. You’re also invited to join your colleagues for a special ACC Political Action Committee-sponsored reception and dinner featuring Pulitzer Prize–winning syndicated columnist, political commentator and psychiatrist Charles Krauthammer, MD. Register now!

Top Advocacy and Health Policy News

ACC Calls for Changes to Meaningful Use Program
The ACC sent a letter to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia Burwell calling for HHS to finalize the proposed rule Modifications to Meaningful Use (MU) in 2015 – 2017. The College has urged the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology to reduce the 2015 reporting period. ACC Advocacy remains concerned that practices will not be able to meet the program requirements and the full year reporting period in 2015 amidst the uncertainty stemming from the absence of a final rule. The College also sent a letter of support for H.R. 3309, the Further Flexibility in HIT Reporting Act and Advancing Interoperability Act, or Flex-IT 2 Act, to further express the urgency with which the MU program changes need to be addressed, and to support legislative efforts to ensure forward progress and continued participation in the program.

ICD-10: What You Need to Know
On Oct. 1, all health care providers, health plans and health care clearinghouses are required to transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10. At this time, the new code set must be used to report both medical diagnoses and inpatient procedures. ICD-10 implementation will significantly change the way coding is done; the code-set will grow from its current 14,315 diagnosis codes to more than 69,099 codes. Since these changes will require significant effort to implement, it is necessary to ensure your practice is prepared. The ACC has gathered information and resources from ICD-10 experts, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and more to help you successfully implement ICD-10 in your practice. Visit ACC.org/ICD10 for information and resources to help you navigate the transition.

ACC Weighs in on FDA User Fee Programs
The ACC recently submitted comments to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regarding the reauthorizations of the Medical Device User Fee Act (MDUFA) and Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA), which are set to expire in 2017. In regards to PDUFA, the ACC recommends that the FDA advance regulatory science, modernize the drug safety system and incorporate patients and their input into the total product lifecycle. For MDUFA, the College stressed the importance of implementing the National Medical Device Post-market Surveillance System Planning Board, developing and maintaining medical device registries, identifying and using novel techniques for post-market surveillance, and drafting and implementing regulations and guidance to address issues pertaining to the uses of existing data sets for FDA-regulated activities. "The College welcomes the opportunities to discuss the potential for ongoing collaborations that would assist in the educational development of FDA staff who work on matters pertaining to cardiovascular disease. As such, the ACC urges the FDA to better leverage medical specialty societies and other similar organizations that can provide the Agency with access to world-class experts in all of these fields..." Last month, Richard J. Kovacs, MD, FACC, provided cardiology's perspective on PDUFA, and Frederic S. Resnic, MD, MSc, FACC, weighed in on the reauthorization of MDUFA during two FDA-convened meetings. Learn more about the MDUFA and PDUFA reauthorizations on ACC.org.

ACC Comments on Proposed 2016 Physician Fee Schedule, HOPPS Rules
The ACC has submitted comments to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on the 2016 Physician Fee Schedule Proposed Rule. ACC’s letter offers significant feedback regarding the rollout of appropriate use criteria requirements that begin in 2017, revisions to physician-self-referral regulations, ongoing updates to quality and value programs, and payment proposals of interest to ACC members. The College also submitted comments on the 2016 Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System Proposed Rule released by CMS in July. The ACC supported changes to the enforcement of the short inpatient stay or "two-midnight" policy that direct quality improvement organizations to work with hospitals to reduce short stay rates prior to turning any claims over for payment denial. The College opposed polices related to the continued expansion of packaged payment and comprehensive ambulatory payment classifications, cautioning the agency on the effect these policies may have on patient access to care. The comments also urged CMS to reconsider proposed changes to the imaging ambulatory payment classifications which impact hospital outpatient payment for cardiac MRI, PET, and SPECT services. Both final rules are expected on or around Nov. 1.

Top Education and Career Growth News

On-Demand Webinar: Team-Based Care
As we embark on value-based payment models, population health and disease management programs, team-based care will be an important shift in our delivery model. Team-based care requires a challenging transformation from the traditional doctor-with-helpers model to a new model in which all team members share responsibility to care for the team's patient population. Embarking on team-based care models enables us to provide higher quality care at a lower cost. Review an archive of a recent Team-Based Care and Transformation of Care. During the webinar, Ginger Biesbrock, PA-C, MPH, MPAS, AACC, and Robert Campbell, MD, FACC, cover the key components and structure of a highly effective team-based environment including the clinical, financial and governance perspectives.

Register Now Open For 2015 ACC In-Training Exam (ACC-ITE)
Participation in this program has been tremendous — more than 93 percent of all U.S. cardiology training programs took the 2014 exam. The 2015 In-Training Exam will take place on Oct. 20 and 21, and will continue to give training programs the data they need to benchmark their program, meet ACGME requirements, validate the need for curricula changes and provide educational counseling to their fellows. To learn more and register, click here or contact Julie Bainbridge at 202-375-6633 or jbainbri@acc.org.

Find a Mentor, Be a Mentor: Register for ACC’s Mentoring Program
The College’s online mentoring program, developed through the efforts of the Early Career Professionals Leadership Council and Section, is designed to help create and foster mutually beneficial mentor/mentee relationships. The program connects experienced cardiovascular professionals with younger professionals based on areas of interest, specialty and expertise. Register online and find out more at ACC.org/Mentoring.

Publications

JACC Leadership Page: Using Appropriate Use Criteria to Address Pre-Authorization
In a recent Leadership Page published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, Robert A. Shor, MD, chair of ACC’s Board of Governors, discusses solutions within appropriate use criteria (AUC) for understanding and addressing claims denials and pre-authorization issues. “We are approaching the radiology benefits management companies to help us understand what is occurring from their perspective in terms of denial rates, prior authorization processes, variation, and best practice,” states Shor. One solution may include ACC’s Focus Initiative, which helps providers better understand their imaging practices, identify areas for improvement and incorporate AUC at the point of care. “The College is looking forward to results from pilot efforts in several states that use FOCUS, either as a radiology benefits management alternative, or as part of an alternative payment model. If successful, these programs could lead to greater collaborations with payers, hospitals, state medical societies and other stakeholders.” Read more.

Latest Issue of Cardiology Explores 50 Years of Medicare and Medicaid
The cover story in the latest issue of Cardiology magazine explores the 50th anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid and the important roles both programs have played in the U.S. since their inception. This issue also highlights the innovative work of Rhonda Cooper-DeHoff, PharmD, MS, FACC, in pharmacotherapy and translational research, and Michael W. Rich, MD, FACC, in geriatric cardiology. Check out exclusive interviews with the editors of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology’s (JACC) sister journals and a look back from Valentin Fuster, MD, PhD, MACC, on his first year as editor-in-chief of JACC. Learn more about teaching the art and science of medicine from Rick A. Nishimura, MD, MACC; explore ACC’s testimony on Health Information Blocking at a Senate HELP Committee Hearing; and more. Get the full issue at ACC.org/Cardiology.

Latest Issue of CardioSource WorldNews Examines the Complexities Treating of Coexisting Ailments
The cover story of the latest issue of CardioSource WorldNews takes a closer look at the relationship between the heart and the kidneys and explores new efforts that are shedding light on the complex interaction between both organs. Also included is a profile on several new medications recently approved by the FDA for the treatment of heart failure and dyslipidemia that show tremendous promise for the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease. In the featured interview, Parash Sanders, MBBS, PhD, and Rajeev Pathak, MD, discuss the effects of obesity and sustained weight loss on the burden of atrial fibrillation, as well as the impact being made by the LEGACY (“Long-term Effect of Goal-directed, Weight Management in AF Cohort”) study. The issue’s ACC Extended Learning (ACCEL) interviews focus on the “Highly Difficult Lipoprotein,” or high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), and it’s role in therapy; questions surrounding the withdrawal of oral anticoagulation therapy; and ablation vs amiodarone for sufferers of both heart failure and atrial fibrillation. See the full issue at ACC.org/CSWN.

JACC Call For Papers: Cardiovascular Imaging in Women
Imaging may play a unique role in treating cardiovascular disease in women, yet significantly fewer studies assessing the application and accuracy of invasive and non-invasive imaging modalities in women exist compared to those focused on men. In an effort to raise awareness of this important issue, JACC: Cardiovascular Imaging is accepting submissions for papers focused on the role of imaging in understanding, diagnosing and treating cardiovascular disease in women. If accepted, papers will be published in a special issue slated for March 2016. Interested authors should submit their papers online at jaccsubmit-imaging.org by Oct. 1. On the submissions page, please select “Imaging in Women” from the “Special Issues” pull-down menu. Read more on ACC.org.

Membership

Is Your ACC Member Profile Up-To-Date?
The ACC wants to make sure it's sending members only the most relevant information. To that end, the College is encouraging all members to update their ACC profile, including contact information, specialty areas, clinical interest areas and practice information. Don’t miss out on the latest cardiovascular research, new clinical guidelines, advocacy updates, ACC news and member benefits. Update your profile online at ACC.org/MyProfile.

Important Digital ACC Resources

Stay In Touch with the ACC via Social Media
Stay in touch with the ACC and the latest clinical and advocacy news through ACC in Touch.  ACCinTouch connects ACC members and those interested in cardiovascular news through popular social networking channels like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. Join each of these networks to connect with ACC members and those interested in cardiology. In addition to the ACC's main Twitter profile @ACCinTouch, the College also has a profile dedicated to advocacy-related news (@Cardiology). CardioSmart, the ACC's patient education and support program, also has patient-centered cardiovascular news available through Facebook, Twitter (@CardioSmart), and YouTube. For more information about ACC’s social media channels, visit ACC.org/ACCinTouch.

ACC Archived Webinars
Did you know that you can find archived webinars from throughout the years from the ACC on ACC.org? As a member, you have access to this wealth of information here. To access them, you must have an ACC.org log-in and use the confirmation code and webinar access link emailed to you once you. Questions? Contact ACC’s Resource Center at Phone: 202-375-6000, ext. 5603 or 800-253-4636, ext. 5603 or resource@acc.org.

Download ACC’s Advocacy Action Mobile App
Be sure to download the ACC Advocacy Action mobile app to get easy access to ACC's advocacy priorities and timely talking points to share during congressional visits. The app was designed to help members engage with lawmakers and influence health policy. Download it today on iTunes (iPhone, iPad) and Google Play (Android devices).

August 2015

Overarching News:

Martha Gulati Named Editor-in-Chief of CardioSmart.org
Martha Gulati, MD, MS, FACC, has been named editor-in-chief of CardioSmart.org, the ACC’s patient education and empowerment initiative to help individuals prevent, treat and manage cardiovascular disease. Gulati is an associate professor of medicine and clinical public health in the division of cardiology at The Ohio State University. In addition, she serves as the Sarah Ross Soter chair in women’s cardiovascular health and the section director for women’s cardiovascular health and preventive cardiology at The Ohio State University. “I am honored to have the opportunity to head an initiative with such an important mission,” Gulati said. “Patient education is key to early recognition and prevention of heart disease, and as physicians, it is our duty to provide our patients with the tools they need to keep their hearts healthy. CardioSmart provides the platform for just that.” Read more on ACC.org.

Population Health and Primary Prevention in the Spotlight
The College recently brought together ACC members and a diverse array of experts from government agencies, universities, medical specialty societies and private sector partners for its first Population Health Retreat. As part of its Strategic Plan, the College is working to engage partners and pursue global cardiovascular-related objectives, support members to improve the health of populations, and encourage cardiovascular team-facilitated patient education. The retreat was an opportunity to define population health and health promotion for the ACC, discuss whether the College is prepared to engage in primary prevention, and prioritize partners and targeted activities related to population health and health promotion in the College. Gerard R. Martin, MD, FACC, chair of the ACC’s Population Health Policy and Health Promotion Committee stressed that “we must shift the paradigm from treatment to prevention and begin moving towards population health if we want to kick CVD off the list as the world’s #1 killer.” Visit the ACC in Touch Blog for a recap of the retreat.

2015 Legislative Conference Registration Now Open
Registration is open for the ACC’s 2015 Legislative Conference, which will take place Oct. 18-20 in Washington, DC. The conference will provide the inside scoop on regulatory changes, legislative action and the state of cardiology to empower ACC members to become effective advocates for patients and cardiovascular professionals. Don't miss this unique opportunity to hear directly from the experts who shape health policy, and meet directly with congressional leaders to share ways the cardiovascular community is providing quality, cost-effective, evidence-based care to millions of patients nationwide. You’re also invited to join your colleagues for a special ACC Political Action Committee-sponsored reception and dinner featuring Pulitzer Prize–winning syndicated columnist, political commentator and psychiatrist Charles Krauthammer, MD. Register now!

Top Advocacy and Health Policy News

ACC Efforts Result in ABIM Decision to Decouple Board Certification From MOC Enrollment
In a major reversal, the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) has announced it is reversing its policy requiring physicians who have passed the initial Certification exam in 2014 or later to have enrolled in the Maintenance of Certification (MOC) process in order to be listed as board certified. Effective immediately, physicians who are meeting all other programmatic requirements will not lose certification simply for failure to enroll in MOC. “The ACC and its members are being heard and this will no doubt continue,” said ACC President Kim Allan Williams, Sr., MD, FACC. “The College is continually engaged with ABIM with a goal of engendering a constant dialogue and an atmosphere of change for the benefit of our members and their patients.” Each August the ACC’s Board of Trustees come together for a mid-year check-in on College activities and progress towards strategic goals. More information on the guidance and next steps released during this check-in can be read in a recent post on the ACC in Touch Blog. Stay tuned to ACC.org/MOC and the ACC in Touch Blog for continued updates. Read more on ACC.org.

MACRA Policy Brief Available on ACC.org
The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA), legislation which permanently repeals the Sustainable Growth Rate, establishes a framework for rewarding clinicians for value over volume and streamlines quality reporting programs into one system, was signed into law in April. ACC Advocacy has developed an in-depth policy analysis of the legislation, including a timeline of when MACRA payment updates go into effect. Information is also available on the transition to quality-based payment through two payment pathways MACRA will implement for clinicians. Starting in 2019, clinicians will choose from one of two pathways: the Merit-based Incentive Payment System or Alternative Payment Models. Learn more about MACRA on ACC.org.

FDA Approves First of Novel Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on July 24 approved Sanofi and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals’ Praluent (alirocumab) injection, known as proprotein convertase subtilisin kexin type 9 (PCSK9) inhibitors. This first lipid-lowering drug in a new class of drugs has the potential to offer the more than millions of patients with high low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) an alternative treatment option to statins. The PCSK9 inhibitor treatment is approved for patients with familial hypercholesterolemia or clinical atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease in conjunction with maximally tolerated statin therapy and diet modification. While results showing the drugs’ effectiveness at lowering LDL-C are promising for the new agents, definitive evidence showing the effectiveness of the drugs for reducing cardiovascular risk won’t be available until 2017 when large clinical trials are completed. “The ACC eagerly awaits the results of the clinical trials that are in progress,” said ACC President Kim Allan Williams, Sr., MD, FACC. “In the meantime, we continue to recommend physicians limit prescribing to the very high risk, hard-to-treat groups approved by the FDA and otherwise follow the current guidelines, which recommend lifestyle change and, if needed, statins for most patients with or at risk of heart disease.” Read more on ACC.org.

ACC Testifies on Health Information Blocking During Senate HELP Committee Hearing
On July 23, Michael J. Mirro, MD, FACC, testified during a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing titled “Achieving the Promise of Health Information Technology: Information Blocking and Potential Solutions.” Mirro, a member of the ACC’s Informatics and Health Information Technology (IT) Task Force, shared cardiology’s perspective on the important issue of health information blocking, unforeseen problems that have been created by electronic health records (EHRs), and possible solutions to help improve care. According to Mirro, transparency of additional (or hidden) fees within EHR vendor contracts should be evaluated; data fluidity should mean not only that information reaches the provider, but that the data is transmitted quickly and securely; EHR vendors’ products should be universal and connect to other EHRs offered by different companies; and health IT vendors and providers should be incentivized to establish networks for patients to monitor their devices, empowering them to actively participate in their health decisions. Watch a recording of the hearing here and read Mirro’s written testimony here. ACC Advocacy has been working hard to elevate the health IT concerns of ACC members on Capitol Hill – focusing on House and Senate leaders. This testimony is one part of a multi-pronged strategy to make ACC’s voice a key part of the discussion on the future of EHRs. Visit the ACC in Touch Blog for full coverage.

Top Education and Career Growth News

Register Now Open For 2015 ACC In-Training Exam (ACC-ITE)
Participation in this program has been tremendous — more than 93 percent of all U.S. cardiology training programs took the 2014 exam. The 2015 In-Training Exam will take place on Oct. 20 and 21, and will continue to give training programs the data they need to benchmark their program, meet ACGME requirements, validate the need for curricula changes and provide educational counseling to their fellows. To learn more and register, click here or contact Julie Bainbridge at 202-375-6633 or jbainbri@acc.org.

Find a Mentor, Be a Mentor: Register for ACC’s Mentoring Program
The College’s online mentoring program, developed through the efforts of the Early Career Professionals Leadership Council and Section, is designed to help create and foster mutually beneficial mentor/mentee relationships. The program connects experienced cardiovascular professionals with younger professionals based on areas of interest, specialty and expertise. Register online and find out more at ACC.org/Mentoring.

Publications

Latest Issue of CardioSource WorldNews Examines Potential Impacts of Practice-Changing Technology and Research
The cover story of the latest issue of CardioSource WorldNews explores the technological evolution and continued progress of mechanical circulatory support, and what that progress could mean for the future of traditional heart transplantation and left ventricular assist devices. In the featured interview, James H. O’Keefe, MD, discusses the benefits of preventive cardiology, specifically the positive impacts of adapting a “hunter-gatherer” exercise regimen. O’Keefe points out several key areas in a modern-day lifestyle that could be adjusted to improve cardiovascular health. The issue also examines sex-based disparities in treatment and response to medical therapy and comorbidities in patients with diastolic heart failure. Also included are highlights from the recent JACC Journals and ACC.org journal scans. Flip through the full issue here.

JACC Call For Papers: Cardiovascular Imaging in Women
Imaging may play a unique role in treating cardiovascular disease in women, yet significantly fewer studies assessing the application and accuracy of invasive and non-invasive imaging modalities in women exist compared to those focused on men. In an effort to raise awareness of this important issue, JACC: Cardiovascular Imaging is accepting submissions for papers focused on the role of imaging in understanding, diagnosing and treating cardiovascular disease in women. If accepted, papers will be published in a special issue slated for March 2016. Interested authors should submit their papers online at jaccsubmit-imaging.org by Oct. 1. On the submissions page, please select “Imaging in Women” from the “Special Issues” pull-down menu. Read more on ACC.org.

Membership

Is Your ACC Member Profile Up-To-Date?
The ACC wants to make sure it's sending members only the most relevant information. To that end, the College is encouraging all members to update their ACC profile, including contact information, specialty areas, clinical interest areas and practice information. Don’t miss out on the latest cardiovascular research, new clinical guidelines, advocacy updates, ACC news and member benefits. Update your profile online at ACC.org/MyProfile.

Important Digital ACC Resources

Stay In Touch with the ACC via Social Media
Stay in touch with the ACC and the latest clinical and advocacy news through ACC in Touch.  ACCinTouch connects ACC members and those interested in cardiovascular news through popular social networking channels like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. Join each of these networks to connect with ACC members and those interested in cardiology. In addition to the ACC's main Twitter profile @ACCinTouch, the College also has a profile dedicated to advocacy-related news (@Cardiology). CardioSmart, the ACC's patient education and support program, also has patient-centered cardiovascular news available through Facebook, Twitter (@CardioSmart), and YouTube. For more information about ACC’s social media channels, visit ACC.org/ACCinTouch.

ACC Archived Webinars
Did you know that you can find archived webinars from throughout the years from the ACC on ACC.org? As a member, you have access to this wealth of information here. To access them, you must have an ACC.org log-in and use the confirmation code and webinar access link emailed to you once you. Questions? Contact ACC’s Resource Center at Phone: 202-375-6000, ext. 5603 or 800-253-4636, ext. 5603 or resource@acc.org.

Download ACC’s Advocacy Action Mobile App
Be sure to download the ACC Advocacy Action mobile app to get easy access to ACC's advocacy priorities and timely talking points to share during congressional visits. The app was designed to help members engage with lawmakers and influence health policy. Download it today on iTunes (iPhone, iPad) and Google Play (Android devices).

July 2015

Overarching News:

Last Call For Applications For Associate Editor of ACC.org E-Learning Activities
The ACC is accepting applications for the position of associate editor of e-learning activities on ACC.org. The new editor will guide and mentor the e-learning editorial team, and will lead the development of high quality, dynamic educational content. The editor’s term will begin Aug. 1, and will run for five years, with the possibility of re-appointment for an additional five years. The deadline for applications is July 15. Read more about the position and apply on ACC.org.

JACC Holds Impact Factor Ranking as #1 CV Journal in the World
For the second year in a row, the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC) was listed as the #1 cardiovascular journal in the world. According to the 2014 Impact Factors for Journals, JACC holds the top position among all 123 cardiovascular journals in scientific impact with an impact factor of 16.503 in 2014, up from 15.343 in 2013. These 2014 Impact Factor results are based on citations from the 2013 calendar year, when Anthony DeMaria, MD, MACC, was JACC editor. The results also showed impact factor and ranking improvements for JACC: Cardiovascular Interventions and JACC: Cardiovascular Imaging. Among all other cardiovascular journals, the ACC publishes three of the top 10 in the world. Check out the JACC  journals online.

Submit Recommendations for Vice President, President-Elect and Trustees
The ACC is accepting recommendations for the positions of Vice President, President-Elect and Trustees. The deadline to receive Officer and Trustee nominations is July 31. The Nominating Committee will meet this fall to consider all recommendations and will present a slate of nominations to the Board of Trustees for approval at the next annual business meeting in Chicago in April 2016. For details, please refer to www.acc.org/BOTnominations to find the Call for Nominations and Guide for Submitting Nominations. Don’t miss this opportunity to participate in the process to select the College’s future leaders.

2015 Legislative Conference Registration Now Open
Registration is open for the ACC’s 2015 Legislative Conference, which will take place Oct. 18-20 in Washington, DC. The conference will provide the inside scoop on regulatory changes, legislative action and the state of cardiology to empower ACC members to become effective advocates for patients and cardiovascular professionals. Don't miss this unique opportunity to hear directly from the experts who shape health policy, and meet directly with congressional leaders to share ways the cardiovascular community is providing quality, cost-effective, evidence-based care to millions of patients nationwide. You’re also invited to join your colleagues for a special ACC Political Action Committee-sponsored reception and dinner featuring Pulitzer Prize–winning syndicated columnist, political commentator and psychiatrist Charles Krauthammer, MD. Register now!

ACC’s Quality Improvement Efforts Make Headlines
A recent New York Times article titled “A Sea Change in Treating Heart Attacks” highlights the 38 percent decrease in coronary heart disease deaths from 2003 to 2013, a result “spurred by better control of cholesterol and blood pressure, reduced smoking rates, improved medical treatments — and faster care of people in the throes of a heart attack.” The article chronicles how the ACC’s Door to Balloon (D2B) initiative has helped more than 1,200 hospitals nationwide improve the timeliness of reperfusion therapy for patients with heart attacks by facilitating the adoption of evidence and guideline-based best practices. Thanks to the D2B initiative, “Now, nearly all hospitals treat at least half their patients in 61 minutes or less…” D2B is part of ACC’s suite of quality initiatives, designed to support local efforts with structured quality improvement projects to achieve specific goals. Building on the D2B initiative’s success, last year the ACC launched Surviving MI, a quality initiative to help hospitals reduce 30-day mortality rates for heart attack patients through organizational culture change and the creation of a hospital learning network. Learn more about D2B, Surviving MI and Hospital to Home, part of ACC’s Quality Improvement for Institutions, at CVQuality.ACC.org.

Top Advocacy and Health Policy News

CMS Releases Proposed 2016 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule and Hospital Outpatient Rules
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has released the proposed 2016 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule, which addresses Medicare payment and quality provisions for physicians in 2016. Under the proposal, physicians will see a 0.5 percent payment increase on Jan. 1, 2016. Next year will be the first of several years of predictable payments resulting from the legislation that permanently repealed the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) this spring. CMS estimates that the physician rule will neither increase nor decrease payments to cardiologists from 2015 to 2016. This estimate is based on typical practice and can vary widely depending on the mix of services provided in a practice. The Physician Fee Schedule comes on the heels of the proposed 2016 Hospital Outpatient Rule released last week, which indicates a -0.1 percent payment update for hospitals. Shortly before the final rules are released, experts will discuss the proposed rules, ACC’s comments, and other relevant regulatory items during a panel at the ACC’s 2015 Legislative Conference, which will take place Oct. 18-20 in Washington, DC. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn about the hot button issues facing health care and ensure the voice of cardiology is heard on Capitol Hill. Read highlights from both rules on ACC.org.

ABIM Eliminates ‘Double Jeopardy’ MOC Requirement
In response to input provided by the ACC and other cardiology specialty societies around the American Board of Internal Medicine’s (ABIM’s) new requirements for Maintenance of Certification (MOC), the ABIM has announced it’s eliminating the requirement to maintain underlying certification in a foundational discipline in order to remain certified in a subspecialty. The ABIM Council unanimously passed the proposal to eliminate this “double jeopardy” provision, noting it was clearly an important topic to the internal medicine community. According to the ABIM, it will begin implementing the new requirement in the coming months, with the change to be fully effective as of Jan. 1, 2016. The change does not affect the requirement for initial certification. This announcement reflects the engagement and collaboration of ACC leaders, as well as the broader internal medicine community, on behalf of their members over the past year and a half. Eliminating the double jeopardy faced by interventional, electrophysiology, adult congenital heart disease and advanced heart failure colleagues who initially had to pass both the general cardiology and sub-subspecialty boards is among the several changes strongly recommended by the College and the broader internal medicine community.

CMS Adds Flexibility to ICD-10 Implementation
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced that it will allow flexibility in Medicare claims during the first year of ICD-10 transition by not denying claims based on the accuracy or specificity of the diagnosis code. The medical codes America uses for diagnosis and billing have not been updated in more than 35 years, and the implementation of ICD-10 should help advance public health research and emergency response through detection of disease. However, CMS and the American Medical Association (AMA) recognize that health care providers need assistance with the impending transition to ICD-10, and the organizations will be working in parallel to educate providers through webinars, on-site training, educational articles and national provider calls. The ICD-10 transition will officially take place on October 1. Read the CMS/AMA announcement for more details.

Top Education and Career Growth News

Surviving MI Webinar
Join hospital leadership and quality experts Tuesday, July 21 at 1 p.m. ET for a Surviving MI webinar entitled “How to Engage Executive Leadership in Health Care Organizational Culture Change.”  This webinar is designed to provide strategies for administrators and clinicians to create a culture of quality to improve patient outcomes. It will include a discussion on the importance of partnering with executive leadership in order to achieve a quality-driven culture and highlight how administrators and physician champions formed a statewide STEMI Network in Mississippi. The webinar will be moderated by Henry Ting, MD, MBA, FACC and feature presentations by Eric Stecker, MD FACC, Charles Kilo, MD, Dana Bjarnason, RN, MA, PhD, and Thad Waites, MD, FACC.  There will also be a live Q&A session where participants can ask the experts questions. Register today!

The ACC’s Surviving MI initiative, part of Quality Improvement for Institutions, seeks to influence organizational culture change by increasing the adoption of evidence-based strategies associated with lower 30-day risk standardized mortality rates for patients hospitalized with acute myocardial infarction. Visit CVQuality.acc.org/SurvivingMI to learn more!

Register Now Open For 2015 ACC In-Training Exam (ACC-ITE)
Participation in this program has been tremendous — more than 93 percent of all U.S. cardiology training programs took the 2014 exam. The 2015 In-Training Exam will take place on Oct. 20 and 21, and will continue to give training programs the data they need to benchmark their program, meet ACGME requirements, validate the need for curricula changes and provide educational counseling to their fellows. To learn more and register, click here or contact Julie Bainbridge at 202-375-6633 or jbainbri@acc.org.

Find a Mentor, Be a Mentor: Register for ACC’s Mentoring Program
The College’s online mentoring program, developed through the efforts of the Early Career Professionals Leadership Council and Section, is designed to help create and foster mutually beneficial mentor/mentee relationships. The program connects experienced cardiovascular professionals with younger professionals based on areas of interest, specialty and expertise. Register online and find out more at ACC.org/Mentoring.

Publications

JACC Leadership Page: EHR Hurdles and Opportunities Explored.
In a recent Leadership Page in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, ACC Board of Governors (BOG) Chair Robert A. Shor, MD, FACC, asks, “Is your electronic health record (EHR) working for you and your patients?” Earlier this year, the BOG launched into a discussion about EHR hurdles and opportunities for providers and patients in response to a New York Times opinion piece titled “Why Health Care Tech Is Still so Bad.” In the Leadership Page, Shor chronicles several governors’ EHR journeys, offering a glimpse into common issues providers are faced with. While there are numerous challenges, there was consensus that EHRs are here to stay. “We need a tool that we cannot live without,” said Shor. “Until then, there is work to be done and patients for whom we need to care, whether we do so on paper or screen.” Shor also took to the ACC in Touch Blog to continue the discussion on EHRs and delve into topics such as data blocking and interoperability. Is your EHR working for you and your patients? Weigh in on the ACC in Touch Blog.

Membership

Is Your ACC Member Profile Up-To-Date?
The ACC wants to make sure it's sending members only the most relevant information. To that end, the College is encouraging all members to update their ACC profile, including contact information, specialty areas, clinical interest areas and practice information. Don’t miss out on the latest cardiovascular research, new clinical guidelines, advocacy updates, ACC news and member benefits. Update your profile online at ACC.org/MyProfile.

Important Digital ACC Resources

Stay In Touch with the ACC via Social Media
Stay in touch with the ACC and the latest clinical and advocacy news through ACC in Touch.  ACCinTouch connects ACC members and those interested in cardiovascular news through popular social networking channels like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. Join each of these networks to connect with ACC members and those interested in cardiology. In addition to the ACC's main Twitter profile @ACCinTouch, the College also has a profile dedicated to advocacy-related news (@Cardiology). CardioSmart, the ACC's patient education and support program, also has patient-centered cardiovascular news available through Facebook, Twitter (@CardioSmart), and YouTube. For more information about ACC’s social media channels, visit ACC.org/ACCinTouch.

ACC Archived Webinars
Did you know that you can find archived webinars from throughout the years from the ACC on ACC.org? As a member, you have access to this wealth of information here. To access them, you must have an ACC.org log-in and use the confirmation code and webinar access link emailed to you once you. Questions? Contact ACC’s Resource Center at Phone: 202-375-6000, ext. 5603 or 800-253-4636, ext. 5603 or resource@acc.org.

Download ACC’s Advocacy Action Mobile App
Be sure to download the ACC Advocacy Action mobile app to get easy access to ACC's advocacy priorities and timely talking points to share during congressional visits. The app was designed to help members engage with lawmakers and influence health policy. Download it today on iTunes (iPhone, iPad) and Google Play (Android devices).

June 2015

Overarching News:

Submit Recommendations for Vice President, President-Elect and Trustees
The ACC is accepting recommendations for the positions of Vice President, President-Elect and Trustees. The deadline to receive Officer and Trustee nominations is July 31, 2015. The Nominating Committee will meet this fall to consider all recommendations and will present a slate of nominations to the Board of Trustees for approval at the next annual business meeting in Chicago in April 2016. For details, please refer to http://www.acc.org/BOTnominations to find the Call for Nominations and Guide for Submitting Nominations. Don’t miss this opportunity to participate in the process to select the College’s future leaders.

ACC Now Accepting Applications for the Emerging Advocates Program
As part of its commitment to leadership development, the ACC had launched a new Emerging Advocates Program. This program is a unique opportunity for ACC members, particularly Fellows in Training, Early Career Professionals and Cardiovascular Team members, to increase their knowledge of, and participation in, the College's legislative, regulatory, state government relations, payer advocacy and value solutions and population health efforts. During the two-year program, the Emerging Advocates will learn directly from the College's advocacy leaders. Applications must be submitted by June 22. Applicants will be notified by July 15 of the status of their application. Apply today!

Call For Applications: Associate Editor, ACC.org E-Learning Activities
The ACC is accepting applications for the position of associate editor of e-learning activities on ACC.org. The new editor’s term will begin Aug. 1, and will run for five years, with the possibility of re-appointment for an additional five-year term. The deadline for applications is July 15. There is an honorarium with this position. Learn more and apply.

2015 Legislative Conference Registration Now Open
Registration is open for the ACC’s 2015 Legislative Conference, which will take place Oct. 18-20 in Washington, DC. The conference will provide the inside scoop on regulatory changes, legislative action and the state of cardiology to empower ACC members to become effective advocates for patients and cardiovascular professionals. Don't miss this unique opportunity to hear directly from the experts who shape health policy, and meet directly with congressional leaders to share ways the cardiovascular community is providing quality, cost-effective, evidence-based care to millions of patients nationwide. You’re also invited to join your colleagues for a special ACC Political Action Committee-sponsored reception and dinner featuring Pulitzer Prize–Winning syndicated columnist, political commentator and psychiatrist Charles Krauthammer, MD. Register now!

Top Advocacy and Health Policy News

What You Need to Know About MACRA Legislation
The ACC has developed a detailed summary to help members navigate the recently passed Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA), legislation that touches upon many areas across the health care spectrum. Most notably, MACRA permanently repeals the Sustainable Growth Rate formula and reauthorizes funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program for two years. Beginning July 1, clinicians will begin receiving a 0.5 percent increase to Medicare payments. This payment increase will continue annually until Dec. 31, 2018. Starting in 2019, clinicians will choose from one of two pathways: the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) or Alternative Payment Models. Eligible professionals who elect to participate in MIPS will receive annual payment increases or decreases based on their performance. MACRA also streamlines the three existing quality reporting programs – Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS), Meaningful Use and Value-Based Payment Modifier – into one system, eliminating three separate reporting deadlines. Read more about how provisions included in MACRA will impact you and your practice on ACC.org.

Get Up-to-Speed on Meaningful Use Proposed Rules
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) recently released two separate proposed rules for the Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program, also known as Meaningful Use. The rule for Meaningful Use Stage 3 contains the proposed criteria that eligible professionals, eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals would need to meet in order to quality for EHR incentive payments and avoid penalties for non-participation. Get a detailed summary of the proposed rule. In comments to CMS and ONC, the ACC, which has been a long-time supporter of EHR adoption as a driver of improved patient care quality, recognized the agencies’ efforts to ease the constraints and complexities established in Stages 1 and 2 of the program and their attempt to further clarify EHR certification. However, “Overall, the ACC believes the proposed requirements for Stage 3 set the bar for success too high,” wrote the College. “The Meaningful Use criteria should encourage the appropriate, purposeful and accurate use of health IT solutions, rather than mandate completion of tasks based on a particular timeline.” CMS and ONC also released a proposed rule aligning Stage 1 and Stage 2 meaningful use objectives and measures with the long-term proposals for Stage 3. Read a summary of the rule on ACC.org.

ACC Council Assesses Cardiac Rehab in HFrEF Patients
Although the U.S. Centers for Medicare Services has extended cardiac rehabilitation (rehab) coverage to patients with heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF), enrolling these patients in cardiac rehab may prove difficult, according to a Council Perspective published June 15 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. As part of a new series of perspectives from different ACC Councils in the Journal, members from the ACC’s Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease Section assessed the challenges and opportunities that cardiac rehab presents for HFrEF patients. Read more on ACC.org. This information can also be shared from the ACC Facebook page. 

FDA Updates

FDA Advisory Committee Recommends Approving New Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs
Two novel lipid-lowering drugs should be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) according to the agency's Endocrinologic and Metabolic Drugs Advisory Committee which met on June 9 and 10 to discuss the safety and efficacy of Sanofi and Regeneron Phermaceuticals' alirocumab and Amgen's evolocumab for reducing low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C). The drugs, if approved by the FDA, would be the first in a new class of drugs known as proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 inhibitors and would offer the more than 70 million patients with high LDL-C an alternative treatment option to statins which have dominated the market for decades. The pharmaceutical companies are seeking approval of the drugs, which are both injectable and administered subcutaneously, for use in patients with high LDL-C who are not benefiting from statins; people who are high risk due to a previous myocardial infarction or those with diabetes for which statins are not effective; and patients with high LDL-C who are statin-intolerant. Read more on ACC.org.

Top Education and Career Growth News

Register Now Open For 2015 ACC In-Training Exam (ACC-ITE)
Participation in this program has been tremendous — more than 93 percent of all U.S. cardiology training programs took the 2014 exam. The 2015 In-Training Exam will take place on Oct. 20 and 21, and will continue to give training programs the data they need to benchmark their program, meet ACGME requirements, validate the need for curricula changes and provide educational counseling to their fellows. To learn more and register, click here or contact Julie Bainbridge at 202-375-6633 or jbainbri@acc.org.

2015 Recent Advances in Clinical Nuclear Cardiology and Cardiac CT Meeting on DemandTM Program: Now Available
Prepare for the nuclear cardiology or cardiac CT Boards, secure the relevant nuclear medicine hours required to meet accreditation requirements and review numerous cases to increase interpretive skills with this online program. Click here to learn more and purchase today!

ACC Cardiovascular Board Review For Certification and Recertification
Join the nation's leading cardiologists from around the country for an engaging and comprehensive review in general cardiology. Whether preparing for the ABIM Board Exams to certify or re-certify or just wanting a comprehensive review in general cardiology, the ACC Cardiovascular Board Review for Certification and Recertification course has everything! Don't delay – learn more and take advantage of the lowest registration rates today.

Find a Mentor, Be a Mentor: Register for ACC’s Mentoring Program
The College’s online mentoring program, developed through the efforts of the Early Career Professionals Leadership Council and Section, is designed to help create and foster mutually beneficial mentor/mentee relationships. The program connects experienced cardiovascular professionals with younger professionals based on areas of interest, specialty and expertise. Register online and find out more at ACC.org/Mentoring.

Publications

Latest Issue of CardioSource WorldNews Interventions Further Examines Practice-Changing Research from ACC.15
The cover story of the latest issue of CardioSource WorldNews Interventions provides expert commentary and further analysis of the hottest trials from ACC.15, including the PARTNER Study, MATRIX Access Trial, PEGAUS-TIMI 54, CoreValve and more. Also discussed are three trials that didn’t work and the reasons behind their failure. In the featured interview, Jennifer G. Robinson, MD, MPH discusses what the recent PCSK9 inhibitor trial, ODYSSEY, may mean for guidelines. Members of the ACC’s Interventional Section Leadership Council present the case for and factors involved in developing a successful treatment program for patients with acute pulmonary embolism. The issue’s ACC Extended Learning (ACCEL) interviews examine EuroEco, an analysis of the costs of home monitoring in implantable cardioverter defibrillator patients, as well as the DAPT Study. Also included are highlights from the recent JACC Journals and ACC.org journal scans. See the full issue at ACC.org/CSWNI.

Membership

Is Your ACC Member Profile Up-To-Date?
The ACC wants to make sure it's sending members only the most relevant information. To that end, the College is encouraging all members to update their ACC profile, including contact information, specialty areas, clinical interest areas and practice information. Don’t miss out on the latest cardiovascular research, new clinical guidelines, advocacy updates, ACC news and member benefits. Update your profile online at ACC.org/MyProfile.

Important Digital ACC Resources

Stay In Touch with the ACC via Social Media
Stay in touch with the ACC and the latest clinical and advocacy news through ACC in Touch.  ACCinTouch connects ACC members and those interested in cardiovascular news through popular social networking channels like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. Join each of these networks to connect with ACC members and those interested in cardiology. In addition to the ACC's main Twitter profile @ACCinTouch, the College also has a profile dedicated to advocacy-related news (@Cardiology). CardioSmart, the ACC's patient education and support program, also has patient-centered cardiovascular news available through Facebook, Twitter (@CardioSmart), and YouTube. For more information about ACC’s social media channels, visit ACC.org/ACCinTouch.

ACC Archived Webinars
Did you know that you can find archived webinars from throughout the years from the ACC on ACC.org? As a member, you have access to this wealth of information here. To access them, you must have an ACC.org log-in and use the confirmation code and webinar access link emailed to you once you. Questions? Contact ACC’s Resource Center at Phone: 202-375-6000, ext. 5603 or 800-253-4636, ext. 5603 or resource@acc.org.

Download ACC’s Advocacy Action Mobile App
Be sure to download the ACC Advocacy Action mobile app to get easy access to ACC's advocacy priorities and timely talking points to share during congressional visits. The app was designed to help members engage with lawmakers and influence health policy. Download it today on iTunes (iPhone, iPad) and Google Play (Android devices).

May 2015

Overarching News:

Submit Recommendations for Vice President, President-Elect and Trustees
The ACC is accepting recommendations for the positions of Vice President, President-Elect and Trustees. The deadline to receive Officer and Trustee nominations is July 31, 2015. The Nominating Committee will meet this fall to consider all recommendations and will present a slate of nominations to the Board of Trustees for approval at the next annual business meeting in Chicago in April 2016.

For details, please refer to http://www.acc.org/BOTnominations to find the Call for Nominations and Guide for Submitting Nominations. Don’t miss this opportunity to participate in the process to select the College’s future leaders.

Professionalism and Self-Regulation in Medicine
Maintaining physician competence and professionalism is the overarching focus of the May 12 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). Leaders from the health care community, government and academia provide thoughtful perspectives on timely and important issues like reforming the continuing medical education system, the role of self-regulation, the function of maintenance of certification (MOC), state medical licensing and the future of undergraduate and graduate medical education funding. Cardiology and the practice of medicine as a whole are facing multiple challenges ranging from rapidly changing health care delivery and payment systems, to new parameters for relationships with industry, to calls for new levels of accountability. Most recently, new requirements for maintaining certification have sparked much-needed debate over self-regulation of the profession of medicine. The viewpoints presented in JAMA provide both an extensive and unique look at all of these issues through the lens of professionalism. Check out highlights from the issue and learn more about the ways professionalism is at the crux of the ACC's mission. Read more on ACC.org. For more MOC updates, check out the ACC in Touch Blog.

Top Science and Quality News

New and Recently Published Clinical Documents from the ACC
The ACC has released the following clinical documents, including guidelines and updated statements for the following:

PINNACLE Registry Successfully Completes 2014 PQRS Submission
Did you know that practices currently submitting data to the PINNACLE Registry® can successfully participate in the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) via the Qualified Clinical Data Registry method? Submission of 2014 PQRS reporting for 1,810 providers across 121 practice groups has come to a successful close. For those who successfully completed the 2014 program year submission, it will potentially yield up to a 0.5 percent incentive on 2014 claims and protection from an automatic -2 percent adjustment on 2016 claims. Submission also meets requirements for value-based payment modifier reporting, protecting against a further automatic -2 percent penalty. For the 2015 reporting year, those eligible will be subject to a -2 percent penalty in 2017 for unsuccessful reporting to PQRS. Physicians may also face additional penalties for unsuccessful PQRS reporting under the Value-Based Modifier. Your ACC encourages you to review the 2015 PQRS reporting requirements and take action to ensure that your practice is prepared. If you have any questions regarding PQRS or your PQRS status in PINNACLE, please contact the PINNACLE Registry Team at 800-257-4737 or ncdr@acc.org.

Top Advocacy and Health Policy News

AUC Mandate and Licensing
In March 2014, Congress passed the Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014 (HR 4302) that includes a provision requiring ordering professionals to consult with AUC through a clinical decision support (CDS) mechanism for all Medicare patients receiving advanced imaging (cardiac nuclear, CT, MR) starting in January 2017. For a timeline, click here. This program will collect information about practice patterns but will not tie payment to the appropriate use score for individual cases. Over the next few years, Medicare will continue the shift to a pay for value system. Implementation of the AUC mandate is one of the first steps in this transition.

The first proposed regulations on this mandate are expected to be released early this summer as part of the proposed 2016 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule. In the meantime, the ACC is proactively working with CMS, other medical societies, and CDS vendors to ensure that cardiology specific AUC are available and used to determine appropriate use of cardiac imaging covered by this mandate. We will continue to engage these groups in conversation to ensure proper implementation of this mandate.

In an effort to help answer questions regarding the availability of ACC’s AUC through CDS tools, the College has developed an FAQ document available on the ACC’s FOCUS webpage. While we will have more clarity on CMS’ implementation with the release of the initial regulations this summer, this FAQ document is intended to help address any questions regarding the availability of ACC’s AUC content in the interim.

What You Need to Know About MACRA Legislation
Your ACC has developed a detailed summary to help you navigate the recently passed Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA), legislation that touches upon many areas across the health care spectrum.

Most notably, MACRA permanently repeals the Sustainable Growth Rate formula and reauthorizes funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program for two years. Beginning July 1, clinicians will begin receiving a 0.5 percent increase to Medicare payments. This payment increase will continue annually until Dec. 31, 2018. Starting in 2019, clinicians will choose from one of two pathways: the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) or Alternative Payment Models. Eligible professionals who elect to participate in MIPS will receive annual payment increases or decreases based on their performance. MACRA also streamlines the three existing quality reporting programs – Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS), Meaningful Use and Value-Based Payment Modifier – into one system, eliminating three separate reporting deadlines. Read more about how provisions included in MACRA will impact you and your practice on ACC.org.

Deep Dive Into Meaningful Use Stage 3
Your ACC has created a detailed summary of the proposed rule for Stage 3 of the Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program, also called Meaningful Use (MU) Stage 3, which was released in March. The rule contains the proposed criteria that eligible professionals, eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals would need to meet in order to qualify for EHR incentive payments and avoid penalties for non-participation. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' (CMS) stated objectives for the proposed rule are to increase simplicity and flexibility in the program while driving interoperability and focusing on patient outcomes in the MU program. CMS also makes it clear in the rule that it intends for its proposal to apply beyond EHRs to other categories of health information technology (IT). Stage 3 is expected to be the final stage of MU and builds on the groundwork established in Stages 1 and 2. Given the continued effort to improve care and expand health IT functionality, there may be future changes to the objectives and measures of MU which could result in future rulemaking. The rule proposes that providers would have the option in 2017 of either participating in the previously prescribed stage, based on the year they entered the program, or participating in Stage 3, regardless of their first year of program participation. Beginning in 2018, all providers would report at the Stage 3 level regardless of prior participation. Learn more on ACC.org.

FDA Updates

  • ACC Urges President to Finalize Tobacco "Deeming" Rule: Over one year ago, the FDA proposed a new rule to extend its authority to cover e-cigarettes and additional unregulated tobacco products, such as cigars. In a letter of support for the proposed rule, the ACC joined numerous health care organizations to urge President Obama to take action immediately and finalize the regulation. The proposed rule would require manufacturers to submit new tobacco products for FDA review before marketing and would also add the following provisions to new products: minimum age and identification restrictions to prevent sales to underage youth; requirements to include health warnings; and prohibition of vending machine sales, unless in a facility that never admits youth. Read more on ACC.org.

Top Education and Career Growth News

2015 Cardiovascular Summit Meeting on DemandTM Program: Solutions for Thriving in a Time of Change
Help your practice thrive during these rapidly changing times with this new online program! The 2015 Cardiovascular Summit Meeting on Demand TMProgram gives you tools to improve patient outcomes and experiences through the delivery of high quality, cost effective care. Learn about value-based care strategies and tactics, optimization of health care data, and effective leadership skills from the convenience of your home or office. Click here to learn more!

Review PCSK9 Inhibitors at This Pioneering Course 
Time is running out! Join your colleagues at Bringing Science to Clinical Practice: Best of ACC 2015 in one of two locations — May 29 – 30 in Miami or June 12 – 13 in Chicago — to examine ACC.15 highlights from new guidelines, late-breaking clinical trials, state-of-the-art sessions and more! Attend the pre-conference session as faculty compare and contrast the newly emerging PCSK9 inhibitors. Register today to secure the best rates! 

Find a Mentor, Be a Mentor: Register for ACC’s Mentoring Program
The College’s online mentoring program, developed through the efforts of the Early Career Professionals Leadership Council and Section, is designed to help create and foster mutually beneficial mentor/mentee relationships. The program connects experienced cardiovascular professionals with younger professionals based on areas of interest, specialty and expertise. Register online and find out more at ACC.org/Mentoring.

Publications

First Issue of JACC: Clinical Electrophysiology Now Available
The much anticipated first issue of JACC: Clinical Electrophysiology is now available online. Led by Editor-in-Chief David J. Wilber, MD, FACC, the new bi-monthly journal encompasses all aspects of epidemiology, pathogenesis, diagnosis and treatment of cardiac arrhythmias. JACC: Clinical Electrophysiology is available online to all members, free of charge using your member login. All ACC Fellows practicing in the U.S. are entitled to receive the journal in print for free. Read the entire family of JACC journals using the JACC Journals App, available across iOS and Android devices. Learn more about subscribing to the new journal at ACC.org/JACCEP.

Membership

Is Your ACC Member Profile Up-To-Date?
The American College of Cardiology wants to make sure it's sending members only the most relevant information. To that end, we're encouraging all members to update their ACC profile, including contact information, specialty areas, clinical interest areas and practice information. Up-to-date information enables us not only to maintain regular contact and consistently deliver upon our membership benefits, but also allows us to provide easy access to the things you need the most, including the latest news, JACC, guidelines, education programs and products, advocacy and more. Update your profile online at ACC.org/MyProfile.

Important Digital ACC Resources

New FOCUS App
The ACC’s new FOCUS Mobile App is now available for iPad only in the Apple store. This decision support tool aids clinicians in improving the appropriate ordering of cardiovascular imaging and tests by providing decision algorithms for SPECT MPI, PET, stress echo and CTA. The app automatically calculates risk and pretest probability based on the patient’s age, gender and clinical risk factors to derive accurate AUC ratings. While this tool is offered for free, a subscription product is available for iPad users interested in patient tracking and reporting. Learn more here.  

Stay In Touch with the ACC via Social Media
Stay in touch with the ACC and the latest clinical and advocacy news through ACC in Touch.  ACCinTouch connects ACC members and those interested in cardiovascular news through popular social networking channels like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. Join each of these networks to connect with ACC members and those interested in cardiology. In addition to the ACC's main Twitter profile @ACCinTouch, the College also has a profile dedicated to advocacy-related news (@Cardiology). CardioSmart, the ACC's patient education and support program, also has patient-centered cardiovascular news available through Facebook, Twitter (@CardioSmart), and YouTube. For more information about ACC’s social media channels, visit ACC.org/ACCinTouch.

ACC Archived Webinars
Did you know that you can find archived webinars from throughout the years from the ACC on ACC.org? As a member, you have access to this wealth of information here. To access them, you must have an ACC.org log-in and use the confirmation code and webinar access link emailed to you once you. Questions? Contact ACC’s Resource Center at Phone: 202-375-6000, ext. 5603 or 800-253-4636, ext. 5603 or resource@acc.org.

Download ACC’s Advocacy Action Mobile App
Be sure to download the ACC Advocacy Action mobile app to get easy access to ACC's advocacy priorities and timely talking points to share during congressional visits. The app was designed to help members engage with lawmakers and influence health policy. Download it today on iTunes (iPhone, iPad) and Google Play (Android devices).

April 2015

Overarching News

Call for Editor-in-Chief Applications for New JACC: Basic Translational Research
The ACC Publications Committee is seeking applications for editor-in-chief of a new journal, JACC: Basic Translational Research. The new editor’s term will begin in June 2015, and will run for five years, with the possibility of re-appointment for an additional five-year term. The deadline for applications is May 1. The new journal, which will begin publishing in fall 2015, will focus on the best original research and review articles pertaining to basic translational cardiovascular research. Applicants should submit a letter addressing their qualifications for the position, along with a brief statement of their vision for this new journal. Letters of application should be addressed to ACC Publications Committee, and sent via email to Kim Murphy, publishing director of ACC. Read more about the position on ACC.org.

Call For Applications: Associate Editor of CardioSmart.org
The ACC is now accepting applications for associate editor of CardioSmart.org. The new associate editor’s term will begin in July 2015 and continue for five years, with the possibility of re-appointment for an additional five-year term. The deadline for applications is April 30. Read more about the position on ACC.org.

Top Science and Quality News

New and Recently Published Clinical Documents from the ACC
Since mid-March, the ACC has released a number of clinical documents, including guidelines and updated statements for the following:

  • ACC Releases Updated Core Cardiovascular Training Statement

http://www.acc.org/latest-in-cardiology/articles/2015/03/13/13/23/acc-releases-updated-core-cardiovascular-training-statement

  • New Training Guidelines For Pediatric Cardiology Fellowship Programs Released

http://www.acc.org/latest-in-cardiology/articles/2015/03/13/13/34/new-training-guidelines-for-pediatric-cardiology-fellowship-programs-released

  • New Statement Recommends tPVR as Less Invasive Option For RVOT Dysfunction in CHD Patients

http://www.acc.org/latest-in-cardiology/articles/2015/03/24/13/16/new-statement-recommends-tpvr-as-less-invasive-option-for-rvot-dysfunction-in-chd-patients

  • New Statement on the Treatment of Hypertension in Patients With CAD

www.acc.org/latest-in-cardiology/articles/2015/03/31/15/34/new-statement-on-the-treatment-of-htn-in-patients-with-cad

  • New Statement on Use of Percutaneous MCS Devices For HF Released

http://www.acc.org/latest-in-cardiology/articles/2015/04/07/12/21/new-statement-on-use-of-percutaneous-mcs-devices-for-hf-released

Top Advocacy and Health Policy News

Tell Your Senators to Fix SGR Once and For All
In a historic vote on March 26, nearly 400 members of the House of Representatives voted for H.R. 2, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015, legislation that would permanently repeal the flawed Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula and extend funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). The bill, supported by virtually all of organized medicine, including nursing, hospital and health advocacy organizations, now awaits action by the Senate. We must urge the Senate to continue the SGR repeal momentum when they return to Washington on April 13. Tell your Senators to finish the job. Take 30 seconds to send a pre-populated letter to your Senators or call their offices at 800-833-6354 and tell them to take up and pass the provisions of H.R. 2. In addition to sending a message through the ACC's grassroots alert system, you are encouraged to request a meeting with your Senators. You can find each Senator's contact information through the ACC Advocacy Action mobile app or on your Senator's website. For help scheduling a meeting in your state, contact Elizabeth Shaw (eshaw@acc.org). A list of talking points is available on ACC.org.

Medicare Claim Payment Update
Because both chambers of Congress are in recess until April 13, Congress is officially unable to pass legislation to avert the 21 percent cut to Medicare payments that took effect on April 1. Under current law, electronic claims are not paid by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) sooner than 14 calendar days (29 days for paper claims). Although the cut took effect on April 1, this time frame could allow for the Senate to return from its two-week recess, take up H.R. 2 as soon as April 13, and potentially avoid any interruption in payments. What happens next remains unclear. The most recent announcement from CMS leaves the Agency with flexibility to determine the course it will take. At times in the past when congressional action has been anticipated shortly after a cut was scheduled to go into effect, CMS has held claims until the new law has taken effect and immediately paid them at the new rate. At other times, CMS has instructed its contractors to immediately begin paying claims at the reduced rate and then required reprocessing of those claims at the higher rate after congressional action has occurred. The ACC expects further information on or around April 11. Until we have more information, members should continue submitting Medicare claims per usual.

Sunshine Returns
Physicians and teaching hospitals can now review reports of the payments they received from industry in 2014 before the reports are made public. Under the Physician Payments Sunshine Act (Open Payments Program), payments to physicians and teaching hospitals must be reported by manufacturers and distributers of Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved products prescribed to patients and paid for by one of the federal health care programs. Physicians and teaching hospitals have 45 days to preview and dispute information contained within the reports. After the close of the 45-day period, there is an additional 15-day period that physicians and teaching hospitals can use to continue to work with industry to resolve disputes. To preview your report, you must first create an account through the CMS Enterprise Portal, a system designed to verify your identity. You must then register specifically with the Open Payments System. If you registered previously, your account should still be active; however, you should be prepared to reset your password because CMS requires that passwords be reset every 60 days. Learn more and get tips for successfully registering on ACC.org. Join CMS on April 15 at 2 p.m. ET for a call on how to review your reported data.

Meaningful Use Stage 3 Proposals
Last week, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released its proposed rule for Stage 3 of the Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program, also called Meaningful Use Stage 3. The rule contains the proposed criteria that eligible professionals (EPs), eligible hospitals, and critical access hospitals must meet in order to qualify for EHR incentive payments and avoid penalties for non-participation. According to CMS, the proposed rule would "continue to encourage electronic submission of clinical quality measure (CQM) data for all providers where feasible in 2017, propose to require the electronic submission of CQMs where feasible in 2018, and establish requirements to transition the program to a single stage for meaningful use." Of concern to the ACC is a proposal to require all providers, even first-time participants, to report for a full calendar year, as well as proposals to require all participants to immediately begin participation in Stage 3 starting in 2018, rather than allowing participants to proceed through the stages in a progressive fashion. The ACC is reviewing the rule and will submit comments by the May 29 deadline. CMS is considering additional changes to meaningful use for 2015 through separate rulemaking.

ICD-10 Webinar Ahead
With about six months until the Oct. 1, 2015, implementation date, this may be your last chance to prepare your office for the transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10. Join the ACC on April 16 at 2 p.m. ET for an ICD-10 webinar. Geared towards small physician practices and all supporting staff, this webinar will give you resources to help reduce the burden of implementing the ICD-10 codes. Experts will also touch on your clinical documentation and cover your practice and business contingency plans. Registration is free for members. If you are interested in taking part in CMS' July ICD-10 testing, volunteer forms are due April 17. Forms are available on your MAC website.

ACC Pushes for CDC Funding
The ACC and other members of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Coalition sent a letter to congressional leaders this week urging them to provide $7.8 billion for the CDC's programs in the fiscal year (FY) 2016 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Appropriations bill. President Obama's FY 2016 budget request would add $141 million in funding for CDC's programs over FY 2015, but the coalition doesn't think the request goes far enough. "While this additional funding provides some resources for new and important initiatives and increased funding for some programs, other important programs would be cut or are completely eliminated under the president's request," the letter noted. Pointing out that the CDC faces unprecedented challenges including chronic disease prevention and combatting tobacco and obesity, the coalition stressed that "...Congress should prioritize funding for all of the activities and programs supported by CDC that are essential to protect the health of the American people."

Good News for Medically Complex Children
The Senate has passed a budget resolution amendment that establishes "a deficit-neutral reserve fund to improve health outcomes and lower the costs of caring for medically complex children in Medicaid." The measure also allows for the creation of nationally designated networks in Medicaid to ensure these children have easier access to the care they need. In addition to sponsoring the amendment, Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) also co-sponsored the Advancing Care for Exceptional Kids Act (ACE Kids), legislation introduced to improve care for children with medical complexity on Medicaid while helping contain costs. The ACC supported the ACE Kids act.

Learn How to Register for the 2015 PQRS GPRO
Learn how to register for the Physician Quality Reporting System Group Practice Reporting Option (PQRS GPRO) for 2015 during a National Provider Call on April 16 from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. ET. The presentation will explain the criteria for reporting through the GPRO in 2015, as well as how to register via the PV-PQRS Registration System between April 1 and June 30. Registration for the call is now open. The GPRO is available to group practices of two or more eligible professionals that wish to report data collectively to PQRS at the taxpayer identification number level. Successful participation in PQRS in 2015 is required to avoid the application of payment penalties under the PQRS and Value-Based Modifier in 2017. Advance registration through the PV-PQRS Registration System is only required for those practices wishing to participate using the GPRO. Eligible professionals in group practices can still successfully report PQRS data as individuals via one of the individual reporting options.

FDA Updates

  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the Impella 2.5 System for high-risk percutaneous coronary intervention procedures, such as balloon angioplasty and stenting. The system functions as a miniature blood pump that aids certain coronary artery disease patients in maintaining a stable heart function and circulation during these procedures. The FDA has also issued a warning against taking the antiarrhythmic drug amiodarone in combination with hepatitis C drug treatments and another direct acting antiviral due to the potential for symptomatic bradycardia.
  • The FDA has expanded the approval of Medtronic's CoreValve System to include "valve-in-valve" replacement for patients in need of a second tissue aortic valve replacement after undergoing a previous one. This expanded approval is for patients who are at high or extreme risk of complications during traditional open heart surgery.

Top Education and Career Growth News

Dive Deep Into Your Area of Practice with ACC.org Clinical Topic Collections
By subscribing to one or more new in-depth clinical topic collection on ACC.org, ACC members can view customized content recommendations and elect to have email digests delivered right to their inbox. Clinical topic collections serve as centralized homes for guidelines and clinical documents, educational products, patient cases, expert commentary and more, all related to a specific topic area. Personalizing your ACC.org experience by subscribing to clinical topic collections is easy. Log into ACC.org, choose from the list of more than 20 clinical topic collections, select a topic and click on the “notify me” button in the upper right corner. Sign up and manage the frequency of your email digests for your selected topics, as well as other newsletter subscriptions through My Communication Preferences. For help getting started on the new website, visit the ACC.org Quick Start Guide.

Find a Mentor, Be a Mentor: Register for ACC’s Mentoring Program
The College’s online mentoring program, developed through the efforts of the Early Career Professionals Leadership Council and Section, is designed to help create and foster mutually beneficial mentor/mentee relationships. The program connects experienced cardiovascular professionals with younger professionals based on areas of interest, specialty and expertise. Register online and find out more at ACC.org/Mentoring.

Publications

JACC Leadership Page: The State of the States
In a recent Leadership Page in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, Michael Mansour, MD, FACC, immediate-past chair of the ACC’s Board of Governors, provides an in-depth look at the successes and challenges the College’s Chapters faced over the past year. “This year, many chapters sought out ways to involve early career professionals and fellows in training even more deeply in chapter activities,” writes Mansour. “[They] are also taking an active role in the promotion of tracking quality through wider adoption of NCDR registries.” As state health departments begin to rely more heavily on the ACC’s guidelines, appropriate use criteria and quality initiatives, Chapters have also played an increasing role in ensuring that “ACC documents are not codified into law, but rather used as a resource.” Read more about the state of ACC’s Chapters.

BOG and Chapters 101: How to Make the Most of Your ACC Membership
In his inaugural post on the ACC in Touch Blog, Robert Shor, MD, FACC, chair of the ACC’s Board of Governors (BOG), explores the value and opportunities ACC membership provides through Chapter involvement. "It is my mission to highlight and emphasize the integral value that ACC Chapters and their leaders provide to cardiovascular professionals across the U.S. and to ensure the goals of ACC’s state chapters also align with the College’s strategic plan. To begin, we must start at the very beginning – what are ACC Chapters? Who leads them? What do these leaders do?” he writes. “The BOG represents YOU the ACC’s members. As representatives, BOG members are responsible for bidirectional communication – providing information both to members and back to the College as a whole – about relevant state and national issues impacting patients and/or the ability to provide cost-effective and appropriate cardiovascular care.” Read more on the ACC in Touch Blog. Shor’s message also appeared in JACC; read the piece here.

Latest Issue of CardioSource WorldNews Explores Congenital Heart Disease Through the Ages
The cover story of the latest issue of CardioSource WorldNews explores the challenges of caring for the growing adult congenital heart disease (ACHD) patient population. The article discusses a growing emphasis on a team approach for the care of ACHD patients, the impact of the ACC’s IMPACT Registry, ACHD in pregnancy and sports, and the shortage of cardiac surgeons specializing in ACHD. In the Editor’s Corner, Alfred Bove, MD, MACC, discusses the rewards and challenges associated with treating this important patient population. “As adult cardiologists, we can all participate in the care of these patients, but we need the support of experts and must connect with a center of excellent for ACHD to provide the best possible team-based, patient-centered care,” he writes. In the issue’s straight talk column, Carl J. Lavie, MD, FACC, discusses how the 2013 guidelines for cholesterol and hypertension guidelines have been met with both support and controversy. While “these new prevention guidelines certainly provide the potential to improve the health of many of our patients … strict adherence to the ‘letter of the law’ may lead to less aggressive treatment for many of our high risk patients, with potentially less than ideally anticipated results,” he concludes. Read the full issue at ACC.org/CSWN.

Important Digital ACC Resources

Stay in Touch With the ACC Via Social Media
Stay in touch with the ACC and the latest clinical and advocacy news through ACC in Touch.  ACCinTouch connects ACC members and those interested in cardiovascular news through popular social networking channels like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. Join each of these networks to connect with ACC members and those interested in cardiology. In addition to the ACC's main Twitter profile @ACCinTouch, the College also has a profile dedicated to advocacy-related news (@Cardiology). CardioSmart, the ACC's patient education and support program, also has patient-centered cardiovascular news available through Facebook, Twitter (@CardioSmart), and YouTube. For more information about ACC’s social media channels, visit ACC.org/ACCinTouch.

Download ACC’s Advocacy Action Mobile App
Be sure to download the ACC Advocacy Action mobile app to get easy access to ACC's advocacy priorities and timely talking points to share during congressional visits. The app was designed to help members engage with lawmakers and influence health policy. Download it today on iTunes (iPhone, iPad) and Google Play (Android devices).

JACC Audio Podcasts Now Available on iTunes
Stay up-to-date on the latest science on-the-go! In an effort to provide easily accessible, user-friendly content in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC), audio podcasts of Editor-in-Chief Valentin Fuster, MD, PhD, MACC’s comments are now available through iTunes. Subscribers are able to download the files and listen to descriptions of the overall message of each JACC issue. Search for “JACC Audio Podcasts” in your iTunes store to download the files, or check out the RSS feed.

Get the Updated JACC Journals App
The latest research and clinical practice updates in cardiology are at your fingertips with the JACC Journals app. Now you can read the entire family of journals from the ACC in a single app, across all IOS and Android devices. You can browse new issues, jump to featured articles, interact with multimedia content, personalize your experience with My Reading List, save articles for offline reading, share articles via social media (Use #JACC to join the conversation), email useful content, and much more. Download the app in the Apple iTunes and Google Play stores. Also check out a complete list of ACC’s mobile resources at ACC.org/Apps.

Post-ACC.15

Special Edition: Post-ACC.15 Chapter News You Can Use

 

ACC.15 News

Catch Up on the Latest News From ACC.15
Miss out on the latest news on trials and sessions from ACC.15? Check out full coverage of the conference including news stories and trial summaries of the hottest trials on ACC.org/ACC15. Get video coverage of the conference, including FITs on the GO interviews with presenters of the Late-Breaking Clinical Trials. Also, check out ACC.15 wrap-ups of each day on the ACC in Touch Blog, with video highlights from Peter Block, MD, FACC, and Deepak Bhatt, MD, MPH, FACC. Interested in the Future of Cardiology? Search #ACC15 and follow @ACCinTouch for recaps of the Future of Cardiovascular Medicine Track and more. Save the date for ACC.16 in Chicago, IL, April 2 – 4, 2016. Read more on ACC.org.

Kim Allen Williams, MD, FACC Becomes ACC President.
Following the end of ACC.15, Patrick T. O’Gara, MD, MACC, immediate past president of the ACC, passed the presidential chain to Kim Allan Williams, Sr., MD, FACC, at the time honored Convocation Ceremony. Williams is currently the James B. Herrick Professor and chief of the division of cardiology at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, IL. He is board certified in internal medicine, cardiovascular diseases, nuclear medicine, nuclear cardiology and cardiovascular computed tomography. “Each president has the privilege of inheriting the foundation of past leaders,” Williams said. “Following on Pat’s year of building new leaders and ensuring continued focus on educational funding and research, I hope to focus on increasing our ongoing effectiveness as advocates for patient access to the best cardiovascular care, regardless of race, gender, income or geography.” Read more on ACC.org.

Publication News

Call For Applications: Editor-in-Chief of New JACC: Basic Translational Research Journal
The ACC Publications Committee is seeking applications for Editor-in-Chief of a new journal, JACC: Basic Translational Research. The new editor’s term will begin in June 2015, and will run for five years, with the possibility of re-appointment for an additional five-year term. The deadline for applications is May 1. Read more about the position on ACC.org.

JACC Leadership Page: Examining the Strategic Plan: The Heart of ACC Advocacy
In his first Leadership Page in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, Kim Allan Williams, MD, FACC, discusses the ACC’s advocacy focus on the well-being of patients. “The College has played an important role in advocating for patient access to care, the incorporation of appropriate use criteria and clinical decision support for advanced diagnostic imaging, and the use of scientific registries for quality improvement,” he says. “On an even broader level, the College has expanded its advocacy work into the international sphere over the last few years. Working with our international chapters and other stakeholders, the College has participated in the United Nations’ efforts around the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases, with the goal of reaching a 25 percent global reduction of premature deaths from non-communicable diseases by the year 2025.” Read more.

Membership News

10 Years of ACC Member Sections
ACC.15 marked the official celebration of 10 years of ACC member sections. ACC sections began a decade ago with the birth of the Adult Congenital Pediatric Cardiology and the Women in Cardiology sections. Learn more about the history of these two trailblazing groups, and how sections have grown since 2004-2005 here. Sections are a natural extension of Chapter membership and allow members to find their niche within their larger professional home. To get involved, learn more here.

Quality News

Learn How Hospitals Are Reducing 30-Day RSMR
The next Surviving MI webinar will be Monday, March 23 at 1 p.m. ET.  Join the webinar to hear two hospitals present innovative and practical methods to reduce 30-day mortality rates and improve organizational culture. The webinar will focus on how to create a successful physician/nurse dyad and ways in which pharmacists can be involved in the AMI care team. Register today! To get started with Surviving MI and view archived webinars, go to CVQuality.ACC.org/SurvivingMI. Surviving MI is a quality initiative offered under the ACC's Quality Improvement for Institutions program.

Advocacy News

Tell Congress to Repeal the SGR
The current Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) payment patch expires on March 31 and Medicare payments will be cut by 21 percent unless Congress takes action. Last year, the entire house of medicine and three congressional committees of jurisdiction agreed upon bipartisan, bicameral legislation that not only repeals the SGR but also creates new pathways for clinicians to participate in alternative payment and health care delivery models. Now is the time to urge Congress to build upon those efforts and enact legislation that maximizes high-quality, patient-centered care while reducing health care costs. Please take the short time necessary to send this pre-populated letter to your lawmakers – for your patients and your profession.

EHR Incentive Program Reminder: Deadline March 20
All eligible professionals (EPs) must attest to demonstrating meaningful use every year in order to receive incentive payments and avoid a Medicare payment adjustment. The deadline for attesting to meaningful use for the Electronic Health Record Incentive Program 2014 reporting year is now March 20.

State Advocacy Action: Ohio
In early March, 25 members of the Ohio Chapter of the ACC met in Columbus, OH, for "Cardiology Day at the Capitol: Advocating for a Healthy Ohio." Chapter members met with approximately 26 state senators, representatives and legislators' aides to discuss opposition to budget cuts for graduate medical education funding and reimbursement rates for dual eligible patients, and support for tobacco product tax increases (including e-cigarettes), a valuable Prior Authorization Simplification Act, and medical liability reform. Members of ACC national's State Government Affairs team attended Ohio Lobby Day to support the Ohio Chapter's important Advocacy efforts.

ACC Supports CHD Research Funding
The ACC, the Pediatric Congenital Heart Association and numerous other organizations urged Congress to support congenital heart disease (CHD)-related public health research and surveillance initiatives. In a letter to House and Senate leaders, the organizations addressed the importance of continuing funding for programs that support the lifelong needs of the growing population of Americans with CHD. Specifically, the letter asks Congress to provide $10 million in FY2016 to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center on Birth Defects and Disabilities to support surveillance and public health research; support the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute's efforts to develop innovative and cost-effective treatment options for patients with CHD; and continue robust funding of the Department of Defense Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program. Last month, CHD advocates united in Washington, DC, for the Congenital Heart Legislative Conference, organized by the Pediatric Congenital Heart Association and the Adult Congenital Heart Association. Ahead of the Lobby Day, the ACC hosted a reception for 125 patients, family members and legislative staff to honor the tremendous efforts of CHD advocates and champions. The 2015 Legislative Champion of the Year Award was presented to Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA). The ACC will continue working with members and partners to advance legislation that benefits CHD patients.

March 2015

Overarching News

ACC.15 in San Diego is Approaching
Thousands of cardiovascular professionals will gather in San Diego for ACC.15 from March 14 to 16 to get first-hand access to late-breaking science and state-of-the-art clinical advances – the knowledge needed to transform cardiovascular care and improve heart health. Attendees can access the latest session and expo information to build their own personalized itinerary with the ACC.15 App or the Online Program Planner. Search "ACC15" in the app store to download the app today. If you haven't registered for ACC.15 yet, there's still time!

Health Care Innovation Around the World
The ACC has partnered with 1776, a global incubator and investment fund, to accelerate health care innovation. As part of this partnership, the College support 1776’s Challenge Cup, a global competition to identify the most promising health startups solving some of the health care industry’s biggest challenges. Don’t miss the opportunity to meet some of the 1776 health care Challenge Cup winners in San Diego during ACC.15. Several innovative startups from around the world will pitch their ideas and be part of a special panel discussion about the challenges and opportunities for innovation in the health care space, including cardiology. The “Health Care Innovation Around the World” session will take place at the Innovation Stage (Expo Hall #1147) on Monday, March 16 from 12:30 - 2 p.m.

Top Science and Quality News

TV Registry Collaboration Creates Hope for Future Biomedical Innovation
A recent ACC in Touch Blog post authored by John D. Carroll, MD, FACC, member of The STS/ACC TVT Registry Steering Committee, explores the connection between biomedical innovation and collaborations surrounding the TVT Registry. “The TVT Registry serves as a model of innovation for future registries and the future of patient-centered care,” he writes. Read more.

Full Set of Prevention Guidelines Now Available via ACC’s Guideline Clinical App

Version 2.0 of the ACC’s Guideline Clinical App is now available on the Apple and Android platforms. With the addition of the Guideline on Lifestyle Management to Reduce Cardiovascular Risk and Guideline for the Management of Overweight and Obesity in Adults, the app now contains the full set of clinical prevention guidelines released by the ACC/American Heart Association in 2013. These additions expand the collection of clinical guidelines in the app which already includes guidelines on assessment of cardiovascular risk, treatment of blood cholesterol, atrial fibrillation, heart failure and valvular heart disease. Download the free app in the iTunes or Google Play app stores.

Top Advocacy and Health Policy News  

Advocacy Guide to ACC.15
Don’t miss these key advocacy, practice management and health policy sessions during ACC.15 in San Diego:

Visit ACCPAC at ACC.15
The ACC Political Action Committee (ACCPAC) increases the political power and reach of the College by opening doors for ACC members and staff to educate key members of Congress on cardiovascular issues. Learn about how the number one cardiovascular PAC is transforming cardiovascular care and meet ACCPAC staff and members in San Diego at the ACCPAC Lounge on the east side of the Lounge and Learn Pavilion (near Ballroom 20). The PAC Lounge will be open Saturday, March 14 and Sunday, March 15 from 6:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Monday, March 16 from 7 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

EHR Reporting Deadline Extended to March 20

All eligible professionals (EPs) must attest to demonstrating meaningful use every year in order to receive incentive payments and avoid a Medicare payment adjustment. The deadline for attesting to meaningful use for the Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program 2014

reporting year has been extended to March 20, 2015, to allow providers extra time to submit their data.

Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) Clarification
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued guidance stating that eligible professionals' (EPs) "services provided at or on behalf of an independent diagnostic testing facility (IDTF) align with the billing methodology used for PQRS; therefore, these EPs are eligible and able to participate in PQRS." For 2013 and 2014, CMS excluded IDTF services from PQRS reporting due to their billing methodology; however, CMS clarifies that these services do align with the Part B methodology used for PQRS, and will be counted for 2015 reporting. EPs who rendered services at or on behalf of an IDTF will not be subject to the 2015 or 2016 PQRS payment penalty for services billed under the IDTF Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN). If these EPs receive Part B Medicare Physician Fee Schedule reimbursements in 2015 reflecting a PQRS penalty, the claim will be automatically reprocessed to correct the payment. EPs rendering services at or on behalf of an IDTF should participate in the 2015 PQRS reporting period to avoid the -2 percent payment adjustment on 2017 payments. All EPs must report under each National Provider Identifier/TIN combination under which they are submitting Part B claims to avoid any PQRS penalties. CMS sent this clarification to subscribers of the PQRS Listserv on Feb. 25 with additional information on IDTF services eligible for PQRS reporting. It will be posted soon on the PQRS FAQ. The ACC continues to work with CMS to obtain policies and guidance to help you successfully participate in PQRS. Contact Christine Perez at cperez@acc.org with questions.

Weigh in on Dietary Guidelines by April 8
The "Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee" was recently submitted to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). This advisory report takes into consideration current scientific evidence on diet, nutrition and health and provides recommendations to the government as it develops national nutrition policy. Between now and April 8, you can submit written comments on the Committee's report. HHS and USDA will release "Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2015" later this year.

CMS Releases Chronic Care Management Services Fact Sheet
CMS has released the Chronic Care Management Services Fact Sheet, designed to provide background on the separately payable Chronic Care Management (CCM) services for non-face-to-face care coordination services furnished to Medicare beneficiaries with multiple chronic conditions. The fact sheet includes information on eligible providers and patients, Physician Fee Schedule billing requirements, and a table aligning the CCM Scope of Service Elements and billing requirements with the Certified Electronic Health Record or other electronic technology requirements.

ACC to Host Sessions During Annual Health IT Conference
Health care industry professionals will convene in Chicago to discuss health information technology issues and solutions designed to transform the industry during the 2015 HIMSS Annual Conference and Exhibition, April 12-16, 2015. The ACC will host two sessions during the conference. The "ACC EHR Usability" breakfast on April 14 will bring together health care experts to discuss EHR issues and potential solutions. On April 16, James E. Tcheng, MD, FACC, and H. Vernon Anderson, MD, FACC, will present a session titled "Cardiac Cath Structured Reporting HPS." ACC members are eligible to receive the member discount to attend the conference. Learn more.

ACC Provides Registry Guidance to Congressional Committee
In January, the House Energy and Commerce Committee released a nearly 400-page first draft of 21st Century Cures legislation that would, if enacted, streamline the Food and Drug Administration's regulatory process, modernizing clinical trials and medical product regulation, and support the development of innovative cures. The ACC reviewed the proposal and submitted comments to the Committee regarding provisions affecting clinical data registries. The College, drawing on its vast experience in clinical data registries, stressed the importance of needs-based registry development, well-developed organizational structure and support, and data accuracy and quality. The College also underscored the importance of collaborating with stakeholders, including medical specialty societies and clinical data registry operators, on additional requirements that are imposed on registries. "Removing barriers to innovation and bringing new therapies to the health care space are worthy goals," said the ACC. "We applaud the Committee for this important effort." The College will submit comments on the rest of the proposal in the coming weeks.

ACC Talks Registries on Capitol Hill
Clinical data registries have been a hot topic in Washington lately. In February, the College educated Congress about the potential of registries and cemented ACC's reputation as a trusted expert in the field by hosting separate briefings on Capitol Hill for Senate and House staff. Get a recap of the briefings. Promoting the use of clinical data to improve care is one of the ACC's key advocacy priorities for 2015. The ACC will continue to advocate for the use of registries for quality improvement and research, recognition of clinical practice guidelines and appropriate use criteria, and improvements in health information technology.

State in the Spotlight: Maryland State Advocacy in Action
Earlier this month, members of the ACC's Maryland Chapter joined the Maryland Chapter of the American Heart Association and the Maryland Women's Caucus to advocate for patients in Annapolis. During Maryland Healthy Heart Day, advocates met face-to-face with several legislators and their staff members to discuss the expansion of automated external defibrillators in nursing facilities, possible repeal of restrictions on imaging for cardiologists, and the continuing work on regulations concerning external peer review. This grassroots effort was a vital opportunity for cardiovascular professionals to explain what is needed from lawmakers to improve patient care delivery.

Medicare Advantage Recommendations
As a result of significant physician concerns about "narrow network" issues in Medicare Advantage (MA) plans, the ACC and other medical specialty societies sent a joint letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) stressing that fair procedures and network stability are key to quality patient care and access. Noting that potential and existing enrollees should be provided with adequate information to make decisions about their MA plans, the societies urged CMS to increase patient protections in the MA plan offerings for 2016. The letter offers recommendations related to the continuity of care provision, network adequacy certification, directory accuracy, patient notification, look-back studies, and network adequacy assessment. "We urge CMS to ensure that MA plans provide adequate networks, that frail elderly patients are not being disproportionately discriminated against when plans terminate physicians, and that they continue to have an adequate network available," the societies wrote. "When CMS is assessing a significant change in network we urge a thorough assessment of its impacts, particularly the repercussions for patients."

Top Education and Career Growth News

ACC.15 Career Fair
About to graduate? Ready to make a career move? Join the ACC for the career fair on March 15 from 9:30 – 12:30 p.m. at the San Diego Convention Center during ACC.15. The ​ACC ​Career ​Fair ​is ​a prime opportunity ​to ​meet ​with ​health care ​organizations ​looking ​to ​hire. ​Register here. Find careers all year long with ACC’s Cardiology Careers tool here.

Dive Deep Into Your Area of Practice with ACC.org Clinical Topic Collections
By subscribing to one or more new in-depth clinical topic collection on ACC.org, ACC members can view customized content recommendations and elect to have email digests delivered right to their inbox. Clinical topic collections serve as centralized homes for guidelines and clinical documents, educational products, patient cases, expert commentary and more, all related to a specific topic area. Personalizing your ACC.org experience by subscribing to clinical topic collections is easy. Log into ACC.org, choose from the list of more than 20 clinical topic collections, select a topic and click on the “notify me” button in the upper right corner. Sign up and manage the frequency of your email digests for your selected topics, as well as other newsletter subscriptions through My Communication Preferences. For help getting started on the new website, visit the ACC.org Quick Start Guide.

Find a Mentor, Be a Mentor: Register for ACC’s Mentoring Program
The College’s online mentoring program, developed through the efforts of the Early Career Professionals Leadership Council and Section, is designed to help create and foster mutually beneficial mentor/mentee relationships. The program connects experienced cardiovascular professionals with younger professionals based on areas of interest, specialty and expertise. Register online and find out more at ACC.org/Mentoring.  

Publications

Inside ACC's "All-Hands-on-Deck" Approach to Innovation
Kevin Fitzpatrick, executive vice president and chief innovation officer of the ACC, recently shared the ACC's innovation agenda in a blog post. "The ACC recognizes that continuing to build upon and foster this culture of innovation is critical as we head into the future – especially given that the number of patients affected with cardiovascular disease and related risk factors... We cannot hope to confront the global epidemic of non-communicable diseases without an 'all-hands-on-deck' approach to innovation," he writes. "Exploring new partnerships and unique coalitions that can lead to improvements in care is critical." Read More.

Heart Month Comes to an End: How to Talk to Patients About Smoking
In a recent post on the ACC in Touch Blog, Lekshmi Santhosh, MD, Trevor Jensen, MD and Eric Stecker, MD, MPH, FACC, explain how best to talk to patients about smoking. “So, how do you talk about smoking without adding an hour or two to your day? Actually, it’s simple. The first step is to remember to ask each patient whether he or she smokes. For inpatients, get in the habit of asking at the time of admission or initial consultation. For outpatients, either ask during every visit or make sure a staff member is assigned to prominently flag current smoking status. After asking, advise smokers to quit and help them to engage with someone with experience in facilitating smoking cessation.” Read more on the ACC in Touch Blog.

Important Digital ACC Resources

Introducing the ACC CHD Clinic Directory
Developed in collaboration with the ACC’s Adult Congenital and Pediatric Cardiology Section, the ACC’s new congenital heart disease (CHD) clinic directory is an online directory on ACC’s CardioSmart website, designed to help patients, families and providers find specialty CHD care. With nearly 200 CHD centers and practices providing pediatric cardiology or specialty adult CHD services listed, the ACC hopes the directory will make it easier for CHD patients to connect with the right provider. Users can search providers by name, center, location or specialty — and easily determine if their chosen provider is a Fellow of the ACC.

Stay In Touch with the ACC via Social Media
Stay in touch with the ACC and the latest clinical and advocacy news through ACC in Touch.  ACCinTouch connects ACC members and those interested in cardiovascular news through popular social networking channels like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. Join each of these networks to connect with ACC members and those interested in cardiology. In addition to the ACC's main Twitter profile @ACCinTouch, the College also has a profile dedicated to advocacy-related news (@Cardiology). CardioSmart, the ACC's patient education and support program, also has patient-centered cardiovascular news available through Facebook, Twitter (@CardioSmart), and YouTube. For more information about ACC’s social media channels, visit ACC.org/ACCinTouch.

ACC Archived Webinars
Did you know that you can find archived webinars from throughout the years from the ACC on ACC.org? As a member, you have access to this wealth of information here. To access them, you must have an ACC.org log-in and use the confirmation code and webinar access link emailed to you once you. Questions? Contact ACC’s Resource Center at Phone: 202-375-6000, ext. 5603 or 800-253-4636, ext. 5603 or resource@acc.org.

Download ACC’s Advocacy Action Mobile App
Be sure to download the ACC Advocacy Action mobile app to get easy access to ACC's advocacy priorities and timely talking points to share during congressional visits. The app was designed to help members engage with lawmakers and influence health policy. Download it today on iTunes (iPhone, iPad) and Google Play (Android devices).

February 2015

Overarching News

MOC Process Changes from ABIM

An email from Richard J. Baron, MD, president and CEO of the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) was released recently to the internal medicine community outlines changes to its controversial Maintenance of Certification (MOC) program. In conversations with ACC leadership, Dr. Baron has expressed gratitude for the ACC’s support as well as its frank and constructive criticism during the past year of transition. Learn more about the changes in a post by ACC President Patrick T. O’Gara, MD, FACC on the ACC in Touch Blog here. The College is continuing our efforts to educate our members about the new requirements and provide them the tools and resources necessary to help them meet these requirements as efficiently as possible. The ACC has created an MOC Hub with details about ABIM's current MOC program to inform and help ACC members navigate the changes. Learn more here.

ACC Celebrates Heart Month
Each February, Heart Month provides an important opportunity to raise awareness about heart disease – the leading cause of death around the world. This year, the ACC is using Heart Month to provide cardiovascular professionals and the patients they serve with tools and resources to help prevent, or at the very least minimize, major cardiovascular risk factors like diabetes, obesity, high cholesterol and smoking. The College, along with the American Diabetes Association (ADA), hosted a Twitter Chat on Feb. 3 to kick off the month. You can see the archived tweets by following @CardioSmart or searching for the #DiabetesHeart hashtag. The month is full of other activities like guest blog posts, release of a sugar intake infographic, collaborations with partners to raise awareness of disease states, and of course, the annual winner announcement of the “I Am CardioSmart” contest. Learn about all of this and more on the ACC in Touch Blog.

ACC.org Has Arrived!
The ACC’s new website, ACC.org, is now live, offering enhanced features and design requested by ACC members. Nearly two years ago, the ACC embarked on the redesign of CardioSource.org, as part of its broader digital strategy. The goal: to leverage new technologies to ensure cardiovascular professionals and their patients have the tools and resources to communicate easily and effectively in today's increasingly digital world. Today’s launch is the culmination of this effort. Based on the demands of ACC members, content organization and navigation are at the center of the new site. ACC.org is built upon intuitive navigation and improved search performance, which will help users easily navigate the large volume of complex ACC content contained in the site. Key highlights include mobile optimization, personalization options, streamlined navigation and improved search performance – all of which make the website easier to use whether in the office, at home or on the go. Get started with the ACC.org Quick Start Guide. Your former CardioSource username and password are the keys to logging in.

Top Science and Quality News

PINNACLE Registry Wraps Up Successful Year of Research
In a recent ACC in Touch Blog, William J. Oetgen, MD, MBA, FACC, executive vice president of Science, Education and Quality for the ACC writes about a research project recently presented during the 66th Annual Conference of the Cardiological Society of India. The study analyzed data from the PINNACLE Registry India database, which now includes more than 100,000 patient records collected from Indian hospital outpatient clinics. “Not only does this study inform us on guideline-recommended medication use among patients in India, but it also marks the first time data from ACC’s outpatient registry in India have been presented at a conference outside of the U.S.,” writes Oetgen. In addition, Oetgen summarizes the other notable research that arose from the PINNACLE Registry in 2014. Read more on the ACC in Touch Blog.

NQF Opens Public Comment Period for Cardiovascular Measures 2014 Project
The National Quality Forum is seeking public comments until Feb. 27 on 16 cardiovascular measures. Two of the 16 measures were submitted by the American College of Cardiology Foundation/American Heart Association Task Force on Performance Measures and the American Medical Association Physician Consortium for Performance Improvement and are related to atrial fibrillation. The public comment period provides an opportunity for members of the cardiovascular community and other stakeholders to play an active role in the development of performance measures that could have a direct impact on hospitals and facilities. Submit comments via the NQF website by Feb. 27. Read more here.

Top Advocacy and Health Policy News

Write to Your Legislators in the 114th Congress
The 114th Congress has convened in Washington, DC, and the ACC needs your help with education and outreach! With a number of new lawmakers and a shift in power in the Senate, now is a crucial time for ACC members to educate policymakers about the impact their decisions have on patients, providers and practices. Clinicians are able to offer unique, patient-provider expertise at a time when the future of medicine is being debated. Our members are critical components of our congressional grassroots efforts. The ACC's key priorities for 2015 are to:

  • Creating a value-driven health care system
  • Ensuring patient access to care and cardiovascular practice stability
  • Promoting the use of clinical data to improve care
  • Fostering research and innovation in cardiovascular care
  • Improving population health and preventing cardiovascular disease

Click here to send a pre-populated letter to your legislators. The ACC community must urge members of Congress to reduce regulatory burdens on clinicians and support our efforts to provide the delivery of high-quality, cardiovascular care.

HHS Establishes Health Care Payment Learning and Action Network
Highlighting a need to continue improving the quality of care Medicare beneficiaries receive while reducing the growth of health care costs, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently announced the establishment of a Health Care Payment Learning and Action Network of stakeholders to align work across sectors. The Network will seek to help the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) meet its goals of making 30 percent of fee-for-service payments through alternative payment models and population-based payments by the end of 2016 and 50 percent by the end of 2018. This is another in a series of efforts to pay providers for value rather than volume. ACC members already interact with many of the programs cited as examples of improvements to the delivery system. "The Department of Health and Human Services' plan to move Medicare from a volume-based system to a value-based system is an important one and aligns with the ACC's goal to transform care for patients," said ACC President Patrick T. O'Gara, MD, FACC. "The creation of an Action Network, announced by Secretary Sylvia Burwell, has the potential to be an exciting and encouraging step." Your ACC looks forward to continuing to find ways for members to succeed in an evolving payment environment by providing high-quality care that can align with these programmatic goals.

EHR Incentive Program Changes in the Works
CMS recently announced that it intends to update the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record Incentive Programs through the rulemaking process beginning this year. Feedback from health care organizations and stakeholders, including the ACC, was instrumental in CMS' decision to consider shortening the 2015 reporting period to 90 days, realigning hospital reporting periods to the calendar year and modifying other aspects of the program. CMS noted that these proposed changes align with HHS' commitment to fostering a health information technology infrastructure that elevates patient-centered care, improves health outcomes and supports the providers who care for patients. Reps. Renee Ellmers (R-NC) and Ron Kind (D-WI) deserve recognition for clearly listening to physician constituents and encouraging CMS to make this important change. This initiative is separate and distinct from the widely anticipated proposed Stage 3 rule that is also expected this spring.

ACC Member Selected for FDA Post
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently named Robert Califf, MD, MACC, as the FDA Deputy Commissioner for Medical Products and Tobacco. Califf, who is currently the vice chancellor of clinical and translational research at Duke University, will join the FDA in February. "The ACC is proud to see such a distinguished member of our organization called into service by the FDA to help ensure that public health and safety remain national priorities," said ACC President Patrick T. O'Gara, MD, FACC. "Dr. Califf will oversee policy initiatives related to precision medicine, the approval of new therapies – including drugs and devices, preventative medicine and the regulation of tobacco products. He will play a vital role in fostering innovation in public health while protecting public safety by serving as a bridge between medical professionals and the FDA."

A First Look at 21st Century Cures Proposals
The House Energy and Commerce Committee recently released a 400 page draft of a proposal that would, if enacted, streamline the FDA's regulatory process, modernizing clinical trials and medical product regulation, and support the development of innovative cures. The "21st Century Cures" discussion document is the result several months of hearings, including one at which ACC President Patrick T. O'Gara, MD, FACC, shared cardiology's perspective on personalized medicine. Your ACC is carefully reviewing the document and consulting with members to determine the strengths and weaknesses of proposals, especially those that might impact registries, cardiovascular devices or other cardiology-related items. The College is in close communication with Committee staff and will prepare comments on the draft, which is the first step in the legislative process. Input and grassroots advocacy from ACC members will be key as Congress moves forward.

Registry Briefing on Capitol Hill on Feb. 11
On Feb. 11, the ACC will host briefings for House and Senate leaders on how the NCDR is fostering innovation and improving care. Ralph G. Brindis, MD, MPH, MACC, will brief congressional leaders on ways in which NCDR is leading the way for clinical data and discuss the critical role registries are playing in the ever-changing health care landscape. Stay tuned to ACC.org and ACCinTouch Blog for full coverage.

Thriving in a Time of Change: CV Summit Recap
The future of health care reform was explored during last week's Cardiovascular Summit, where Paul H. Keckley, PhD, managing director of Navigant Healthcare, walked through how recent legislative activity – from the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act to the Physician Payments Sunshine Act – has shaped a "new normal" for physicians. According to Keckley, cardiology is faced with increased competition for solutions, innovation and approaches; increased transparency; new value expectations from payers and consumers; and expanded opportunities for influence and business growth. While there is an abundance of uncertainty in this new era of health care, he stressed that "there's no going back" and health care professionals must adapt. The Summit armed hundreds of cardiologists, cardiovascular administrators, nurses and other cardiovascular professionals with value-based care strategies and tactics, tools for optimizing health care data, and effective leadership skills to help them thrive in this new era of health care. Read more about the Summit on the ACC in Touch Blog.

FDA Update
The Food and Drug Administration has approved the Protégé GPS Self-Expanding Peripheral Stent System, an implantable stent that delivers blood to the iliac arteries; the Melody Transcatheter Pulmonary Valve, an artificial heart valve made from the jugular vein valve of a cow; Prestalia, a fixed-dose combination of perindopril arginine and amlodipine; and the Impella Right Percutaneous System for patients with right ventricular heart failure or decompensation. The FDA also announced it will strengthen its review process of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in order to improve the devices' quality and reliability. The applications for AEDs will be examined a under more rigorous manner to ensure the necessary accessories and the devices themselves are ready to market.

ACC Weighs in on GME
In order to understand the graduate medical education (GME) crisis and its impact on U.S. health care, the House Energy and Commerce Committee asked stakeholders, including the ACC, to provide feedback on the current GME situation and the future of medical training. In a letter to the Committee, the ACC stressed that attention must be given to multi-disciplinary management of chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, that cross multiple medical specialties. Additionally, health care delivery systems and regional and population-based needs should be evaluated. The College noted that cutting-edge training for America's health care workforce is necessary given the complex diagnostic and management algorithms needed to combat cardiovascular disease and related conditions. Furthermore, there must be adequate funding for academic teaching hospitals in order to ensure the continuation of the critical services they provide, especially to vulnerable populations. Training for outpatient and preventative care services is also crucial. Read more.

ACC President Comments on State of the Union
In his State of the Union address, President Obama called on the nation to lead a 'new era of medicine' and announced the Precision Medicine Initiative. "Incredible advances have already been made in cardiovascular research and I hope initiatives like this will lead to even more important discoveries, treatments, and cures that can be directed to patients more quickly," said ACC President Patrick T. O'Gara, MD, FACC, in a statement. "The promise of precision medicine is within our grasp." Last year, O'Gara provided cardiology's perspective on personalized medicine during a 21st Century Cures panel hosted by the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Action in the States
Michigan Governor Rick Snyder in January vetoed three electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) bills that he felt did not go far enough to regulate the devices. If enacted, Michigan's legislation would have deviated from the advice of 40 state attorneys general, including Michigan's, who are supportive of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulation. "We need to make sure that e-cigarettes and other nicotine-containing devices are regulated in the best interest of public health," Snyder said in response to his decision. "It's important that these devices be treated like tobacco products and help people become aware of the dangers e-cigarettes pose." ACC's Michigan Chapter supported the governor's action. While the FDA does not currently have regulatory authority over e-cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, nicotine gels, waterpipe (or hookah) tobacco and dissolvables, the Agency is expected to issue a final regulation this year that would allow it to do so. The College and a number of ACC chapters called on the FDA to strictly regulate e-cigarettes and other tobacco products last summer.

Advocacy – An Individual Right and a Professional Responsibility
In a recent post on the ACC in Touch Blog, Richard Chazal, MD, FACC, vice president of the ACC, explores professional responsibility to advocacy and the ACC's most recent efforts in health policy. "The ACC's long-term advocacy focus has been, and continues to be on the ultimate wellbeing of patients, both in the U.S. and around the globe. One need only look at some of the College's recent efforts to make this point: advocacy for funding for cardiovascular research; advocacy for the use of scientific registries for quality improvement; advocacy for pulse ox legislation and smoke-free laws. The list goes on. Expansion of work into the international sphere is also underway. The College has played an integral role in global policy efforts to battle non-communicable diseases and is working with partner societies and ACC International Chapters around the globe to support policies aimed at improving heart health and reducing cardiovascular mortality." Read more on the ACC in Touch Blog.

Coding Corner
To help physicians avoid fraud and abuse, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has revised a web-based training course designed to provide education on the federal laws that combat fraud and abuse. The "Medicare Secondary Payer for Providers, Physicians, Other Suppliers, and Billing Staff" Fact Sheet, which provides education on the Medicare Secondary Payer provisions, has also been revised.

Top Education and Career Growth News

Note: See Overarching News for MOC Update from ABIM

Register for ACC.15 in San Diego
Time is running out to join the world’s leading cardiovascular professionals at ACC.15 in San Diego, California, from March 14 – 16, where the focus is on more learning, less lecturing. At ACC.15, attendees will get first-hand access to late-breaking science and state-of-the-art clinical advances — the knowledge needed to transform cardiovascular care and improve heart health. Register now.

Find a Mentor, Be a Mentor: Register for ACC’s Mentoring Program
The College’s online mentoring program, developed through the efforts of the Early Career Professionals Leadership Council and Section, is designed to help create and foster mutually beneficial mentor/mentee relationships. The program connects experienced cardiovascular professionals with younger professionals based on areas of interest, specialty and expertise. Register online and find out more at ACC.org/Mentoring.  

Publications

Manuscripts Welcome for JACC: Clinical Electrophysiology
JACC: Clinical Electrophysiology is now accepting manuscript submissions for publication! Led by Editor-in-Chief David J. Wilber, MD, FACC, the new journal, which will publish its first issue in March 2015, will encompass all aspects of epidemiology, pathogenesis, diagnosis and treatment of cardiac arrhythmias. Submissions of original research and state-of-the-art reviews from cardiology, cardiovascular surgery, neurology, outcomes research and related fields are encouraged. Experimental and pre-clinical work that directly relates to diagnostic or therapeutic interventions are also encouraged. Submit your manuscripts here.

JACC Leadership Page: The ACC’s Renewed Commitment to Medical Professionalism
In a recent Leadership Page in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, ACC President Patrick T. O’Gara, MD, FACC, along with Debra L. Ness, MS, and John Gordon Harold, MD, MACC, provide an overview of the Physician Charter on Medical Professionalism that was recently endorsed by the ACC’s Board of Trustees. The Charter underscores that professionalism is the basis of medicine’s contract with society and lays out several fundamental principles, as well as a set of professional responsibilities for physicians to adhere to. Given the challenges facing the practice of medicine and the specialty of cardiology, the authors write: “What better time than the present to pause and review the fundamental principles by which we all aspire to conduct ourselves?” Read more in the Leadership page.

JACC Leadership Page Calls for United Effort to End Tobacco Use in U.S.
In a Leadership Page in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, ACC CEO Shalom Jacobovitz calls for colleagues, partners and leaders in the health care industry to stand together and put an end to tobacco use in America. “Unfortunately, despite increased taxation on tobacco products and smoke-free legislation, cigarettes are still used by more than 42 million adult Americans, and the burden on health care systems is heavy,” writes Jacobovitz. Through efforts like the ACC’s CardioSmart program, a partnership with the Million Hearts initiative and participation in the Non-Communicable Diseases Alliance, the ACC is focusing on prevention as part of an overarching commitment to population health. Read more.

JACC Leadership Page: The Value of ACC Membership
In a previous Leadership Page in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, ACC CEO Shalom Jacobovitz discusses the College’s focus on increasing the value of ACC membership in the changing health care landscape. As health care undergoes significant and rapid change, “the ACC is dedicating more time and energy than ever to make certain that our 47,000 members have the tools and information necessary to meet change head-on, while also continuing to provide the best, most appropriate care to the ever-increasing number of people with heart disease,” writes Jacobovitz. In particular, Jacobovitz discusses member value at the center of ACC chapters, member sections, digital offerings, education and advocacy. Read more.

JACC Leadership Page: The Future of GME Funding
ACC leaders Patrick T. O’Gara, MD, FACC; Alfred A. Bove, MD, MACC; and William J. Oetgen, MD, MBA, FACC in a Leadership Page in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology take a closer look at Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommendations for changes to the financing and governance of graduate medical education (GME) funding over the next decade. While applauding the IOM for examining the need for long-term, stable, GME funding – the authors stress the need for careful consideration of the details, including how to ensure enough physicians to meet the projected workforce shortage, the role of team-based care and impacts of funding cuts to academic teaching hospitals. Read more.

JACC Podcasts Now Available on iTunes!
Stay updated on the latest emerging science in clinical cardiology with FREE audio summaries of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Each week, renowned Editor-in-Chief Valentin Fuster, MD, PhD, MACC provides an overview of the latest issue, including commentary and highlights on each of the papers published. Just search JACC Audio Podcasts in your iTunes store to download today! Also download the JACC for iPad app for easy access to articles, slides and to customize your personal folder of JACC content for use in presentations.

Important Digital ACC Resources

ACC Takes Guidelines on the Go With New Guideline Clinical App
The ACC’s new Guideline Clinical App is the mobile home of clinical guideline content and tools for clinicians caring for patients with cardiovascular disease. Now, clinicians can access guideline recommendations, “10 Points” summaries, and tools such as risk scores, calculators and algorithms. Bookmark, note-taking and shareable PDF features make it easy to customize the App on-the-go. The App's first release offers Heart Failure, Assessment of Cardiovascular Risk, and Treatment of Blood Cholesterol guideline content. In December, Atrial Fibrillation and Valvular Heart Disease Guidelines will be added.  To download the free App, search “ACC Guidelines” in the iTunes or Google Play app stores. Help the ACC find new and better ways to deliver guideline content to clinicians by sharing your feedback.

Stay In Touch with the ACC via Social Media
Stay in touch with the ACC and the latest clinical and advocacy news through ACCinTouch.  ACCinTouch connects ACC members and those interested in cardiovascular news through popular social networking channels like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. Join each of these networks to connect with ACC members and those interested in cardiology. In addition to the ACC's main Twitter profile @ACCinTouch, the College also has a profile dedicated to advocacy-related news (@Cardiology). CardioSmart, the ACC's patient education and support program, also has patient-centered cardiovascular news available through Facebook, Twitter (@CardioSmart), and YouTube. For more information about ACC’s social media channels, visit ACC.org/ACCinTouch.

ACC Archived Webinars
Did you know that you can find archived webinars from throughout the years from the ACC on ACC.org? As a member, you have access to this wealth of information here. To access them, you must have a ACC.org log-in and use the confirmation code and webinar access link emailed to you once you. Questions? Contact ACC’s Resource Center at Phone: 202-375-6000, ext. 5603 or 800-253-4636, ext. 5603 or resource@acc.org.

Download ACC’s New Advocacy Action Mobile App
Be sure to download the new ACC Advocacy Action mobile app to get easy access to ACC's advocacy priorities and timely talking points to share during congressional visits. The app was designed to help members engage with lawmakers and influence health policy. Download it today on iTunes (iPhone, iPad) and Google Play (Android devices).
 

November and December 2014

Overarching News

ACC Partners with 1776 to Identify, Support Innovative Health Startups

The ACC is partnering with 1776, the global incubator and investment fund, as an association partner in addition to supporting 1776’s Challenge Cup – a global competition spanning 16 cities in 11 countries to identify the most promising health startups solving some of the health care industry’s biggest challenges. As a key part of 1776’s incubation model, connecting startups with high-level mentors and corporate partners is just as important as connecting startups to capital and venture funds. Association partners like the ACC introduce startups to potential customers, investors and industry leaders that can take their company to the next level. As a Challenge Cup partner, the ACC will provide this year’s regional winners with an unparalleled opportunity to learn about healthcare and pitch their companies: an all-expense paid trip to participate in its 64th Annual Scientific Session in San Diego, CA. Read more about the partnership.

Deadlines and Reminders

Submit LBCTs for ACC.15 by Dec. 8
The ACC is now accepting submissions of Late-Breaking Clinical Trials (LBCTs) until Monday, December 8 at 11:59 p.m. ET. Don’t miss the chance to share your science with the most influential professionals in the field of cardiology. Submit your Late-Breakers today. This year ACC.15 will feature five LBCT sessions featuring the latest cutting-edge science and research. Three of the sessions will be co-sponsored by the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC), the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) and the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM). Each accepted submission will be considered for JACC Rapid Review and publication in JACCJAMA and NEJM. Please read the full Submission Instructions and Policies and Procedures prior to submitting your LBCT.

Stand with Your FACC Colleagues at Convocation: Advance to AACC
As a cardiovascular team member of the ACC, you have already demonstrated your commitment to quality care. Now, gain recognition for being among those providing the highest level of cardiovascular care by advancing to Associate of the ACC (AACC). The designation recognizes cardiovascular team members of the ACC who have shown their commitment through advanced education, training and professional development, and have been members of the College for at least two years. Stand with FACC colleagues and accept the AACC designation at Convocation in San Diego at ACC.15. Over 200 cardiovascular team members have already been selected for advancement. Join them by submitting an application today! The deadline for applications is January 15, 2015 to be considered for participation.

ACC Member Renewals are Due Dec. 10
ACC membership provides you with access to benefits that support you from your training through retirement—renew your ACC membership by the deadline of Dec. 10 online today at CardioSource.org/Dues or by calling the ACC Resource Center at (202) 375-6000, ext. 5603. This last year, the ACC has worked to be your home for support in all aspects of CV medicine by adding increasingly more value to your membership. We have:

  • Unlocked over 300 educational activities online for FREE—including MOC modules and activities—to make it easy for our members to obtain credits they need at reduced or no cost.
  • Pushed for our members’ interests to the ABIM in regards to their changes to the MOC process
  • Advocated for you on the hill with over 1,200 interactions with policymakers and submitting over 50 official legislative letters, testimonies and briefings. 
  • Expanded our networking opportunities with a new Mentoring program
  • Increased opportunities for you to network within your specialty/interest areas with six NEW member sections
  • Developed mobile resources available to help you at the point of care, including a patient education app—and coming soon—a new guidelines app
  • Unveiled a new five-year strategic plan designed to steer College initiatives to help our members transform cardiovascular care and improve heart health

ACC’s Cardiovascular Summit: Solutions for Thriving in a Time of Change
Seeking to improve patient outcomes and experiences through the delivery of high quality, cost effective care? Attend the ACC’s Cardiovascular Summit: Solutions for Thriving in a Time of Change, Jan. 22 – 24, 2015 in Orlando, FL, to develop a customized plan of action and learn about value-based care strategies and tactics, optimization of health care data, and effective leadership skills to ensure your practice thrives during these rapidly changing times. A course for the entire cardiovascular team, the Cardiovascular Summit will utilize dynamic teaching methods and feature small group workshops for all skill levels and practices. Read a recent post on the ACC in Touch Blog by C. Michael Valentine, MD, FACC, co-director of the Cardiovascular Summit on the value of attending. Register today.

Top Science and Quality News

Check Out ACC Coverage of the Hottest Science from AHA 2014          
The ACC provided full coverage of the latest science from the American Heart Association (AHA) Scientific Sessions in Chicago, IL. For news coverage, trial summaries, slide presentations, video interviews, and more, visit the AHA Meeting Coverage page on CardioSource.org. Also check out daily video coverage on the ACC in Touch Blog.

ACC Takes Guidelines on the Go With New Guideline Clinical App
The ACC’s new Guideline Clinical App is the mobile home of clinical guideline content and tools for clinicians caring for patients with cardiovascular disease. Now, clinicians can access guideline recommendations, “10 Points” summaries, and tools such as risk scores, calculators and algorithms. Bookmark, note-taking and shareable PDF features make it easy to customize the App on-the-go. The App's first release offers Heart Failure, Assessment of Cardiovascular Risk, and Treatment of Blood Cholesterol guideline content. In December, Atrial Fibrillation and Valvular Heart Disease Guidelines will be added.  To download the free App, search “ACC Guidelines” in the iTunes or Google Play app stores. Learn more about the App. Help the ACC find new and better ways to deliver guideline content to clinicians by sharing your feedback.

ACC Names Final Round of Patient Navigator Program Hospitals
The final 20 hospitals have been named as participants in the ACC Patient Navigator Program, bringing the total number of participants to 35. The first of its kind in cardiology, the program supports national efforts to reduce unnecessary patient readmissions related to heart attacks and heart failure. Nearly one in five Medicare patients hospitalized with a heart attack and one in four Medicare patients hospitalized with heart failure are readmitted within 30 days of discharge, often for conditions seemingly unrelated to their original diagnosis. “The Patient Navigator Program is a unique collaboration between the cardiovascular care team, patients and families to manage the stress of hospitalization for complex conditions in a way that allows patients to return home, remain healthy and avoid the need for readmission whenever possible,” said ACC President Patrick T. O’Gara, MD, FACC. Read more on CardioSource.org.

ACC and AHA Issue Report on Clinician-Patient Shared Accountability in Performance Measures
A new report detailing concepts for shared accountability in performance measures between clinicians and patients has been released by the ACC, American Heart Association, American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation, American Academy of Family Physicians and the American Nurses Association in collaboration with other professional organizations. The report was published Nov. 3 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, and examines the use of performance measures and how their implementation may be improved for care. Read more on CardioSource.org.

Physicians Can Track Care with Confidential CathPCI Physician Dashboard
Did you know that ACC members affiliated with NCDR CathPCI Registry hospitals can use the CathPCI Registry Physician Dashboard to take advantage of registry data to track and improve the quality of care provided to patients? The free dashboard, which can be accessed securely via the ACC’s CardioSource.org website, allows physicians to privately view their registry data including appropriateness of percutaneous coronary interventions, volume of cases treated, observed and expected mortality, door-to-balloon times and vascular complications. It also allows comparisons to other CathPCI Registry physicians in aggregate. In addition to raising awareness of performance, the dashboard can also help physicians earn Maintenance of Certification Part IV credit. Learn more at NCDR.com/CathPCIPhysicianDashboard.

Top Advocacy and Health Policy News

Tell Congress This is Our Best Chance for SGR Repeal
With the 113th Congress drawing to a close, we are faced with our last chance in this Congress to pass a bill to finally repeal the flawed formula for Medicare payments – the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR). The current situation presents an unprecedented opportunity for repeal and momentum toward much-needed Medicare stability and reform will be stalled if this opportunity is missed. You and your colleagues have been integral in pushing the process this far.  Join us again in demanding that Congress take this critical opportunity. Send a letter to your lawmakers urging them to tell their leadership to take the “SGR Repeal and Medicare Provider Payment Modernization Act of 2014” (H.R. 4015/ S. 2000) to the floor for a vote before the end of the lame duck session. Learn more.

Election Results Are In
Over the course of the 2014 cycle, ACC's Political Action Committee (ACCPAC) supported 109 candidates throughout the country who will be in the position to formulate and control the policies that will impact health care for patients with cardiovascular disease; facilitate the delivery of high-quality, cost-effective cardiovascular services; and fund cardiovascular research and prevention. This week's election results were very much in the College's favor, with over 90 percent (99) of ACCPAC-supported candidates winning their elections. Through the generous support of its members, ACCPAC has established itself as the leading voice of the cardiovascular community on Capitol Hill and has built the relationships necessary to deliver cardiology's message directly to lawmakers. Take a look at examples of what ACC's advocacy efforts have accomplished during the 112th and 113th Congresses (2011-2014). Contributing to ACCPAC is an investment in your practice, your profession and your future. Become a member today. To learn more about ACCPAC, contact Kendra Adams at kadams@acc.org.

Regulations Finalized for 2015 Medicare Fee Schedule and Hospital Outpatient Services  
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has released two final regulations of note to cardiovascular professionals. These rules determine the payment levels and associated policies for services provided under the Physician Fee Schedule and the Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System. The rules indicate that physicians will see no change in payment for the first three months of 2015 due to the latest Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) patch. However, the SGR will take effect April 1, 2015, unless Congress again intervenes. At that time physicians would face a 21.2 percent cut as a result of the legally mandated SGR. Hospitals will receive a 2.3 percent increase in payment. The ACC continues to urge Congress to permanently address this issue. Changes unrelated to the SGR result in a flat payment for services provided by cardiologists in 2015. This estimate is based on the entire universe of cardiology services and can vary widely depending on the mix of services provided in a practice. For details on important proposals for cardiology contained in the rules and resources to help you navigate the changes, visit CardioSource.org.  

Your Guide to 2015 Cardiovascular Coding
You can breathe a sigh of relief! Changes to existing CPT codes for cardiology were kept to a minimum for 2015. Next year will see CPT codes for newer technology and procedures. Key categories with updated language and new codes in 2015 include subcutaneous implantable defibrillators, transcatheter mitral valve repair, implantable cardiac device evaluations, advanced care planning and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. Get a detailed summary of next year's coding changes on CardioSource.org. Your ACC has several resources to help you efficiently and accurately report cardiovascular services and procedures next year. The 2015 CPT Reference Guide for Cardiovascular Coding, co-published by the ACC and the AMA, is designed to help cardiovascular professionals select the appropriate codes for diagnostic and therapeutic radiological and cardiovascular procedures. The CPT Guide also provides a complete overview of the heart structures, vessels and conduction system, including cardiovascular basics and common ailments. Stay ahead of coding changes. Order your copy today. You can also review a recent webinar on CPT changes for cardiology in 2015.

ACC is Advocating for You  
ACC Advocacy seeks to advance the College's mission of improving the cardiovascular wellbeing of the nation through interactions with Congress, federal government agencies, state legislative and regulatory bodies, private insurers and other policy making groups. By advocating for a quality driven health care system, provider stability, population health and the future of cardiovascular medicine, the ACC is leading the transformation of care. ACC's Advocacy efforts on both the federal and state level have resulted in numerous notable wins so far this year. Successes include tackling the Sustainable Growth Rate, facilitating alternative payment model participation, testifying during congressional committee hearings, advancing crucial legislation in the states, connecting a record number of ACC members with lawmakers, and having the number one cardiovascular political action committee. Take a closer look at how ACC is advocating for you.

2015 Final Rule Review Webinar
The final rules for the 2015 Physician Fee Schedule and Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System include a number of changes relevant to those who care for cardiovascular patients. Will you be prepared for the changes coming next year? Join ACC on Dec. 4 at 2:30 p.m. ET for a free webinar that will summarize the most important issues included in the 2015 final rules. This is also an opportunity for you to ask questions and share feedback. Register now.

Avoid PQRS Penalty
Physicians who do not report to the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) in 2014 will receive a 2 percent penalty on all 2016 allowable charges. Avoid the penalty by reporting through the ACC's PQRSwizard, an easy to use online tool to help you quickly and easily participate in the program. Similar to online tax preparation software, the wizard guides you through a few easy steps to rapidly collect, validate and submit your results to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). You can select from the Heart Failure or Coronary Artery Disease Measures Group options to report on 20 of your patients seen in 2014, 11 of which must be Medicare Part B Fee-for-Service patients. The price per individual professional is $249. Groups of 10 or more providers are eligible for a group discount. Visit CardioSource.org for more information on navigating PQRS.

Top Education and Career Growth News

ACC’s MOC Hub
The American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) implemented changes to its Maintenance of Certification (MOC) program for board-certified internists on January 1, 2014. The ACC and other members of the internal medicine community received a letter from the ABIM Board of Directors responding to a number of the concerns previously outlined by ACC and other professional organizations regarding the revised requirements for the ABIM Maintenance of Certification (MOC) Program. In this letter ABIM committed to further to changes in the MOC process to address these concerns — read the ACC in Touch blog to learn more. The College is continuing our efforts to educate our members about the new requirements and provide them the tools and resources necessary to help them meet these requirements as efficiently as possible. The ACC has created an MOC Hub with details about ABIM's current MOC program to inform and help ACC members navigate the changes. Learn more here.

Find a Mentor, Be a Mentor: Register for ACC’s Mentoring Program
The College’s online mentoring program, developed through the efforts of the Early Career Professionals Leadership Council and Section, is designed to help create and foster mutually beneficial mentor/mentee relationships. The program connects experienced cardiovascular professionals with younger professionals based on areas of interest, specialty and expertise. Register online and find out more at CardioSource.org/Mentoring.  

Publications

JACC Podcasts Now Available on iTunes!
Stay updated on the latest emerging science in clinical cardiology with FREE audio summaries of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Each week, renowned Editor-in-Chief Valentin Fuster, MD, PhD, MACC provides an overview of the latest issue, including commentary and highlights on each of the papers published. Just search JACC Audio Podcasts in your iTunes store to download today! Also download the JACC for iPad app for easy access to articles, slides and to customize your personal folder of JACC content for use in presentations.

JACC Leadership Page: The ACC Looks to Balance Emerging Science and Clinical Practice Guideline Development
In a recent Leadership Page in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC), ACC President Patrick T. O’Gara, MD, FACC, discusses recent clinical trials that have caused both physicians and the media to raise questions about the need to change current clinical practice guideline recommendations. In particular, O’Gara discusses three trials released during the 2014 European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress – PARADIGM-HF, CvLPRIT and TASTE. “These and other trials underscore the fact that science is not static, but is rather constantly evolving.” says O’Gara. “Moving ahead, the ACC will need to pay continued attention to just how, and how quickly, we can and should implement changes to the guidelines, as well as to develop tools to make these guidelines accessible at the point of care. O’Gara also calls for efforts to harmonize guideline recommendations with international colleagues, particularly the ESC, to reduce confusion about recommendations across borders, minimize duplication and streamline future guideline development efforts across the global community. Read more on the JACC Leadership Page.

Marijuana (Medical and Otherwise)
The cover story in the latest issue of CardioSource WorldNews discusses the benefits of medical marijuana and the increasing use of recreational marijuana. “Of greatest interest to the cardiology community: evidence that inhaled cannabis has adverse cardiovascular consequences. Couple that with its increasing use and decriminalization, we're not just blowing smoke to say that if you haven't already seen a pot-related acute coronary syndrome, you might in the very near future.” However, the article explains that the cardiology community has done little clinical research on the cardiovascular effects of inhaled marijuana. Other articles include a clinical innovators column interview with Rahul C. Deo, MD, PhD, who was awarded the National Institutes of Health Director's New Innovator Award for his research in the genetics of cardiovascular disease; a straight talk column on promoting exercise vital signs in clinical practice; and more. Check out the full issue at CardioSource.org/CSWN.

Important Digital ACC Resources

Stay In Touch with the ACC via Social Media
Stay in touch with the ACC and the latest clinical and advocacy news through ACCinTouch.  ACCinTouch connects ACC members and those interested in cardiovascular news through popular social networking channels like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. Join each of these networks to connect with ACC members and those interested in cardiology. In addition to the ACC's main Twitter profile @ACCinTouch, the College also has a profile dedicated to advocacy-related news (@Cardiology). CardioSmart, the ACC's patient education and support program, also has patient-centered cardiovascular news available through Facebook, Twitter (@CardioSmart), and YouTube. For more information about ACC’s social media channels, visit CardioSource.org/ACCinTouch.

ACC Archived Webinars
Did you know that you can find archived webinars from throughout the years from the ACC on CardioSource.org? As a member, you have access to this wealth of information here. To access them, you must have a CardioSource.org log-in and use the confirmation code and webinar access link emailed to you once you. Questions? Contact ACC’s Resource Center at Phone: 202-375-6000, ext. 5603 or 800-253-4636, ext. 5603 or resource@acc.org.

Download ACC’s New Advocacy Action Mobile App
Be sure to download the new ACC Advocacy Action mobile app to get easy access to ACC's advocacy priorities and timely talking points to share during congressional visits. The app was designed to help members engage with lawmakers and influence health policy. Download it today on iTunes (iPhone, iPad) and Google Play (Android devices).
 

October 2014

Hot Topics and Overarching News

Global CVD in the Spotlight: World Heart Day
With the United Nations poised to debate and decide its Sustainable Development Goals for 2015 and beyond, the cardiovascular diseases community has a rare opportunity over the next few months to convince international bodies to devote appropriate resources to curb the rise of non-communicable diseases, including cardiovascular disease and stroke, according to a statement published recently from the Global Cardiovascular Disease Taskforce. The statement, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC), was released just before the cardiovascular community came together to build awareness of heart disease as part of World Heart Day. Given that the majority of cardiovascular disease is caused by food intake, physical activity levels and living environment, this year's World Heart Day was focused on promoting heart healthy environments where people live, work and play. See posts from the ACC on World Heart Day on ACC's Facebook page and Twitter feed.

Vote for Your State’s BOG and Cardiovascular Team State Liaison
Elections for the 2014 Board of Governors (BOG) and Cardiovascular Team State Liaisons will be held Oct. 22 – Nov. 17. Elected representatives will bring local needs to national attention, create new initiatives, develop quality, advocacy, and educational opportunities, and expand the value of membership. To learn which states will be holding elections and for more information about the election process, visit CardioSource.org/Elections. Official results will be announced after the Board of Trustees meeting on Dec. 8.

Top Science and Quality News

New NSTE-ACS Guideline
The ACC and AHA released the new 2014 Guideline for the Management of Patients With Non–ST-Elevation Acute Coronary Syndromes (NSTE-ACS). The guideline has a new name and new terminology that reflect current ways of thinking about this frequent and serious cardiac condition, and is the first full revision since the 2007 ACC/AHA Guideline or the Management of Patients with Unstable Angina and Non–ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarction (NSTEMI) and subsequent focused updates. Read more.

ACC Updates Choosing Wisely Heart Attack Recommendation
In response to new science showing that complete revascularization of all significantly blocked arteries leads to better outcomes in some heart attack patients, the ACC has withdrawn its Choosing Wisely recommendation that patients and caregivers examine whether this practice is truly necessary. As part of its American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation Choosing Wisely list of five things providers and patients should question released in April 2012, the ACC recommended questioning any intervention beyond unblocking just the "culprit" artery responsible for the heart attack in a hemodynamically stable patient. At the time the list was released, there were several nonrandomized studies demonstrating harm to patients when treating all significantly blocked arteries. However, over the past two years, new science has emerged showing potential improvements for some patients in their overall outcomes as a result of complete revascularization. Read more.

ACC/AHA Release Recommendations For Congenital and Genetic Heart Disease Screenings in Youth
Health care professionals should use a 14-element checklist when evaluating healthy, young individuals ages 12-25 for congenital and genetic heart disease vs. initial screening using electrocardiograms (ECGs), according to a new scientific statement released by the ACC and the American Heart Association and published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Read more about the recommendations on CardioSource.org.

Top Advocacy and Health Policy News

State Advocacy in Action: California
California Governor Jerry Brown has signed into law S.B. 906, a measure strongly supported by the ACC's California Chapter. The law creates the Elective Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI) Program in the California Department of Public Health. It also authorizes certification of general acute care hospitals that provide urgent and emergent cardiac catheterization laboratory service. In order to be certified, a hospital must provide proof that it follows ACC, American Heart Association and Society for Cardiac Angiography and Interventions recommendations for performance of PCI without onsite cardiac surgery, and agree to participate in and provide timely data to the NCDR.

Pulse Oximetry Wins: Rhode Island, Mississippi, Washington
Three states are working toward joining the 40 that have mandated pulse oximetry screening for critical congenital heart disease (CCHD). The Rhode Island Department of Health has completed work on regulations that will become effective July 1, 2015. The Mississippi Department of Health has scheduled a vote on pulse oximetry regulations at its October meeting. According to Thad F. Waites, MD, FACC, a member of the ACC's Board of Trustees, the regulations will take effect immediately. Additionally, Washington State Rep. Dawn Morrell, a cardiac nurse, has written a letter to her state's department of health urging it to consider pulse oximetry regulations at its October meeting. Passing CCHD screening legislation is one of the College's state advocacy priorities and the ACC is continually working with local ACC Chapters, ACC's Adult Congenital and Pediatric Cardiology Section, and partners such as Mended Hearts and Mended Little Hearts to ensure the voice of CCHD patients and caregivers is heard on the state level as well as Capitol Hill.

Senate Finance Committee Examines CHIP Expiration
The Senate Finance Health Subcommittee recently held a hearing titled, "The Children's Health Insurance Program: Protecting America's Children and Families," which focused primarily on the pending expiration of the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Although the program is authorized through 2019, funding for CHIP expires in 2015. A lapse in funding for this crucial program could lead to significant disruption for state governments, private health plans, hospitals and numerous other stakeholders in addition to the families whose children are enrolled in the program. Panelists at the hearing cited difficulty with planning state budgets for 2016 because of uncertainty that the program would exist beyond its expiration date. Other panelists noted the challenge of a straight reauthorization of the program in a new regulatory environment, particularly those related to the Affordable Care Act. Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), one of the original architects of the program, and Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) have introduced legislation which would extend the program for four additional years, through 2019. In its June report to Congress, the Medicaid and CHIP Payment Access Commission called for the program to be extended for only two additional years.

Words of Wisdom from Legislative Conference
Fellow-in-training Howard Julien, MD, and Nicolas W. Shammas, MD, FACC, interviewed Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) last week while on Capitol Hill during ACC's Legislative Conference. Grassley weighed in on funding for graduate medical education and research, practice stability, Sustainable Growth Rate repeal, and the In-Office Ancillary Services Exception, and encouraged cardiovascular professionals to engage with lawmakers year round. "We would profit considerably by having more doctors being politically active...in the process of government," said Grassley. Visit the FITs on the Go video blog for additional coverage of Legislative Conference.

Voicing Support for Medicaid Payment Parity
The ACC joined with twenty other medical societies to send a letter of support to Sens. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) for introducing the Ensuring Access to Primary Care for Women and Children Act (S. 2694). This legislation would extend current-law payment rates under Medicaid for certain services to at least the level of Medicare through 2016. The bill ensures that physicians practicing in the specialties of family medicine, pediatrics, and internal medicine as well as related internal medicine and pediatric subspecialists continue to receive Medicare-level reimbursement rates for providing primary care and related subspecialty services to patients enrolled in Medicaid. A House version of the bill has been introduced by Rep. John Lewis (D-GA).

Addressing Impending Medical Isotope Shortage
The ACC signed-on to a coalition letter of support to the Department of Energy (DOE) to address the impending shortage of molybdenum 99 (Mo-99), a critical medical isotope used in over 20 million nuclear medicine procedures per year in the U.S. to help diagnose heart disease and cancer. We are currently two years away from a patient access crisis due to a scheduled stop in the production of Mo-99 at Canada's National Research Universal reactor in October 2016. With a shelf-life of only 66 hours, Mo-99 cannot be stockpiled, and therefore reliable production is considered critical medical infrastructure. New U.S.-based technologies have demonstrated strong progress toward filling the supply gap, while solving nuclear proliferation issues, but additional support is still needed to get these technologies to the market. The American Medical Isotope Production Act of 2012 calls for the DOE to support commercialization of a reliable domestic source of Mo-99 as soon as possible. The DOE has an existing program with funding to do so and at this point, no new funding or legislation is required. However, changes to how the DOE is operating the current program are necessary to reduce the time it takes for any of the current promising initiatives to reach the commercialization stage and begin to put Mo-99 into the market. Those who signed the letter include organizations of patients, health care providers, medical imaging companies, radiopharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors.

Investing in the Future of Cardiology with ACCPAC
ACC must have a seat at the table as Congress continues to debate and potentially enact laws affecting the practice of cardiovascular medicine. Through the bipartisan ACC Political Action Committee (ACCPAC), ranked among the top 10 medical specialty PACs in the U.S., the College is able to support members of Congress and candidates who are supporters of the cardiovascular community. Becoming a member of ACCPAC by making a contribution is a direct investment in the future and preservation of our profession. No contribution is too small to further ACCPAC's efforts. You can make a single contribution or sign-up for a periodic contribution on a monthly, quarterly, semi-annual or annual basis by visiting ACCPACweb.org.

Top Education and Career Growth News

ACC’s MOC Hub
The American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) implemented changes to its Maintenance of Certification (MOC) program for board-certified internists on January 1, 2014. The ACC and other members of the internal medicine community received a letter from the ABIM Board of Directors responding to a number of the concerns previously outlined by ACC and other professional organizations regarding the revised requirements for the ABIM Maintenance of Certification (MOC) Program. In this letter ABIM committed to further to changes in the MOC process to address these concerns — read the ACC in Touch blog to learn more. The College is continuing our efforts to educate our members about the new requirements and provide them the tools and resources necessary to help them meet these requirements as efficiently as possible. The ACC has created an MOC Hub with details about ABIM's current MOC program to inform and help ACC members navigate the changes. Learn more here.

ACC’s International Exchange Database: Building a Resource with Your Help
The ACC Early Career Section Leadership Council’s International Working Group is building a network of international exchange programs. The goal is to provide a resource for ACC members interested in gaining new knowledge and skills in cardiovascular disease that could not be done locally. If you’ve participated in an observership, mini-sabbatical, or similar international opportunity, please take a moment to help us generate this resource by answering a few quick questions here.

Find a Mentor, Be a Mentor: Register for ACC’s New Mentoring Program
The College’s new online mentoring program, developed through the efforts of the Early Career Professionals Leadership Council and Section, is designed to help create and foster mutually beneficial mentor/mentee relationships. The program connects experienced cardiovascular professionals with younger professionals based on areas of interest, specialty and expertise. Register online and find out more at CardioSource.org/Mentoring. 

Webinars, Events, Deadlines and More: Mark Your Calendar

ICD-10 Webinar
The Department of Health and Human Services issued a rule finalizing Oct. 1, 2015, as the new compliance date for the conversion from ICD-9 to ICD-10. Will your practice be ready? Join the ACC on Oct. 1 at 4 p.m. ET, one year ahead of implementation, for a webinar that will go over updated timelines and cardiology specific ICD-10 information to ensure your practice is prepared. The webinar will delve into guideline changes and discuss how your office should be preparing for modifications that will begin on Oct. 1, 2015. Register now. The webinar will be archived here for those unable to attend. To ensure that the transition to ICD-10 is running smoothly, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will be conducting end-to-end testing Jan. 26-30, 2015. Providers who are interested in participating in the testing should complete a volunteer form, available through their Medicare Administrative Contractor, by Oct. 3.

For Your Patients: I Am CardioSmart Contest
CardioSmart is in search of six inspiring individuals who are living well with one of these conditions Heart Attack, High Blood Pressure, Heart Failure, Atrial Fibrillation, Congenital Heart Defect, or Coronary Artery Disease. Share your story with us. If your story is selected, you'll be featured on our website to inspire others like you to partner with their care team and take charge of their heart health. You'll also win a $100 Amazon gift card. Excerpts from the winning stories will be posted to CardioSmart's Facebook page. CardioSmart’s Facebook friends (and yours!) will vote on who will win the grand prize—a trip for two to San Diego, CA in March 2015. Contest entry deadline is October 31, 2014 at 11:59 p.m. See Official Contest Rules for details.

Publications

ACC Chapters Key to Achieving College's Strategic Goals
"ACC chapters offer a uniquely personal touch point for members," writes ACC CEO Shalom Jacobovitz in a recent Leadership Page in JACC. The piece provides specific examples of ways ACC Chapters are providing rich member experiences from residency to retirement, whether its tailored educational programming, unique, local networking opportunities, or on-the-ground advocacy efforts. Jacobovitz notes that the continued success of ACC chapters is paramount to the success of the College. "It is by harnessing the power of these local organizations to advocate for and engage members and to strive for action-oriented, results-driven performance in the states that the ACC can make a difference," he says. "I look forward to seeing big things in the states over the coming year."

Snake Eyes: Even Smart Science Doesn't Always Win
The cover story in the latest issue of CardioSource WorldNews discusses some of the highlights from the 2014 meeting of the European Society of Cardiology including the CONFIRM-HF trail, SOLID-TIMI 52 trail, PARADIGM-HF trail, and more. The article explains that “results do not always unfold as expected and can sometimes seem like the a roll of the dice, which makes clinical trials necessary and investigators essential to the news cycle of any major meeting.” Other highlights from the issue include a straight talk column on coronary vasospasm, a health teach column on a new tool for cardiologists, and more. Check out the full issue at CardioSource.org/CSWN.


Important Digital ACC Resources

Stay In Touch with the ACC via Social Media
Stay in touch with the ACC and the latest clinical and advocacy news through ACCinTouch.  ACCinTouch connects ACC members and those interested in cardiovascular news through popular social networking channels like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. Join each of these networks to connect with ACC members and those interested in cardiology. In addition to the ACC's main Twitter profile @ACCinTouch, the College also has a profile dedicated to advocacy-related news (@Cardiology). CardioSmart, the ACC's patient education and support program, also has patient-centered cardiovascular news available through Facebook, Twitter (@CardioSmart), and YouTube. For more information about ACC’s social media channels, visit CardioSource.org/ACCinTouch.

ACC Archived Webinars
Did you know that you can find archived webinars from throughout the years from the ACC on CardioSource.org? As a member, you have access to this wealth of information here. To access them, you must have a CardioSource.org log-in and use the confirmation code and webinar access link emailed to you once you. Questions? Contact ACC’s Resource Center at Phone: 202-375-6000, ext. 5603 or 800-253-4636, ext. 5603 or resource@acc.org.

Download ACC’s New Advocacy Action Mobile App
Be sure to download the new ACC Advocacy Action mobile app to get easy access to ACC's advocacy priorities and timely talking points to share during congressional visits. The app was designed to help members engage with lawmakers and influence health policy. Download it today on iTunes (iPhone, iPad) and Google Play (Android devices).

ACC Launches Public Hospital Profiles and Hospital Search Tool
The ACC has launched a public-facing hospital database and search tool that enables patients to find and compare hospitals in their area based on the cardiac services they provide and important information related to the care they give. Now, all hospitals participating in the NCDR have a Hospital Profile on CardioSmart.org, the ACC’s patient education and empowerment website. Through these profiles, patients, caregivers and other stakeholders are able to search hospitals based on specific criteria (location, hospital name, services provided) and learn about every participating hospital's quality measurement efforts through the NCDR. The establishment of Hospital Profiles ensures that patients receive credible information about hospitals participating in the NCDR. For more information about this effort, visit NCDR.com. To find your hospital’s profile, visit CardioSmart.org/FindaHospital.

August 2014

Hot Topics and Overarching News

Vote for Your State's BOG and Cardiovascular Team State Liaison

Elections for the 2014 Board of Governors (BOG) and Cardiovascular Team State Liaisons will be held Oct. 22 – Nov. 17. Elected representatives will bring local needs to national attention, create new initiatives, develop quality, advocacy, and educational opportunities, and expand the value of membership. To learn which states will be holding elections and for more information about the election process, visit CardioSource.org/Elections. Official results will be announced after the Board of Trustees meeting on Dec. 8.

 

ACC Launches New and Enhanced Disclosure Management Portal

The ACC is pleased to announce the launch of the new and enhanced web portal to streamline the disclosure management process. The new system allows users to disclose all cardiovascular and health care-related relationships, and sign off on all appropriate user agreements, such as confidentially, embargo, attestation, and ongoing obligation, in one place. Users will be able to capture all data on one page relevant to the ACC activity in which they participate, and enter and exit the system as needed with single sign-on. Additionally, the system has been fully modernized and optimized for use on computer, tablet, or smartphone. Compliance with this process is mandatory for participation in College activities. Update your records and check out the new portal at disclosures.acc.org.

Publications

ACC Achieves #1 Impact Factor Ranking for all CV Journals
Recently announced Journal Impact Factor results list the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC) as the number one cardiovascular journal in the world! While JACC has held the top position in readership and revenue for many years, it now ranks as the number one journal in scientific impact as well. The results also showed impact factor and ranking improvements across the entire portfolio of JACC journals. Out of 122 other cardiovascular journals, the ACC publishes three of the top 10 in the world. The following are impact factors and rank for 2013: 

  • JACC Impact Factor: 15.343; #1 cardiovascular journal
  • JACC: Cardiovascular Interventions Impact Factor: 7.440; #6 cardiovascular journal
  • JACC: Cardiovascular Imaging Impact Factor: 6.986; #7 cardiovascular journal

Latest Issue of Cardiology Looks at Origins of Framingham and Its Continued Legacy

The cover story in the latest issue of Cardiology magazine discusses the origins of the Framingham Heart Study and its continued legacy. Other topics include three distinguished individuals and how they have been successful at fostering relationships with the next generation of cardiologists and members of the cardiovascular care team. Get to know Debra Ness, MS, the first public member on the ACC’s Board of Trustees, and the opportunities to help strengthen the physician and patient relationship. Also learn more about how the College is expanding its partnerships worldwide. Catch up on the latest issue at CardioSource.org/Cardiology.

Digital ACC Resources News: Find It on CardioSource.org

Stay In Touch with the ACC via Social Media
Stay in touch with the ACC and the latest clinical and advocacy news through ACCinTouch.  ACCinTouch connects ACC members and those interested in cardiovascular news through popular social networking channels like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. Join each of these networks to connect with ACC members and those interested in cardiology. In addition to the ACC's main Twitter profile @ACCinTouch, the College also has a profile dedicated to advocacy-related news (@Cardiology). CardioSmart, the ACC's patient education and support program, also has patient-centered cardiovascular news available through Facebook, Twitter (@CardioSmart), and YouTube. For more information about ACC’s social media channels, visit CardioSource.org/ACCinTouch.

 

ACC Archived Webinars

Did you know that you can find archived webinars from throughout the years from the ACC on CardioSource.org? As a member, you have access to this wealth of information here. To access them, you must have a CardioSource.org log-in and use the confirmation code and webinar access link emailed to you once you. Questions? Contact ACC’s Resource Center at Phone: 202-375-6000, ext. 5603 or 800-253-4636, ext. 5603 or resource@acc.org.

Top Science and Quality News:

 

Coverage from ESC Congress 2014
Get highlights from ACC’s coverage of the European Society of Cardiology Congress 2014 on CardioSource.org. Coverage from the event, held Aug. 30 to Sept. 3 in Barcelona, Spain, includes wrap up videos from each day, presentation slides and more. Additionally, ACC’s FITS on the GO were on site in Barcelona and produced a wrap up video here.

 

Discover Strategies for Enhancing Patient Recognition of Signs and Symptoms
Hospital to Home (H2H), a quality initiative under the ACC’s Quality Improvement for Institutions program, is offering a new webinar on tools and strategies for signs and symptoms of heart failure (HF) and acute myocardial infarction (AMI) on Thursday, Sept. 11 at 1 p.m. ET. Designed for all members of the cardiac care team, the program addresses ways in which hospitals and care team members can improve transitions of care for patients hospitalized with HF and AMI by enabling patients to recognize early warning signs and develop a plan to address them. During the webinar, participants will learn how to achieve success through the use of specific tools and resources available through H2H. Register for the webinar.

New Perioperative CV Guideline Released
The ACC and the American Heart Association (AHA) have released a new, updated guideline for minimizing the risk of cardiovascular complications before, during and after a patient undergoes non-cardiac surgery. The "2014 ACC/AHA Guideline on Perioperative Cardiovascular Evaluation and Management of Patients Undergoing Noncardiac Surgery," was published Aug. 1 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, and was accompanied by a systematic review of the guideline on perioperative beta blockade in non-cardiac surgery. Read more about the new guideline on CardioSource.org.

Top Advocacy and Health Policy News:

Download ACC’s New Advocacy Action Mobile App
Be sure to download the new ACC Advocacy Action mobile app to get easy access to ACC's advocacy priorities and timely talking points to share during congressional visits. The app was designed to help members engage with lawmakers and influence health policy during Legislative Conference and throughout the year. Download it today on iTunes (iPhone, iPad) and Google Play (Android devices).

 

ACC Launches Public Hospital Profiles and Hospital Search Tool
The ACC has launched a public-facing hospital database and search tool that enables patients to find and compare hospitals in their area based on the cardiac services they provide and important information related to the care they give. Now, all hospitals participating in the NCDR have a Hospital Profile on CardioSmart.org, the ACC’s patient education and empowerment website. Through these profiles, patients, caregivers and other stakeholders are able to search hospitals based on specific criteria (location, hospital name, services provided) and learn about every participating hospital's quality measurement efforts through the NCDR. The establishment of Hospital Profiles ensures that patients receive credible information about hospitals participating in the NCDR. For more information about this effort, visit NCDR.com. To find your hospital’s profile, visit CardioSmart.org/FindaHospital.

Get Up-to-Speed on ACC's Advocacy Priorities
The ACC has developed a talking points document that outlines how the College is leading the transformation of care by advocating for a quality driven health care system, practice stability and the future of cardiovascular care. Given the wide range of issues facing cardiovascular professionals, this document enables members to bring the issues they care about most to their legislators.

 

ACC Supports ACE Kids Act
The ACC recently sent a letter of support for H.R. 4930, the “Advancing Care for Exceptional (ACE) Kids Act of 2014”, legislation that would create nationally designated networks of physicians, children's hospitals and other providers to care for children with medical complexity under a Medicaid Children's Care Coordination program. The legislation, introduced by Reps. Joe Barton (R-TX) and Kathy Castor (D-FL), would facilitate more seamless care for children insured by Medicaid who see multiple providers across state lines. Co-sponsors are being sought for the bill, and the ACC has developed a model grassroots letter that members can use to ask their House Representatives to co-sponsor. To send a letter to your member of Congress, click here. A Senate version of the bill is being crafted but has not yet been introduced. The program, if passed by Congress and signed by the president, would be voluntary with state Medicaid agencies and providers "opting in" to reduce costs and paperwork burdens. Read more about this legislation.

Investing in the Future of Cardiology with ACCPAC
ACC must have a seat at the table as Congress continues to debate and potentially enact laws affecting the practice of cardiovascular medicine. Through the bipartisan ACC Political Action Committee (ACCPAC), ranked among the top 10 medical specialty PACs in the U.S., the College is able to support members of Congress and candidates who are supporters of the cardiovascular community. Becoming a member of ACCPAC by making a contribution is a direct investment in the future and preservation of our profession. No contribution is too small to further ACCPAC's efforts. You can make a single contribution or sign-up for a periodic contribution on a monthly, quarterly, semi-annual or annual basis by visiting ACCPACweb.org.

CMS Test of Claims-Based Measures
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is conducting a national test for four new claims-based measures over the course of the next month. The test of coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABG) mortality and readmission measures will take place Sept. 2 to Oct. 1. A Hospital-Specific Report (HSR) for the measures will be available to hospitals and Quality Improvement Organizations (QIOs) by Sept. 2. CMS will conduct a test of the heart failure and pneumonia payment measures from Sept. 8 to Oct. 7, 2014. An HSR for the measures will be available to hospitals and QIOs by Sept. 8. CMS will hold two national provider calls to present the measures' methodology and address questions related to these measures on Sept. 9 at 3 p.m. ET for the CABG measures and Sept. 16 at 3 p.m. ET for the payment measures. Read more on CardioSource.org.

New Interventional Cardiology Specialty Designation
CMS has developed a new specialty code (C3) for interventional cardiology to reflect its distinction from other specialties. Your ACC supported a request from the Society for Cardiac Angiography and Interventions to obtain the new designation, which allows CMS to distinguish an interventional cardiologist from a clinical cardiologist when billing for Medicare services. Previously, no mechanism existed for CMS to accurately report on this category of physician, and some local Medicare carriers have denied claims, citing duplicate billing, when a cardiologist and an interventionalist from the same group practice have billed for patient evaluation services. The new code allows for the reporting of the involvement of two specialty physicians providing distinct services to an individual patient. Members can change their designation through updated enrollment using PECOS.

TMVR Coverage Finalized
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has posted the final national coverage decision for transcatheter mitral valve repair (TMVR). The ACC joined with the Society for Cardiac Angiography and Interventions, the Society of Thoracic Surgeons and the American Association for Thoracic Surgery to request coverage in November 2013 and commented on the proposed coverage in June recommending several revisions. The ACC is pleased that CMS responded positively to comments recommending deletion of its proposal to require joint intraoperative participation by both an interventional cardiologist and cardiac surgeon. TMVR will be covered when performed with a Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved device for the treatment of significant symptomatic degenerative mitral regurgitation when furnished according to an FDA-approved indication. The patient must be evaluated by an experienced cardiac surgeon and interventional cardiologist and remain under the care of a heart team at a high quality facility that reports data to a national registry. Either the interventional cardiologist or the cardiac surgeon may perform the procedure.

Curbing Smoking and Regulating E-Cigarettes
The American Heart Association (AHA) recently released a policy statement on electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes). In response, ACC President Patrick T. O'Gara, MD, FACC, took to the ACC in Touch Blog to commend the AHA for addressing this hot topic and stress the importance of expanding regulative authority over e-cigarettes. O'Gara stressed: "No well-controlled peer-reviewed studies support the claim that e-cigarettes are safe, that they have fewer long-term negative health effects than cigarettes, or that they are effective aids for smoking cessation." The ACC strongly believes that the FDA should regulate e-cigarettes to the full extent of the authority granted to it by the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act of 2009, including requiring manufacturers to submit applications for approval that contain rigorous scientific evidence of product safety. The College submitted comments to the FDA in August regarding the need for increased regulation of e-cigarettes, cigars, hookah and other similar products that are currently not under the Agency's regulatory purview.

CMS Issues Final Rule Allowing Greater Flexibility in EHR Incentive Program Reporting for 2014
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has issued a final rule allowing health care providers more flexibility in how they use certified electronic health record (EHR) technology (CEHRT) to meet meaningful use requirements under the EHR Incentive Program reporting period for 2014. Under the final rule, eligible providers can use the 2011 Edition CEHRT or a combination of 2011 and 2014 Edition CEHRT for an EHR reporting period in 2014 for the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs. All eligible professionals, eligible hospitals, and critical access hospitals are required to use the 2014 Edition CEHRT in 2015. The rule also finalizes the extension of Meaningful Use Stage 2 through 2016 for certain providers and announces the Stage 3 timeline, which will begin in 2017 for providers who first became meaningful EHR users in 2011 or 2012. Read more on CardioSource.org.

ICD-10 Update
The latest CardioSurve newsletter delves into the looming transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10. According to ACC's research, nearly 65 percent of cardiologists are unclear about the new requirements, suggesting that greater provider education is needed. The transition deadline, which was initially slated for October of this year, has been delayed until Oct. 1, 2015. The switchover, which does not affect CPT coding for outpatient procedures and physician services, will affect diagnosis and inpatient procedure coding for everyone covered by the Health Insurance Portability Accountability Act, not just those who submit Medicare or Medicaid claims.  . Will your practice be ready? On Oct. 1, 2014, one year ahead of implementation, the ACC will hold a webinar to go over updated timelines and cardiology-specific ICD-10 information to ensure your practice is prepared. The webinar will delve into guideline changes and discuss how your office should be preparing for modifications that may actually come to fruition on Oct. 1, 2015. Register today.

Stepping up to the Plate to Help Veterans
Grave concerns regarding veterans' access to care emerged last month after inexcusable wait times for care were brought to light. In August 2014, Congress overwhelmingly passed the "Veteran's Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014" and the president signed the bill into law in August. This legislation funnels $17 billion to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) – the largest integrated health care system in the country – to reform the way health care is delivered to veterans. In addition to increasing the oversight of VA facilities, the funding will help veterans access to health care outside of the VA system. ACC's Florida Chapter has already started taking action. A resolution proposed by the chapter calling for the Florida Medical Association (FMA) to immediately establish an ad hoc committee to address the VA crisis has been adopted by the FMA's House of Delegates. "From coast to coast, we fight every day to ensure that our patients receive the highest quality care possible," said BOG Chair Michael Mansour, MD, FACC, on the ACC in Touch Blog. "Now, we have will have even greater opportunities to serve veterans in more settings."

Top Education and Career Growth News:

Earn MOC Part II Credits With ACC’s Free New Patient Safety Module
The ACC recently launched a new Patient Safety Maintenance of Certification (MOC) module that helps physicians earn points toward the American Board of Internal Medicine’s (ABIM) MOC program while learning valuable information about patient safety. Free to both ACC members and nonmembers, the new module offers the opportunity to earn 10 MOC Part II Points, complete ABIM’s Patient Safety requirement, earn 1.5 AMA PRA Category 1 CME CreditsTM, identify common errors that result in reduced patient safety, and learn tactics to prevent future errors from occurring. The online format provides feedback on questions as the user moves through the module and allows users to easily submit scores to the ABIM for MOC credit. The Patient Safety MOC module is among the first patient safety module developed by a specialty society to be approved by the ABIM. The ABIM recently committed to streamlining the process for recognizing products produced by specialty societies and other organizations for medical knowledge (Part II) credit.  To get started, login or register.

 

ACC’s International Exchange Database: Building a Resource with Your Help
The ACC Early Career Section Leadership Council’s International Working Group is building a network of international exchange programs. The goal is to provide a resource for ACC members interested in gaining new knowledge and skills in cardiovascular disease that could not be done locally. If you’ve participated in an observership, mini-sabbatical, or similar international opportunity, please take a moment to help us generate this resource by answering a few quick questions here.  

 

Find a Mentor, Be a Mentor: Register for ACC’s New Mentoring Program
The College’s new online mentoring program, developed through the efforts of the Early Career Professionals Leadership Council and Section, is designed to help create and foster mutually beneficial mentor/mentee relationships. The program connects experienced cardiovascular professionals with younger professionals based on areas of interest, specialty and expertise. Register online and find out more at CardioSource.org/Mentoring. 

Webinars, Events, Deadlines and More: Mark Your Calendar

Register for the Next Surviving MI Webinar
The next webinar in the Surviving MI series will take place on Friday, Sept. 26 at 1 p.m. ET. Webinar participants will learn about the evidence-based strategies associated with lower 30-day Risk Standardized Mortality Rates for patients with acute myocardial infarction. Register today. To get started with Surviving MI and view archived webinars, visit CVQuality.acc.org/SurvivingMI. Surviving MI is a quality initiative offered under the ACC's Quality Improvement for Institutions program.

Apply for FACC by Oct. 1 for Free
The ACC is waiving the $150 FACC application fee between now and Oct. 1 for those who completed their cardiovascular training in 2012 or 2013. Gain recognition as a cardiovascular professional who has reached the pinnacle of their career and is committed to providing only the highest standards of care: Advance to FACC. Advancing is easy and your annual dues will not increase. If your current membership is up-to-date, you’ll owe nothing at the time of application—just send us two sponsorship letters from current Fellows and your application. Download an application and find out more about how you can advance at CardioSource.org/ApplyforFree.

Apply for the 2015 Research and Career Development Awards
In a time when both public and private research grants have markedly decreased for early career researchers, the ACCF’s award program continues to support these young investigators. The 2014 ACC/ACCF awards program will present awards to support the training and development of young cardiovascular investigators in several categories. The Committee annually invites applications for the awards below on a broad range of research topics from cardiovascular professionals currently enrolled in accredited training programs to those in their early career years. Deadlines are mid-to-late September. Apply here.
 

July 2014

Hot Topics and Overarching News

Kim Eagle Named Editor of ACC.org

The ACC has named Kim A. Eagle, MC, MACC, as the editor of ACC.org. Eagle has served on the editorial board of CardioSource.org, the College’s web portal, for the past six years as an associate editor of the Journal Scan feature. He will take the helm of ACC.org, the College’s revamped web platform which will launch later this year.  Read more on CardioSource.org.

 

Vote for Your State’s BOG and Cardiovascular Team State Liaison

Elections for the 2014 Board of Governors (BOG) and Cardiovascular Team State Liaisons will be held Oct. 22 – Nov. 17. Elected representatives will bring local needs to national attention, create new initiatives, develop quality, advocacy, and educational opportunities, and expand the value of membership. To learn which states will be holding elections and for more information about the election process, visit CardioSource.org/Elections. Official results will be announced after the Board of Trustees meeting on Dec. 8.

 

In Memoriam: Suzanne B. Knoebel, MD, MACC

Past President of the American College of Cardiology (ACC) Suzanne B. Knoebel, MD, MACC, of Indianapolis, Indiana passed away quietly with in-home hospice on Wednesday, July 2.  Knoebel joined the College as a member in 1970, and eventually became the first woman to serve as ACC president, taking on the role from 1982 to 1983. She also served as editor-in-chief of ACC Current Journal Review. Knoebel received the Distinguished Fellow Award from the ACC in 1986 for her service to the College and actions as a quality role model for others.  Read more about Knoebel’s life and accomplishments on CardioSource.org.

Publications

First Issue of JACC Debuts Under Dr. Valentin Fuster
The first issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC) under the guidance of its new Editor-in-Chief Valentin Fuster, MD, PhD, MACC, debuted this week with several changes designed to better meet the changing ways cardiovascular professionals consume medical literature. Among the changes, every original science paper, state-of-the-art review, or review topic will be accompanied by a central illustration summarizing the overarching theme or major section of the paper. Every original science paper will also end with a perspective summary outlining the core clinical competencies and translational outlook that were produced as a result of the research. Finally, each issue will be accompanied by an audio recording, available as a downloadable podcast, to describe the thrust of the overall issue. Read more. 

JACC Leadership Page: The ACC’s Response to New ABIM MOC Requirements

Over the last several months, the ACC has continued to solicit and receive feedback from its members about the American Board of Internal Medicine’s (ABIM’s) new Maintenance of Certification (MOC) requirements. In a recent Leadership Page in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, ACC President Patrick T. O’Gara, MD, FACC, along with William J. Oetgen, MD, MBA, FACC, executive vice president of Science, Education and Quality for the ACC, summarize the ACC’s response to the ABIM, citing the results of a spring 2014 member survey commissioned by the ACC, in which nearly 90 percent of respondents opposed the changes to MOC. “The ACC is an educational organization in which the ongoing learning of our members is accorded strategic priority. Educational activities must be designed and delivered in ways that enhance provider performance and improve patient outcomes,” they write. O’Gara and Oetgen go to discuss the ACC’s ongoing efforts to with the ABIM to recalibrate the process and plans for supporting its membership in the interim. Read more in the latest Leadership Page.

 

ACC CEO Discusses Direction of the ACC

In a recent Leadership Page in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, ACC CEO Shalom Jacobovitz discusses where the College is heading, and explains how the PINNACLE Registry is a model program, embodying the College's strategic objectives centering on the triple aim of high-quality, appropriate and cost-effective care. Jacobovitz notes that implementation of the College's Strategic Plan includes "careful and thoughtful looks at the products we build and the programs and activities we undertake in order to ensure that they are: providing the greatest member value; supporting purposeful education; moving us toward transformation of care; positioning us as effective advocates; contributing to improvements in population health; and maximizing data to inform research and opportunities to improve outcomes." Read more here.

 

Coronary Artery Calcium: Score? or No More?

The cover story in the latest issue of CardioSource WorldNews discusses coronary artery calcium (CAC) scoring and its role in current practice. The article notes that “in short, no matter which way you slice it, most agree that CAC offers the best discrimination of all the second-tier assessment techniques available – an opinion that is echoed in the recent guidelines. In several studies, CAC provided additional risk stratification when added to traditional risk scores, testing better than C-reactive protein and carotid intima-media thickness.” However, the article explains that “coronary calcium scanning draws naysayers as well.” Other highlights from the issue include a straight talk column by Andrew Freeman, MD, FACC, about being more honest with patients about the true underlying causes of their disease, and encouraging conversations on the importance of eating well, living well, diet and exercise. Check out the full issue at CardioSource.org/CSWN.

 

Digital ACC Resources News: Find It on CardioSource.org

Stay In Touch with the ACC via Social Media
Stay in touch with the ACC and the latest clinical and advocacy news through ACCinTouch.  ACCinTouch connects ACC members and those interested in cardiovascular news through popular social networking channels like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. Look for the ACCinTouch logo for the official ACC presence on these social media channels in order to connect with ACC members and those interested in cardiology. In addition to the ACC's main Twitter profile @ACCinTouch, the College also has profiles dedicated to news from the Advocacy team @Cardiology. CardioSmart, the ACC's patient education and support program, also has patient-centered cardiovascular news available through Facebook, Twitter @CardioSmart, and YouTube. For more information about ACC’s social media channels, visit CardioSource.org/ACCinTouch.

 

ACC Archived Webinars

Did you know that you can find archived webinars from throughout the years from the ACC on CardioSource.org? As a member, you have access to this wealth of information here. To access them, you must have a CardioSource.org log-in and use the confirmation code and webinar access link emailed to you once you. Questions? Contact ACC’s Resource Center at Phone: 202-375-6000, ext. 5603 or 800-253-4636, ext. 5603 or resource@acc.org.

 

Top Science and Quality News:

 

NCDR Seeks Comments on Proposed For Diabetes Collaborative Registry

The ACC, in partnership with the American Diabetes Association, American College of Physicians, American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, and the Joslin Diabetes Center, is launching a diabetes collaborative registry – the first clinical registry aimed at tracking and improving the quality of diabetes and cardiometabolic care across the primary and specialty care continuum. The new registry will allow for the longitudinal study of diabetes presentation, progression, management and outcomes, even as patients receive treatment from multidisciplinary care teams. To ensure that the most meaningful and applicable data is collected, the ACC is providing an open comment period on the proposed diabetes collaborative registry data collection forms, data dictionary and performance measures. The comment period will end on Friday, August 1. Please contact the NCDR at comment@acc.org or 800-257-4737 with any questions. CardioSource.org

 

Quality Improvement Meets Patient Engagement With CardioSmart.org Hospital Profiles

ACC’s dedication to quality improvement and patient-centered care has long been at the center of the College’s mission to transform cardiovascular care and improve heart health. Through its suite of NCDR clinical data registries and quality improvement programs, the ACC is helping institutions bridge gaps between science and practice and improve the quality of cardiovascular care they deliver. Additionally, ACC’s patient education and empowerment initiative, CardioSmart, is helping individuals prevent, treat and manage cardiovascular disease.  This year, the College is taking quality improvement and patient engagement to the next level. Starting in August, all hospitals participating in NCDR will have a Hospital Profile established on CardioSmart.org. Through these profiles, patients, caregivers and other stakeholders will be able to search hospitals based on specific criteria (location, hospital name, services provided) and learn about every participating hospital’s quality measurement efforts through the NCDR. As part of the College’s digital strategy, the Hospital Profiles have been developed using responsive design to ensure optimal viewing experience on computer, tablet and phone. Soon after the Hospital Profiles are established, voluntary hospital public reporting for select measures will be made available for the CathPCI Registry and ICD Registry. Eligible hospitals who voluntarily agree to report their data from these registries will have their measure results posted on their profile, demonstrating a further commitment to quality improvement. By having these measures available on CardioSmart.org, patients will be able to review hospitals based on their demographics and publicly reported data in order to understand the quality of care being provided in their area and make more informed care choices.

 

Top Advocacy and Health Policy News:

ACC President Takes Part in Congressional Roundtable

ACC President Patrick O’Gara, MD, FACC, was recently on Capitol Hill sharing his perspective on personalized medicine. The House Energy and Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over public health, biomedical research, Medicare and Medicaid, the Department of Health and Human Services, and other health care-related issues, brought a diverse group of stakeholders together for a roundtable discussionon how personalized medicine can advance cures and treatments in the 21st Century. The roundtable provided an opportunity for key players in health care to have an open discussion about the advancements and pitfalls of personalized medicine and discuss its role in improving patient care moving forward. Read more here.

 

Physician Fee Schedule and Hospital Outpatient Rules

The recently released proposed rules for Medicare payment and quality provisions for physicians and hospital outpatient services in 2015 will have important ramifications for cardiovascular professionals. Get an overview of issues of critical importance to cardiologists during an ACC webinar on Aug. 5 at 2:30 p.m. ET (11:30 a.m. PT). Your input during the webinar will help shape ACC's comments, which will be submitted to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) later this summer. In recent weeks, ACC Advocacy staff members have carefully reviewed both proposed rules and have developed detailed summaries highlighting important provisions for cardiology. Read the Proposed 2015 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Summary and the Proposed 2015 Hospital Outpatient Summary. The final rules are expected in November.

 

Sunshine Act Report Preview Period Opens

Physicians and teaching hospitals can now review reports of the payments they received from industry between Aug. 1 and Dec. 31, 2013, before the reports are made public on Sept. 30. Under the Physician Payments Sunshine Act (Open Payments Program), payments to physicians and teaching hospitals must be reported by manufacturers and distributers of Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved products prescribed to patients and paid for by one of the federal health care programs. Physicians and teaching hospitals will have until Aug. 27 to preview and dispute information contained within the reports. After the close of the 45-day period, there is an additional 15-day period that physicians and teaching hospitals can use to continue to work with industry to resolve disputes. To preview your report, you must first create an account through the CMS Enterprise Portal, a system designed to verify your identity. You must then register specifically with the Open Payments System. Learn more and get tips for successfully registering on CardioSource.org. Join CMS for a Sunshine Act call on July 22 at 2:30 p.m. to get details on next steps and how the program will impact you.

 

Fighting for Stricter FDA Regulation of E-Cigarettes and Tobacco Products

Earlier this year, the FDA proposed a new rule that would extend its authority to cover electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) and additional tobacco products. The extension is part of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act passed in 2009, which granted the FDA authority to regulate tobacco products, such as cigarettes, cigarette tobacco, roll-your-own tobacco, and smokeless tobacco. According to the proposal, the additional tobacco products that would be "deemed" to be subject to FDA regulation are those that meet the statutory definition of a tobacco product, including currently unregulated marketed products, such e-cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, nicotine gels, waterpipe (or hookah) tobacco, and dissolvables not already under the FDA's authority. While this is a step in the right direction, the ACC and its allies do not believe that the proposal extends far enough and could undo any gains made at the federal and state level. In a fight to reduce tobacco-related deaths, the ACC plans to submit comments to the FDA in the coming weeks. In addition to the College's comments, a number of ACC chapters have submitted letters calling for the FDA to strictly regulate e-cigarettes and other tobacco products. You can submit individual comments through Aug. 8 via a webpage created by the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids.

Top Education and Career Growth News:

Recalibrating the MOC Process

The ACC has continued to engage the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) in advocating for modifications to the revised requirements for Maintenance of Certification (MOC). Since our last ACC member communication, ABIM President Richard Baron, MD, has shared with the ACC and other professional societies preliminary process changes adopted by the ABIM Board during their June retreat. Learn more about the MOC changes and ACC resources.

 

Video Highlights ACC Resources to Help Members Meet MOC Part IV Requirements

As part of the ACC’s continued response to helping members navigate the new American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) Maintenance of Certification (MOC) Requirements, the College has developed a short video outlining the ACC resources available to help members meet MOC Part IV requirements. The video is designed to quickly brief ACC members on how to get started with Part IV and highlight the College’s resources that are currently available in the ACC’s MOC hub. In addition to the video, the College has also developed a comprehensive listing of the free MOC Part II offerings currently available. New modules will be posted as they are available.

 

ACC’s International Exchange Database: Building a Resource with Your Help

The ACC Early Career Section Leadership Council’s International Working Group is building a network of international exchange programs. The goal is to provide a resource for ACC members interested in gaining new knowledge and skills in cardiovascular disease that could not be done locally. If you’ve participated in an observership, mini-sabbatical, or similar international opportunity, please take a moment to help us generate this resource by answering a few quick questions here.  

 

Find a Mentor, Be a Mentor: Register for ACC’s New Mentoring Program

The College’s new online mentoring program, developed through the efforts of the Early Career Professionals Leadership Council and Section, is designed to help create and foster mutually beneficial mentor/mentee relationships. The program connects experienced cardiovascular professionals with younger professionals based on areas of interest, specialty and expertise. Register online and find out more at CardioSource.org/Mentoring.  

Webinars, Events, Deadlines and More: Mark Your Calendar

Surviving MI Webinar

If you missed the introductory Surviving MI webinar, join us on August 6 for another webinar highlighting the Quality Improvement for Institutions’ new quality initiative. Learn more about this hospital learning network and ways in which you can lower 30-day risk standardized mortality rates (RSMR) for patients hospitalized with acute myocardial infarction (AMI) by adopting proven evidence-based strategies. Webinar participants will learn about program benefits and be introduced to features of the network. Click here to register.

 

ACC/SCAI Premier Interventional Cardiology Overview and Board Preparatory

Physicians preparing to certify or recertify for the American Board of Internal Medicine’s Interventional Board Exam or looking for the most comprehensive review of interventional cardiology are invited to attend the ACC/Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions’ Premier Interventional Cardiology Overview and Board Preparatory course in Amelia Island, FL from August 22 – 24. Providing the most up-to-date, evidence-based review of interventional cardiology available, this course offers the best opportunity to review a full range of knowledge in interventional cardiology and will identify and fill any gaps or weaknesses. Learn more on CardioSource.org.

 

Be Heard on the Hill: ACC’s Legislative Conference
You're invited to attend the ACC's 2014 Legislative Conference that will take place Sept. 14-16 in Washington, DC. This year's conference will provide the inside scoop on regulatory changes, legislative action and the state of cardiology to empower members to become effective advocates for patients and cardiovascular professionals. Don't miss the opportunity to hear first-hand from members of Congress, Capitol Hill staff and other policymakers who will provide an insider's view of Washington. Attendees will also have the opportunity to meet directly with congressional leaders to ensure the voice of cardiology is heard on the Hill. Reserve your spot now.

ACCPAC Presents an Evening With James Carville and Mary Matalin

ACC Political Action Committee (PAC) is pleased to announce that political power couple, James Carville and Mary Matalin, will headline the annual ACCPAC dinner to kick off the 2014 Legislative Conference. Carville, America's best-known political consultant, and Matalin, one of the foremost conservative voices in America, will be the centerpiece of a fascinating and thought-provoking evening you don't want to miss. This headline event is open to all ACC members and will sell out. To reserve your tickets, contact ACCPAC Manager Kendra Adams at kadams@acc.org.

 

Apply for FACC by Oct. 1 for Free

The ACC is waiving the $150 FACC application fee between now and Oct. 1 for those who completed their cardiovascular training in 2012 or 2013. Gain recognition as a cardiovascular professional who has reached the pinnacle of their career and is committed to providing only the highest standards of care: Advance to FACC. Advancing is easy and your annual dues will not increase. If your current membership is up-to-date, you’ll owe nothing at the time of application—just send us two sponsorship letters from current Fellows and your application. Download an application and find out more about how you can advance at CardioSource.org/ApplyforFree.

 

Apply for the 2015 Research and Career Development Awards

In a time when both public and private research grants have markedly decreased for early career researchers, the ACCF’s award program continues to support these young investigators. The 2014 ACC/ACCF awards program will present awards to support the training and development of young cardiovascular investigators in the categories listed below. The Committee annually invites applications for the awards below on a broad range of research topics from cardiovascular professionals currently enrolled in accredited training programs to those in their early career years. Apply here.

Tools and Tips:

Using Social Media to Reach Lawmakers

Throughout the year, Wisconsin Chapter members take part in grassroots efforts such as legislator practice visits, the annual ACC Legislative Conference, fundraisers and more to ensure that lawmakers understand how their decisions impact the cardiovascular community and patients. Meeting face-to-face with legislators is crucial to ensuring the voice of cardiology is heard and using social media as an extension of the meeting can amplify the message. Currently, all 100 members of the Senate and nearly all members of the House of Representatives are on Twitter, as are many state lawmakers. Never before has it been so easy to reach decision makers. If you’re meeting with state or federal representatives, engaging with them via Twitter before and after the meeting is an easy way to reinforce your key points and thank them for their time. Be sure to share pictures and tweets about your meetings with ACC by tagging @Cardiology and using the hashtag #ACCGrassroots. Here are some sample messages:

 

  • Showed [@Legislator’s Twitter account] around [your practice/hospital name] today [photo]. @Cardiology  #ACCGrassroots  
  • Had a productive discussion about [issues discussed] w/ [@Legislator’s Twitter account] today. @Cardiology #ACCGrassroots
  • Thanks [@Legislator’s Twitter account] for visiting [your practice/hospital name] & hearing about how we’re advancing patient care. @Cardiology   
  • Thanks [@Legislator’s Twitter account]for taking the time to see to how policies decided on the Hill impact physicians & patients @Cardiology

Not on Twitter yet? Here’s a helpful guide to help you get started.

 

Together, we can help shape health policy in Wisconsin and beyond.
 

June 2014

Hot Topics and Overarching News

First Clinical Diabetes Registry to Provide Seamless View of Diabetes Patients Across Specialties
The ACC, in partnership with the American Diabetes Association, the American College of Physicians and Joslin Diabetes Center, has announced the launch of the Diabetes Collaborative Registry, the first clinical registry aimed at tracking and improving the quality of diabetes and cardiometabolic care across the primary and specialty care continuum. The Diabetes Collaborative Registry is made possible through support from founding sponsor AstraZeneca. Additional partners are expected to join the registry in the coming months. Learn more here.
 
Two ACC Chapters Receive CMMI Awards Grant for Innovative Health Care Delivery Pilot
The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) on May 22 announced the award of a $15.8 million grant to support SMARTCare pilot projects designed by the ACC's Florida and Wisconsin chapters. The innovative pilots aim to reduce health care costs by providing tools to help doctors and patients communicate about options for their care while helping physicians apply the latest guidelines to the decision-making process. The tools include the ACC's FOCUS program to support imaging decisions, shared decision-making resources, PRISM individualized patient consent for stent procedures, INDIGO individualized patient cardiac risk profile and the ACC's hospital-based CathPCI Registry and outpatient-based PINNACLE Registry. Read more on CardioSource.org.
 
ACC Response to ABIM's MOC Requirements
As part of the ACC's ongoing efforts to address the American Board of Internal Medicine's new Maintenance of Certification requirements, the ACC has developed a response that takes into account member feedback over the last several months and outlines the College's commitment to improving the process moving forward. As stated in the document, the ACC's commitment to its members and their patients remains steadfast. Advocating for our members to assist them in the provision of professional, knowledgeable and compassionate care, coupled with demonstration of ongoing competence, will continue to guide our actions and fulfill our obligations to society.
 
Nominate Your Next ACC Leaders
Submit your recommendations for the slate of Officers and Trustees for the ACC by July 31, 2014. Recommendations are invited for the positions of Vice President, President-Elect, and Trustees. The Vice President will serve a one-year term and traditionally advances to the office of President-Elect. Each Trustee will serve a five-year term. Officers and Trustees can serve in both organizations for the duration of their terms. The elections will take place at the Annual Business Meeting in March 2015 in San Diego. To learn more about nomination guidelines and see who is on the Nominating committee, head to CardioSource.org/Leadership. Questions? Contact Carissa Maguire at 202-375-6246.
 
CardioSmart at Upcoming Chapter Meetings
Keep your eyes peeled for representatives from ACC’s CardioSmart patient initiative at your upcoming Chapter meetings. Designed to be an extension of you and your cardiac care team, CardioSmart delivers a network of tools and resources intended to engage, inform and empower your patients and their caregivers. Be a CardioSmart practice by using any of these tools and resources that work best for your practice, including our new CardioSmart Infographic Poster on Finding Your Energy Balance or our electronic Clinician/Patient Toolkit.  Already a CardioSmart Practice? Share your story at cardiologyeditor@acc.org.
 
 

Publications

Latest Issue of Cardiology Looks at Globally Transforming Cardiovascular Care
The latest issue of Cardiology magazine explores the College’s global reach and how the College is thinking globally to transform cardiovascular care. Read about the ACC’s efforts to improve population health in China, building programs to increase purposeful education in India, expanding data information and knowledge globally, and more. Get to know ACC leaders including Michael Mansour, MD, FACC, chair of the Board of Governors, and learn more about a ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) Initiative in Louisiana. Catch up on the latest issue at CardioSource.org/Cardiology.
 
JACC President’s Page: Letting Data Do the Talking
Over the last several years, the subject of how best to measure outcomes, improve care and lower health care costs has engendered much debate and discussion in the health care community as well as among consumers, industry, and state and local lawmakers. In a recent President’s Page in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, ACC President Patrick T. O’Gara, MD, FACC, along with John S. Rumsfeld, MD, PhD, FACC, and Frederick A. Masoudi, MD, MSPH, FACC, write about the ways “clinical data registries – like those that fall under the umbrella of the NCDR – are an important part of these discussions.” In particular, they note that registries can track and assess the quality of care and outcomes, perform cutting-edge research, identify gaps in care and uncover areas where the profession can continue to improve. “An overarching strategic goal of the ACC is to be the preeminent source of cardiovascular clinical data that can help physicians and hospitals deliver high-quality and affordable patient care. The challenge lies in continuing to engage physicians, nurses, administrators, hospitals and other stakeholders in the registry programs in a manner that ensures the highest level of data quality, broader use and interpretation of data reports, and ongoing commitments to improving the delivery of care,” they write. Read more in the latest President’s Page column.
 
PCSK9: Blockbuster or Sideshow?
The cover story in the latest issue of CardioSource WorldNews highlights the PCSK9 inhibitor studies presented at ACC.14 and notes that evolocumab (formerly called AMG 145; Amgen) garnered the most attention with five phase III studies presented – including two Late-Breaking Clinical Trials. Other highlights from the issue include a straight talk column with Spencer B. King, III, MD, MACC, editor-in-chief of JACC Cardiovascular Interventions, who compares the Good Samaritan parable to hospitals who face severe financial problems, a clinical innovators interview with Devi Shetty, MD, FACC, on making cardiac surgery affordable, and more. Check out the full issue at CardioSource.org/CSWN.

Digital ACC Resources News: Find It on CardioSource.org

Stay In Touch with the ACC via Social Media
Stay in touch with the ACC and the latest clinical and advocacy news through ACCinTouch.  ACCinTouch connects ACC members and those interested in cardiovascular news through popular social networking channels like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. Look for the ACCinTouch logo for the official ACC presence on these social media channels in order to connect with ACC members and those interested in cardiology. In addition to the ACC's main Twitter profile @ACCinTouch, the College also has profiles dedicated to news from the Advocacy team @Cardiology. CardioSmart, the ACC's patient education and support program, also has patient-centered cardiovascular news available through Facebook, Twitter @CardioSmart, and YouTube. For more information about ACC’s social media channels, visit CardioSource.org/ACCinTouch.
 
New Medical Mobile App Reviews Help You Enhance Patient Care
With a plethora of medical mobile apps on the market, it can often be challenging to know which ones to implement in clinical practice. To solve this problem, the ACC’s Informatics Task Force has developed a series of Mobile App Reviews to help providers adopt tools that optimize patient care. Current categories include Patient Education apps, Manuscript Writing Assistance apps, Protected Health Information Sharing and HIPAA Compliance apps, and Recording Patient Data for Patients apps. Read the reviews to decide which apps are the right fit for you and be sure to check back often for updates. Do you have an app to recommend? Please email reviewsubmissions@acc.org to submit a review.
 
ACC Archived Webinars
Did you know that you can find archived webinars from throughout the years from the ACC on CardioSource.org? As a member, you have access to this wealth of information here. To access them, you must have a CardioSource.org log-in and use the confirmation code and webinar access link emailed to you once you. Questions? Contact ACC’s Resource Center at Phone: 202-375-6000, ext. 5603 or 800-253-4636, ext. 5603 or resource@acc.org.
 

Top Science and Quality News:

NQF Opens Public Comment Period for Cardiovascular Measures
The National Quality Forum (NQF) is seeking public comments between now and June 25 at 6 p.m. ET on 12 cardiovascular measures submitted by the ACC for endorsement. Many of these 12 measures were developed through the joint ACC/American Heart Association (AHA) Task Force on Performance Measures. The public comment period provides an opportunity for the cardiovascular community and other stakeholders to play an active role in the development of performance measures that could potentially have a direct impact on hospitals and facilities. ACC has committed significant resources over the years in both developing and testing cardiovascular measures. The measures submitted meet key attributes of measurement and can be found here. Following the comment period, the NQF expert panel will review the comments and make their final recommendations to the NQF Board. Official endorsement from NQF would better ensure ACC and AHA developed measures would be included in key national public reporting and payment programs. While this process is lengthy, your support and comments are critical to ensuring ACC’s continued success at NQF. To this end we encourage you to submit comments via the NQF website by June 25. In order to comment on the measures, you must have an NQF log on. If you do not have one, you can set one up here.
 
ACC President Offers Perspective on Recent Release of Physician Payment Data
On April 9, then Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced the release of privacy-protected data on services provided to Medicare Fee-For-Service beneficiaries in 2012 by individual physicians and other healthcare professionals. In the latest issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, ACC President Patrick T. O’Gara, MD, FACC provides a perspective on this unprecedented release.
 
ACC/HRS/AHA Statement on ICDs in Patients Not Included or Well Represented in Clinical Trials
The ACC, the Heart Rhythm Society (HRS) and the American Heart Association (AHA) have released an expert consensus statement on the use of implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) in patients who are not included or not well represented in clinical trials. The statement, released during Heart Rhythm 2014, and simultaneously published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, provides a first-of-its-kind direction on ICD therapy since the patient populations are not specifically included in existing guidelines. The statement includes a series of recommendations, providing an explanation of the reasoning and research used to make each one. Key among these recommendations are situations for which ICD therapy might be beneficial in selected populations: in patients with an abnormal troponin that is not due to a myocardial infarction, within 40 days after a myocardial infarction, within the first 90 days after revascularization, and in the first nine months after initial diagnosis of nonischemic cardiomyopathy. In addition to these new treatment guidelines, the statement also evaluates the utility of an atrial lead in a patient requiring ICD therapy without cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT), providing recommendations for specific scenarios where CRT is not indicated or not desired and a physician must choose between a single or dual-chamber ICD. Meanwhile, ACC coverage of select trials being presented at Heart Rhythm 2014 will be posted on CardioSource.
 

Top Advocacy and Health Policy News:

CMS Assigns Interventional Cardiology Specialty Designation
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) developed a new specialty code in interventional cardiology to reflect its distinction from other specialties. Your ACC supported a request from the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions to obtain the new designation, which allows CMS to distinguish an interventional cardiologist from a clinical cardiologist when billing for Medicare services. Previously, no mechanism existed for CMS to accurately report on this category of physician and some local Medicare carriers have denied claims, citing duplicate billing, when a cardiologist and an interventionalist from the same group practice have billed for patient evaluation services. The new code allows for the reporting of the involvement of two specialty physicians providing distinct services to an individual patient. Members can change the designation through updated enrollment using the Medicare Provider Enrollment, Chain and Ownership System.
 
Success in the States on CPR/AED Graduation Requirements
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and Illinois Governor Pat Quinn recently signed similar pieces of legislation requiring all students to complete instruction in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and the use of an automated external defibrillator in order to graduate from a public high school. Both laws will be effective for the 2014-2015 school year. The ACC State Team is working closely with the American Heart Association to support the passage of these laws in the states. Now 18 states have laws that require CPR training for high school graduation and 16 states have similar bills pending.
 
ACC Advocates MOC Changes at AMA Meeting
Representatives from the ACC were at the American Medical Association's (AMA's) annual House of Delegates meeting in Chicago this week advocating for a number of policies, including maintenance of certification changes and increased involvement of younger physicians in the AMA. ACC's delegates joined the House of Medicine in commending CVS/Caremark for taking tobacco off shelves and urged others to implement similar policies. Additionally, ACC delegates expressed support for public health initiatives regarding scholastic athlete safety and the prevention of sudden cardiac arrest. Other hot topics included clinical registries and the Choosing Wisely program; tobacco regulation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and nutritional labeling and education; and the appropriate use criteria mandate included in the Sustainable Growth Rate patch.
 
Are You Ready for the Sunshine Act?
The ACC strongly encourages physicians to register to preview reports of industry payments made to them before the reports are made public on Sept. 30 as required by the Physician Payments Sunshine Act. The registration system opened on June 1 and is now available at portal.cms.gov. Tips for successfully registering:
 
  • Review these slides for step-by-step instructions (starting on slide 14)
  • Physicians must register themselves – staff will not be able to register for you
  • Have a copy of your credit report next to you while registering
  • Designate a member of your staff to be given access to your report during the preview period
  • You do not need to create a new CMS Enterprise Identity Management system (EIDM) account if you use the Health Insurance Oversight System, the Medicaid and CHIP Program System or other CMS systems
  • PECOS, the National Provider Identifier enumeration system and the Surrogate User Program are not connected to the EIDM system, so you cannot use existing accounts on those systems for Sunshine Act purposes
  • Contact openpayments@cms.hhs.gov with any problems with registration
  • Contact Experian Proofing Support Services for assistance with identity proofing concerns
 
Last Chance to Avoid EHR Incentive Program Penalties
Physicians and hospitals that have not implemented electronic health records (EHRs) and did not participate in the EHR Incentive Program in 2013 have until July 1, 2014, to begin participating in the program in order to avoid a penalty in 2015. This deadline for avoiding the penalty is unaffected by the proposed delay of Stage 2 implementation. Previous program participants who do not participate in 2014 face a penalty in 2016. For those who face participation difficulties as a result of vendor issues, there is a pertinent hardship exemption that is available. Applications for hardship exemptions must be submitted by July 1, 2014, to avoid the 2015 payment penalty.
 
New Data Sets Released
Following the release of Medicare physician payment data in May 2014, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released the new data sets recently, including 2012 Medicare hospital charge data, Medicare chronic conditions data and geographic variation data. Additionally, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) launched its new open data initiative, openFDA. As part of its first data release, the FDA has made available data on drug adverse events and medication errors submitted to the FDA from 2004 to 2013. Also released was a research cohort estimate tool that will help researchers estimate the number of Medicare beneficiaries with certain demographic profiles or health conditions. The release of the Medicare hospital charge data is described as the first annual update of hospital inpatient and outpatient data. The first release of hospital data was last spring. Data include information comparing the average charges for services that may be provided in connection with the 100 most common Medicare inpatient stays in all 50 states and Washington, DC. HHS is encouraging application developers to create tools to help patients, physicians and researchers make decisions regarding health care choices and for other purposes by sponsoring various challenges to developers.
 

Top Education and Career Growth News:

ACC Responds to ABIM’s MOC Requirements
As part of the College’s ongoing efforts to address the American Board of Internal Medicine’s (ABIM’s) new Maintenance of Certification (MOC) requirements, the ACC has developed the following response that takes into account member feedback over the last several months and outlines the College’s commitment to improving the process moving forward. This response was unanimously approved by the ACC’s Executive Committee and Board of Trustees. As stated in the document, the ACC’s commitment to its members and their patients remains steadfast. Advocating for our members to assist them in the provision of professional, knowledgeable and compassionate care, coupled with demonstration of ongoing competence, will continue to guide our actions and fulfill our obligations to society. Read ACC’s response on the ACC in Touch Blog here. Also, be sure to take a look at JACC commentary by Steven Lloyd, MD, PhD, FACC and ACC President Patrick O’Gara, MD, FACC, which illustrates ACC’s promise and plan on mastering MOC changes. For more MOC resources from the ACC, visit these:
 
ACC’s International Exchange Database: Building a Resource with Your Help
The ACC Early Career Section Leadership Council’s International Working Group is building a network of international exchange programs. The goal is to provide a resource for ACC members interested in gaining new knowledge and skills in cardiovascular disease that could not be done locally. If you’ve participated in an observership, mini-sabbatical, or similar international opportunity, please take a moment to help us generate this resource by answering a few quick questions here.  
 
Find a Mentor, Be a Mentor: Register for ACC’s New Mentoring Program
The College’s new online mentoring program, developed through the efforts of the Early Career Professionals Leadership Council and Section, is designed to help create and foster mutually beneficial mentor/mentee relationships. The program connects experienced cardiovascular professionals with younger professionals based on areas of interest, specialty and expertise. Register online and find out more at CardioSource.org/Mentoring.  
 

Webinars, Events, Deadlines and More: Mark Your Calendar

ACC’s June Journal Club Date Change
The ACC will hold its next Journal Club web-based session at 8 p.m. ET on June 25. The new online educational series is hosted by Dipti Itchhaporia, MD, FACC, Robert Harrington, MD, FACC, and Harlan Krumholz, MD, SM, FACC, and features live webinars on CardioSource.org. ACC members signed up for the webinar presentations have the opportunity to interact with the speakers and fellow audience members, and post questions and comments to a discussion board. For those unable to join online, the option to call-in and listen to an audio version is also available. A unique feature of the Journal Club program is the opportunity for Maintenance of Certification (MOC) Part II points.  At the end of each monthly Journal Club, participants have the opportunity to answer three MOC questions, earning up to a total of 30 points by the end of the year. This opportunity will be available for archived Journal Club articles as well. Learn more about the Journal Club. Also, take part in the Journal Club discussion page and tweet using #ACCJournalClub.
 
Be Heard on the Hill: ACC’s Legislative Conference
You're invited to attend the ACC's 2014 Legislative Conference that will take place Sept. 14-16 in Washington, DC. This year's conference will provide the inside scoop on regulatory changes, legislative action and the state of cardiology to empower members to become effective advocates for patients and cardiovascular professionals. Don't miss the opportunity to hear first-hand from members of Congress, Capitol Hill staff and other policymakers who will provide an insider's view of Washington. Attendees will also have the opportunity to meet directly with congressional leaders to ensure the voice of cardiology is heard on the Hill. Reserve your spot now.
 
ACCPAC Presents an Evening With James Carville and Mary Matalin
ACC Political Action Committee (PAC) is pleased to announce that political power couple, James Carville and Mary Matalin, will headline the annual ACCPAC dinner to kick off the 2014 Legislative Conference. Carville, America's best-known political consultant, and Matalin, one of the foremost conservative voices in America, will be the centerpiece of a fascinating and thought-provoking evening you don't want to miss. This headline event is open to all ACC members and will sell out. To reserve your tickets, contact ACCPAC Manager Kendra Adams at kadams@acc.org.
 

Tools and Tips


 
How to be a Resource to Local and State Media: A Guide for ACC Chapter Governors
Here are some top tips from ACC’s Media Relations staff on how to serve as a resource for media in your state. Questions? Contact Stephanie Abraham, ACC Media Relations Associate at sabraham@acc.org or 202-375-6296.
 
  1. Follow health issues in the local media and become familiar with the work of state and local health reporters.
    1. Begin developing relationships with those reporters by sending personal positive comments to the individual journalists and offering comment when cardiovascular issues are in the news.
    2. ACC Media Relations staff can help you find contact information for specific journalists.
  2. When you see something written in a local paper that you are interested in and could benefit from ACC perspective, contact the ACC media relations office for advice.
    1. Act quickly and try to anticipate cardiovascular issues in the news.
    2. We can assist you with drafting letters to the editor and review your drafts.
    3. Also feel empowered to write positive comments on the story itself.
  3. Work with the ACC media relations team to develop key messages that could be used for an interview on the topic at hand.
    1. ACC media relations can help you evaluate and manage challenging interview requests.
  4. Consider leading heart healthy events like “Walk with a Doc” and participating in health fairs.
    1. Offer to be the on-site expert.
 
Using Social Media to Reach Lawmakers
Throughout the year, Wisconsin Chapter members take part in grassroots efforts such as legislator practice visits, the annual ACC Legislative Conference, fundraisers and more to ensure that lawmakers understand how their decisions impact the cardiovascular community and patients. Meeting face-to-face with legislators is crucial to ensuring the voice of cardiology is heard and using social media as an extension of the meeting can amplify the message. Currently, all 100 members of the Senate and nearly all members of the House of Representatives are on Twitter, as are many state lawmakers. Never before has it been so easy to reach decision makers. If you’re meeting with state or federal representatives, engaging with them via Twitter before and after the meeting is an easy way to reinforce your key points and thank them for their time. Be sure to share pictures and tweets about your meetings with ACC by tagging @Cardiology and using the hashtag #ACCGrassroots. Here are some sample messages:  
  • Showed [@Legislator’s Twitter account] around [your practice/hospital name] today [photo]. @Cardiology  #ACCGrassroots  
  • Had a productive discussion about [issues discussed] w/ [@Legislator’s Twitter account] today. @Cardiology #ACCGrassroots
  • Thanks [@Legislator’s Twitter account] for visiting [your practice/hospital name] & hearing about how we’re advancing patient care. @Cardiology   
  • Thanks [@Legislator’s Twitter account] for taking the time to see to how policies decided on the Hill impact physicians & patients @Cardiology

Not on Twitter yet? Here’s a helpful guide to help you get started.
 
Together, we can help shape health policy in Wisconsin and beyond.
 

May 2014

Hot Topics

Grassroots Efforts Help Protect Patient Access 
California Senate Bill 1215 (S.B 1215), which sought to remove the in-office ancillary exception for advanced modality imaging (including PET, CT and MRI) and many other services performed outside cardiology, was successfully defeated on April 28 when a Senate committee voted against advancing the legislation. Through a CA-ACC grassroots campaign, chapter members met face-to-face with lawmakers to educate them on the bill’s consequences. During the committee hearing, Norman E. Lepor, MD, FACC, governor-elect of the CA-ACC (Southern), and one of his patients underscored how this legislation would diminish patient care by limiting access to life-saving cardiovascular services and raise the cost to Medicare and patients. Because California lawmakers were convinced that S.B. 1215 could negatively impact access to cardiovascular services in California, other states do not have the legislative precedent or political momentum to justify similar proposals. Nevertheless, ACC and its chapters will remain vigilant in tracking such proposals and educating state lawmakers on why cardiac imaging is a cost-efficient, life-saving procedure. Grassroots efforts such as these are imperative to ensuring that lawmakers understand how their decisions impact the cardiovascular community and patients. Get involved in ACC’s Advocacy efforts by inviting state and congressional legislators to tour your office or meeting with them in their home offices. Contact Elizabeth Shaw at eshaw@acc.org to set up a visit. Also, be sure to mark your calendar for ACC’s annual Legislative Conference, Sept. 14-16, 2014 in Washington, DC.  

CMS Releases Physician Payment Data
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has released data on the health care services delivered by individual physicians in 2012 and how much Medicare paid for these services. As of April 9, Medicare Part B Fee-For-Service data are available on more than 880,000 health care professionals across all 50 states and will include 6,000 types of services and procedures. Data is available in Excel by provider last name here.

ACC Launches New PVI Registry
The ACC’s suite of data registries has been expanded to provide data collection and reporting on lower extremity peripheral arterial catheter-based procedures. Part of the ACC’s NCDR, the new Peripheral Vascular Intervention (PVI) Registry was created to address the need for more information on the use and outcomes of interventional procedures for the treatment of peripheral vascular patients. Like other ACC registries, the PVI Registry provides physicians and hospitals with quarterly risk-adjusted benchmark reports and executive summary dashboards that allow for detailed comparisons. Data can be used to assess guideline adherence, for performance improvement efforts, and to meet new ABIM Maintenance of Certification Part IV requirements. Learn more on CardioSource.org
 

Overarching News

In Memoriam: Past California Governor George Smith, Jr., MD, FACC
The ACC family mourns the loss of Past California Governor George Smith, Jr., MD, FACC. Smith was active in the ACC, serving as Chair of the ACC Political Action Committee for a time, and served as a member of the College’s Ethics and Discipline Committee. Learn more about the incredible life of Dr. Smith in his hometown newspaper, The Press Democrat.

ACC’s Strategic Plan Goes to Implementation Phase
ACC staff and member leaders are now in the implementation phase of the College’s five-year Strategic Plan, as drawn out over the last year and was approved at the December ACC Board of Trustees meeting. The Strategic Plan is intended to direct the College’s activities and ensure the ACC’s strategic priorities are mission-focused. Learn more about the direction of the ACC online here.

CardioSmart at Upcoming Chapter Meetings
Keep your eyes peeled for representatives from ACC’s CardioSmart patient initiative at your upcoming Chapter meetings. Designed to be an extension of you and your cardiac care team, CardioSmart delivers a network of tools and resources intended to engage, inform and empower your patients and their caregivers. Be a CardioSmart practice by using any of these tools and resources that work best for your practice, including our new CardioSmart Infographic Poster on Finding Your Energy Balance or our electronic Clinician/Patient Toolkit.  Already a CardioSmart Practice? Share your story at cardiologyeditor@acc.org.
 

Digital ACC Resources News: Find It on CardioSource.org

Stay In Touch with the ACC via Social Media
Stay in touch with the ACC and the latest clinical and advocacy news through ACCinTouch.  ACCinTouch connects ACC members and those interested in cardiovascular news through popular social networking channels like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. Look for the ACCinTouch logo for the official ACC presence on these social media channels in order to connect with ACC members and those interested in cardiology. In addition to the ACC's main Twitter profile @ACCinTouch, the College also has profiles dedicated to news from the Advocacy team @Cardiology. CardioSmart, the ACC's patient education and support program, also has patient-centered cardiovascular news available through Facebook, Twitter @CardioSmart, and YouTube. For more information about ACC’s social media channels, visit CardioSource.org/ACCinTouch.

New Medical Mobile App Reviews Help You Enhance Patient Care
With a plethora of medical mobile apps on the market, it can often be challenging to know which ones to implement in clinical practice. To solve this problem, the ACC’s Informatics Task Force has developed a series of Mobile App Reviews to help providers adopt tools that optimize patient care. Current categories include Patient Education apps, Manuscript Writing Assistance apps, Protected Health Information Sharing and HIPAA Compliance apps, and Recording Patient Data for Patients apps. Read the reviews to decide which apps are the right fit for you and be sure to check back often for updates. Do you have an app to recommend? Please email reviewsubmissions@acc.org to submit a review.

ACC Archived Webinars
Did you know that you can find archived webinars from throughout the years from the ACC on CardioSource.org? As a member, you have access to this wealth of information here. To access them, you must have a CardioSource.org log-in and use the confirmation code and webinar access link emailed to you once you. Questions? Contact ACC’s Resource Center at Phone: (202) 375-6000, ext. 5603 or (800) 253-4636, ext. 5603 or resource@acc.org.
 

Top Science and Quality News:

NCDR Study Looks at Trends of Clopidogrel vs. Prasugrel in STEMI and NSTEMI Patients
Based on current guidelines by the ACC and the American Heart Association, administering dual antiplatelet therapy as soon as possible for all eligible myocardial infarction (MI) is a recommended course of action regardless of a physician's impending revascularization strategy. Multiple randomized trials have shown that a P2Y12 antagonist, alongside aspirin, can significantly improve cardiovascular outcomes in ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) and non-STEMI (NSTEMI) patients. Most of this data however, is based on the P2Y12 antagonist clopidogrel. Meanwhile, second-generation antagonists, such as prasugrel, have demonstrated a more rapid, potent and consistent antiplatelet effect than clopidogrel. In a study published April 14 in Journal of the American Heart Association  , Matthew Sherwood, MD, Duke Clinical Research Institute, and his colleagues sought to understand the appropriateness of using either of these drugs and assess changes in antiplatelet management practices. They found that prasugrel use increased significantly from 2009-2012, jumping from three percent to 18 percent (five percent to 30 percent in STEMI and two to 10 percent in NSTEMI), as well as "concerning evidence of inappropriate use of prasugrel, and inadequate targeting of this more potent therapy to maximize the benefit/risk ratio." Read more on the study that used data from the ACTION Registry-GWTG on CardioSource.org.

NCDR Study Examines First Medical Contact to PCI Time in STEMI Patients
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), 250,000 people in the U.S. suffer from a ST segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) every year. For these patients, a lack of timely access from first medical contact (FMC) to percutaneous coronary intervention (FMC2B) is associated with an increased risk of morbidity and mortality. Current guidelines from the ACC and AHA recommend that STEMI patients are treated in 90 minutes or less from FMC, but unfortunately only a minority of patients meet this goal. In a study published April 7 in the American Heart Journal , a team led by Bryn E. Mumma, MD, MAS, sought to better understand the relationship between the use of prehospital electrocardiograms (ECG) and patient home distance from the percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) center on reperfusion time in STEMI patients. The authors established that patients with a prehospital ECG had a 10 minute reduction in their FMC2B time, however, "patient home distance from a PCI center does not substantially change this association." Read more on the study that used data from the ACTION Registry-GWTG on CardioSource.org.

FDA Approves Expanded Uses of Dabigatran
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the anticoagulant dabigatran (Pradaxa) "for the treatment of deep venous thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE) in patients who have been treated with a parenteral anticoagulant for five to 10 days, and to reduce the risk of recurrent DVT and PE in patients who have been previously treated," according to a press release from Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Read more. 
 

Top Advocacy and Health Policy News:

ICD-10 Delayed: What to do Next?
In addition to delaying the Sustainable Growth Rate formula for 12 months, the Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014 set back the ICD-10 implementation date until at least Oct. 1, 2015. While the revised implementation date has yet to be set, the ACC urges members to continue cultivating their ICD-10 program. If your practice has not taken actions to implement ICD-10, you now have time to get your office ready for the new implementation date. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) , the American Health Information Management Association , and the American Medical Association have checklists that can help you prepare your office for the change. If your practice is ready for implementation, ACC advises you to keep up the impressive strides you have already taken. Don't forget to verify that your vendors are ready or will be on-time getting their systems in order. If you have already trained your staff and coders, have your coders start to review charts to see if your documentation satisfies the requirements of the ICD-10 code set. You're encouraged to use this delay as a reminder that the switchover is coming soon and use the time to pursue your implementation goals.

Using Social Media to Reach Lawmakers
Throughout the year, Wisconsin Chapter members take part in grassroots efforts such as legislator practice visits, the annual ACC Legislative Conference, fundraisers and more to ensure that lawmakers understand how their decisions impact the cardiovascular community and patients. Meeting face-to-face with legislators is crucial to ensuring the voice of cardiology is heard and using social media as an extension of the meeting can amplify the message. Currently, all 100 members of the Senate and nearly all members of the House of Representatives are on Twitter, as are many state lawmakers. Never before has it been so easy to reach decision makers. If you’re meeting with state or federal representatives, engaging with them via Twitter before and after the meeting is an easy way to reinforce your key points and thank them for their time. Be sure to share pictures and tweets about your meetings with ACC by tagging @Cardiology and using the hashtag #ACCGrassroots. Here are some sample messages:
  • Showed [@Legislator’s Twitter account] around [your practice/hospital name] today [photo]. @Cardiology  #ACCGrassroots  
  • Had a productive discussion about [issues discussed] w/ [@Legislator’s Twitter account] today. @Cardiology #ACCGrassroots
  • Thanks [@Legislator’s Twitter account] for visiting [your practice/hospital name] & hearing about how we’re advancing patient care. @Cardiology   
  • Thanks [@Legislator’s Twitter account] for taking the time to see to how policies decided on the Hill impact physicians & patients @Cardiology
Not on Twitter yet? Here’s a helpful guide to help you get started.
 
Together, we can help shape health policy in Wisconsin and beyond.
 
Study Examines the Evidentiary Rationales of Choosing Wisely’s Top 5 Lists
Choosing Wisely is an initiative of the ABIM Foundation to help physicians and patients engage in conversations to reduce overuse of tests and procedures, and support physician efforts to help patients make smart and effective care choices. As of August 2013, 25 participating specialty societies, including the ACC, had produced one or more Top 5 lists containing a total of 135 services. A new research letter published in the Journal of the American Medical Association evaluates the evidentiary rationales used by specialty societies to create the lists. Learn more about the results of this evaluation here. Head to ACC in Touch Blog to read a post by William A. Zoghbi, MD, MACC, Joseph P. Drozda, Jr., MD, FACC, Joseph M. Allen, MA, and William J. Oetgen, MD, MBA, is in response to the JAMA perspective piece on Choosing Wisely. The ACC continues to work with Choosing Wisely to develop patient and provider tools that help facilitate discussions about appropriate tests and procedures. Already, physician/patient communication modules and patient fact sheets have been developed. Learn more at www.choosingwisely.org.. For more an ACC’s appropriate use tools and clinical documents go to CardioSource.org/FOCUS.

AMA Releases Coding Update
The American Medical Association has released its Category III CPT coding update. These updated codes have an effective date of Jan. 1, 2014 although they are not in the 2014 HCPCS book. Cardiovascular codes to note are the Category III codes for Transcatheter Mitral Valve Repair Percutaneous. Read more on the AMA website.

PQRS Group Registration Now Open
As of April 1, group practices can self-nominate and select the Group Practice Reporting Option (GPRO) web interface, registry reporting mechanism, or the CMS-calculated administrative claims reporting method for the 2014 PQRS reporting period. Practices already submitting data to the ACC's PINNACLE Registry can learn more about PQRS opportunities, here.

EHR Deadline Ahead
In order to avoid a penalty in 2015, physicians must begin participating in the Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program by July 1, 2014 and must attest to 2014 participation by Oct. 1, 2014. Physicians struggling to meet the requirements for the program must submit hardship exception applications by July 1, 2014 at midnight (ET). View a newly expanded list of exceptions. Navigate the EHR Incentive Program based on your level of participation.

CMS’ ‘Two Midnight’ Rule Reminder
CMS has notified hospitals that Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs) have been conducting prepayment patient status probe reviews on a sample of 10 claims for the majority of hospitals (25 claims for large hospitals) with admission dates on or after Oct. 1, 2013 as part of the "two midnight" rule. While the education component of the process has begun, MACs have been directed to wait 45 days before requesting additional documentation from providers. 
 

Top Education and Career Growth News:

Everything You Need to Know About ABIM’s MOC Changes The ACC supports Maintenance of Certification (MOC).  We believe that it engages physicians in lifelong learning and continued performance improvement.  However, we are acutely aware of our members’ misunderstanding of and dissatisfaction and frustration with the American Board of Internal Medicine’s (ABIM) new MOC process. We are working with ABIM and the larger internal medicine community to 1) educate cardiovascular professionals about the new requirements; 2) provide tools and resources to help physicians meet the requirements in the most efficient way possible; and 3) provide feedback to ABIM on ways to evolve and refine and program so that it is more transparent, involves greater integration with medical societies, and minimizes the impacts of monetary costs and physician time necessary to meet the requirements – particularly for those physicians with multiple board certifications.
 
In response to these requirement changes, the ACC’s Education Quality Review Board (EQRB) released a special report in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC) outlining the changes and EQRB efforts to help ACC members both understand and meet the new requirements. The new MOC requirements, which became effective on Jan. 1, apply to all certified physicians and require specific proactive steps on the part of physicians between now and the end of March, as well as over the next two years. Also, be sure to take a look at JACC commentary by Steven Lloyd, MD, PhD, FACC and ACC President Patrick O’Gara, MD, FACC, which illustrates ACC’s promise and plan on mastering MOC changes. For more MOC resources from the ACC, visit these:

ACC’s International Exchange Database: Building a Resource with Your Help
The ACC Early Career Section Leadership Council’s International Working Group is building a network of international exchange programs. The goal is to provide a resource for ACC members interested in gaining new knowledge and skills in cardiovascular disease that could not be done locally. If you’ve participated in an observership, mini-sabbatical, or similar international opportunity, please take a moment to help us generate this resource by answering a few quick questions here.  
 
Find a Mentor, Be a Mentor: Register for ACC’s New Mentoring Program
The College’s new online mentoring program, developed through the efforts of the Early Career Professionals Leadership Council and Section, is designed to help create and foster mutually beneficial mentor/mentee relationships. The program connects experienced cardiovascular professionals with younger professionals based on areas of interest, specialty and expertise. Register online and find out more at CardioSource.org/Mentoring. 
 

Webinars, Events, Deadlines and More: Mark Your Calendar

ACC Journal Club Dates Announced
The ACC will hold web-based sessions at 8 p.m. EST on May 21 and June 18 for its innovative new monthly Journal Club series hosted by Dipti Itchhaporia, MD, FACC, Robert Harrington, MD, FACC, and Harlan Krumholz, MD, SM, FACC. The new online educational series, which debuted at ACC.14, features live webinars on CardioSource.org. ACC members signed up for the webinar presentations have the opportunity to interact with the speakers and fellow audience members, and post questions and comments to a discussion board. For those unable to join online, the option to call-in and listen to an audio version is also available. A unique feature of the Journal Club program is the opportunity for Maintenance of Certification (MOC) Part II points.  At the end of each monthly Journal Club, participants have the opportunity to answer three MOC questions, earning up to a total of 30 points by the end of the year. This opportunity will be available for archived Journal Club articles as well. Learn more about the Journal Club.
 
Practice Management Webinar Series Begins May 15
Attend a webinar series focused on helping you best manage your practice! The first webinar on May 15, Public Reporting: What You Need to Know, focuses on helping you identify key sources for publicly reported data. Upcoming webinars will also focus on integrating quality programs into your service line, preparing your practice for an audit, compensation models and more.  Register for Public Reporting: What You Need to Know at cardiosource.org/webinars today.
 
ACC.14 Continues Beyond Washington, DC!
Want more from ACC.14? Couldn’t make it to DC? Best of ACC.14: Take Home Messages for the Clinician is your solution! Join world-class faculty in one of two locations — Los Angeles from April 25 – 26 or Chicago from May 9 – 10 — and get all the highlights presented at ACC.14. Learn how to implement new recommendations from the latest guidelines and late-breaking clinical trials into your practice! Examine hot topics from ACC.14 with leading experts in the field and leave with a fresh perspective and new ideas that will prepare you to provide even better care for your patients. Space is limited! Learn more and register today to join us in Los Angeles or Chicago!

ACC Product and Membership Savings for Nurses in May

The American College of Cardiology would like to take this opportunity to say Thank You for all that you do, and recognize you for your contributions to the cardiovascular team.
 
The ACC feels that you deserve the utmost appreciation for your membership loyalty and commitment to the highest standards of cardiovascular care. We are grateful to have you as a part of the American College of Cardiology.

To celebrate, the ACC will be offering specials for our care team colleagues throughout the month, including a special 15% savings offer on educational products purchased during May using code NURSESAVE.  Stay tuned to CardioSource.org/CVT for special news, profiles and discounts honoring our nurse colleagues throughout the month.

 

May is nurse appreciation month at ACC! With all the contributions they bring to the cardiovascular team, our nurse colleagues deserve the utmost gratitude and appreciation.
 
Be sure to say ‘Thank You’ to your nurse colleagues this month, as the ACC says thank you in our own way. We’ll be releasing special news, member profiles and special discounts throughout the month of May. Now, we’re offering a special 15% savings offer for nurse members purchasing educational products using code NURSESAVE.
 
And for your colleagues who aren’t ACC members, there’s no better way to recognize them for their contributions to the cardiovascular team than by offering them benefits of membership! From May 1 – May 31, we’re offering $50 off the price of membership.  Your nurse colleagues can experience all the benefits of membership for just $75 using code LOVENURSES!
 
Stay tuned to CardioSource.org/CVT for the latest.

Finishing CV Training This Year? Apply to Become an FACC for Free
Completing your cardiovascular training this year? Apply for Fellowship in the ACC (FACC) now—for FREE—even before passing your Board exams. The ACC is waiving the $150 application fee for all applications received before June 15 – which means you’ll owe nothing when you apply. Advancing now still means you’ll receive your year of reduced dues for 2015. Find out more about taking this next step in your career here.

Special Edition: ACC.14

ACC News You Can Use

Special Edition: ACC.14

Get Full Coverage of ACC.14
From trial summaries to presentation slides, videos and news articles, get all of the hot clinical news from ACC.14 on CardioSource.org here. Also, read more in depth pieces about sessions throughout the meeting here and get perspectives from leaders on the ACC in Touch Blog. You can find wrap up videos from each day of the annual scientific sessions and hot trial videos on YouTube.
 
Coverage of the most significant trials from ACC.14 (click to access):
 
  • CoreValve US Pivotal Trial: TAVR with a Self-Expanding Prosthesis Shows Lower Mortality Than Surgery
  • SYMPLICITY HTN-3: Renal Artery Denervation Fails for Resistant HTN
  • STABILITY: Stabilization of Atherosclerotic Plaque by Initiation of Darapladib Therapy
  • AleCardio: Aleglitazar to Reduce CV Events in Patients With ACS and Diabetes
  • CHOICE: Self-Expandable vs. Balloon Expandable Prostheses in Transfemoral TAVR Patients
  • POISE-2 Trials: Evaluation of Low-Dose Clonidine and Aspirin in Patients at Risk For ASCVD
 
Convocation Recognizes Past, Present and Future ACC Leaders
ACC’s 63rd Annual Convocation recognizes ACC leaders, welcomed new Fellows and Associates and acknowledged the traditions and legacy of the institution of the American College of Cardiology. Read speeches from Convocation in their entirety from Immediate Past President John Gordon Harold, MD, MACC and newly minted ACC President Patrick T. O’Gara, MD, FACC here. Also, read O’Gara’s first JACC President’s Page and learn more about O’Gara mission in this Q&A.
 
FITs on the Go Videos
Check out the ACC.14 videos from FITs on the GO, the roving reporters who also happen to be ACC Fellows-in-Training. All of the videos are archived here. These ones in particular may be of interest:
       
  • FITs on the GO talk with ACC President Patrick T. O’Gara, MD, FACC, about research development awards and the ACC’s focus on improving patient care, as well as other topics of interest to the care team and FIT/early career members.
 
  • Incoming Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC) Editor-in-Chief, Valentin Fuster, MD, PhD, MACC talks about new opportunities for FITs in JACC that will give contributors a global voice, and other bits of wisdom for those early in their cardiology career.
 
MOC Deadline Extended Through April 30
The American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) has extended the enrollment deadline for anyone choosing to participate in MOC through April 30.  Those enrolled by this date will be reported as “Meeting MOC Requirements.”  Otherwise, physician choosing not to enroll will be reported as “Certified, Not Meeting MOC Requirements.”  The original deadline was March 31. The ABIM’s MOC changes, which took effect as of Jan. 1, apply to all certified physicians – including those originally certified prior to 1990 (grandparents) – and require specific proactive steps on the part of physicians over the next two years. ACC.14 hosted several sessions dedicated to helping cardiologists understand and meet the new requirements, as well as featured an MOC Complex to help with questions. In addition, the College is using an ongoing three-pronged strategy to help members not only understand, but meet, the new requirements. In addition to communicating with and answering questions from members, the College is also gathering and providing feedback to ABIM on the concerns of the cardiovascular community. Learn more about the MOC changes and ACC resources at CardioSource.org/MOC. Also read an ACC.14 guest blog post from ABIM President and CEO Richard J. Baron, MD, here.
 
FDA Issues Clarification on Sildenafil Use in Children with PAH
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is clarifying its previous recommendation related to prescribing sildenafil (Revatio) for children with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). Sildenafil is FDA-approved only to treat PAH in adults, not in children; however, the FDA says health care professionals must consider whether the benefits of treatment with the drug are likely to outweigh its potential risks for each patient. FDA revised the sildenafil drug label in August 2012, adding a warning stating that “use of [sildenafil], particularly chronic use, is not recommended in children.” This recommendation was based on an observation of increasing mortality with increasing sildenafil doses in a long-term clinical trial in pediatric patients with PAH. FDA also issued a Drug Safety Communication at that time. Learn more here.
 
Congress Passes 12-Month SGR Patch
Despite a last ditch effort by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden to permanently repeal and replace the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula, the Senate passed the Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014 (H.R. 4302) on March 31 in a vote of 64-35. The legislation, which delays for 12 months a 24 percent Medicare physician payment cut that was set to kick in April 1, is the 17th patch that Congress has enacted since 1997. Last week, the House passed the bill by voice vote. Get more details on the provisions included here.
 
Clinical Documents, Statements Released Immediately Prior to ACC.14
  • ACC/AHA/HRS Guideline for the Management of Patients With AFib
The ACC, American Heart Association (AHA) and the Heart Rhythm Society, in collaboration with the Society of Thoracic Surgery, have released a new 2014 Guideline for the Management of Patients With Atrial Fibrillation (AFib) that incorporates new and existing knowledge derived from published clinical trials, basic science, and comprehensive review articles, along with evolving treatment strategies and new drugs. The guideline, which supersedes the "2006 ACC/AHA/ESC Guideline for the Management of Patients With Atrial Fibrillation" and two subsequent focused updates from 2011, contains the most updated consensus of clinicians with broad expertise related to AFib and its treatment, including adult cardiology, electrophysiology, cardiothoracic surgery, and heart failure.
 
  • ACC/AHA/SCAI Health Policy Statement on Clinical Standards For Cardiac Cath Lab Structured Reporting
The ACC, AHA and Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions, in collaboration with 14 other professional societies, on March 28 released a health policy statement  in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology that defines the clinical standards for structured reporting in the cardiac catheterization suite. The goal of the statement is to provide a standardized means for how to report a variety of cardiac catheterization procedures and improve patient care by making clinical data more timely, accessible, consistent and usable. Learn more here.
 
  • ACC/AHA Statement on Cost/Value Methodology in Guidelines and Performance Measures
The ACC and the AHA will begin to include value assessments when developing guidelines and performance measures, in recognition of accelerating health care costs and the need for care to be of value to patients. The ACC/AHA Statement on Cost/Value Methodology in Guidelines and Performance Measures released March 27, states a key goal of achieving the best possible health outcomes with finite health care resources. Historically, value consideration and resource utilization were explicitly excluded from practice guidelines and performance measures formulations, though they were often implicitly considered. Learn more here.
March 2014

ACC News You Can Use

March 2014

Overarching News
 
Latest Issue of Cardiology Celebrates ACC History and Looks to Future

The latest issue of Cardiology magazine celebrates the ACC’s rich 65-year history, while also providing a look ahead at the future as the College continues to grow and serve as the primary home for the entire cardiovascular community. Get to know ACC leaders past and present, learn more about the new strategic plan, find out what’s in store at ACC.14 in Washington, DC, and more! Read more on CardioSource.org.
 

CardioSmart at Upcoming Chapter Meetings

Keep your eyes peeled for representatives from ACC’s CardioSmart patient initiative at your upcoming Chapter meetings. CardioSmart has many new patient-friendly tools and resources plus an updated CardioSmart.org website available that can help ACC members help patients become more educated and heart healthy. Learn more here.

 
Top Science and Quality News:

Note: We anticipate a few significant guidelines and clinical documents out later this week. Stay tuned to CardioSource.org for more information regarding these important items. 

New Guideline for the Management of Patients with Valvular Heart Disease

New practice guidelines for the management of patients with valvular heart disease (VHD) were released March 3 by the ACC and the American Heart Association. The first focused update on the condition and its treatment since 2008, the new guideline includes restructured definitions of disease severity, and provides a more complex evaluation of interventional risk and indications for newer catheter-based therapies. Read more on CardioSource.org.

 
Dissin' DAT: Extended DAT is Common, But Data Prompt the Question, “Why?”

The cover story in the March issue of CardioSource WorldNews looks at the length of dual antiplatelet therapy (DAT) noting that there remains the Goldilocks question “when is DAT duration ‘just right?’” According to a recently presented study looking at "very, very late" stent thrombosis occurring more than five years after DES placement, the investigators concluded that “There appears to be no definable 'safe' time when antiplatelet therapy may be discontinued without potential stent thrombosis." The article also notes that “conversely, FAST MI found that use of DAT at one year was not a predictor of five-year mortality and PRODIGY suggests that 24 months of DAT is no better than six months.” The article concludes that two trials are due to wrap up in 2014 that will shed some light on this question of prolonged DAT. Read the full article and catch up on the entire issue at CardioSource.org/CSWN.

 
Top Advocacy and Health Policy News:
 
Advocacy in Action at ACC.14

Mark Your Calendars! Health policy will be in the spotlight during ACC.14 in Washington, DC. Don't miss the unique opportunity to interact with health policy decision-makers during these sessions:

  • Affordable Care Act Implementation: Impact on Patients and Providers (#615)
  • Not Just for Coders: How ICD-10 Will Affect Clinicians and the Practice of Medicine (#639)
  • What Makes the Device Approval Process Tick? Making Sense of Methods, Timing and Effects (#649)
  • Device Approval Processes Around the World: Which Is Better? (#656)
  • Drug and Device Safety for 2014 and Beyond (#662)
  • Impact of the Evolving Health Care Landscape on the Academic Mission (#718)
  • Let the Sunshine in: Research and Education in an Era of the 24-Hour News Cycle (#731)
Learn more about these sessions with the ACC.14 eMeeting Planner App or the ACC.14 Online Program Planner.
 

Advocacy Meet and Greet at ACC.14

Visit ACC Central (booth #838) during ACC.14 to meet Advocacy staff and learn about how the College is shaping health policy to meet the triple aim of better health, better outcomes and lower cost. Also be sure to stop by the ACC Political Action Committee (ACCPAC) Lounge in the Grand Lobby to speak with ACCPAC staff and members and learn more about hot button issues. Fellows in Training and Early Career Physicians are invited to join the ACC Board of Governors for an ACCPAC-sponsored reception at City Tap House, 901 I St. NW, Washington, DC, on March 30 from 6 - 8 p.m. Please RSVP to Lucas Sanders at lsanders@acc.org.
 

Win for CCHD Screening in Massachusetts

Massachusetts is the latest state to pass legislation requiring that newborns be screened for critical congenital heart disease (CCHD) before being discharged from a birthing facility or hospital. S.B. 1919 directs the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) to develop regulations for pulse oximetry testing for CCHD. The law also provides future flexibility by permitting the department to approve another test for CCHD screening if that test is at least as accurate, widely available and cost-effective as pulse oximetry screening. The MDPH regulations must consider evidence-based guidance, including recommendations issued by the federal Health and Human Services Discretionary Advisory Committee on Heritable Disorders in Newborns and Children. Should the parent or guardian object to having their newborn screened based upon "sincerely held religious beliefs" pulse oximetry testing will not be performed. The law takes effect Jan. 1, 2015 or earlier depending upon issuance of the regulations. Finally, the MDPH must review the protocols required by S.B. 1919 and the implementation of these protocols as part of its hospital licensure and birthing facility licensure review processes. Read up on Arizona and Hawaii that have recently passed CCHD screening legislation.
 

ACCPAC Invites Chapters to Participate in March Madness

ACC Political Action Committee (PAC) has created a March Madness campaign to coincide with the widely popular March Madness college basketball tournament. ACCPAC will donate a $1,000 Legislative Conference scholarship to the chapter that wins its “division.” Check out the rules of the competition. Please spread the word about this initiative and get your chapter engaged! Contributions can be made at www.ACCPACWeb.org. The winner of each division will be announced on March 30 at the BOG/FIT/ECP reception during ACC.14. The reception will take place at City Tap House, 901 I St. NW, from 6 – 8 p.m.
 
Thank you to the more than 1,300 contributors who helped ensure the voice of cardiology was heard last year. With a grand total of $513,441 in contributions, your ACC Political Action Committee (ACCPAC) is on target to surpass $1 million for the 2013-2014 cycle. Ranking among the top 10 medical specialty PACs in the United States, ACCPAC continues to be the voice on Capitol Hill for cardiovascular issues, with 100 percent of personal contributions used to support the campaigns of congressional members who impact the College's mission. Watch this video and visit ACCPACWeb.org to learn more and see your PAC in action.
 

New EHR Hardship Exceptions Released

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently announced new hardship exceptions for physicians struggling to meet the requirements for the Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program. Physicians who have not participated in the EHR Incentive Program yet and do not attest to 2014 participation by Oct. 1, 2014 will face a penalty in 2015. Applications for hardship exceptions must be submitted by July 1, 2014 at midnight (ET). The newly expanded list of exceptions includes:
  • Lack of Internet access
  • Unforeseen or uncontrollable circumstances
  • Lack of control over availability of certified EHR
  • Lack of face-to-face interactions with patients, including telemedicine and follow-up
  • EHR vendor issues leading to an inability to implement a 2014 certified EHR
  • Physicians practicing for less than two years
Physicians who successfully participated in the EHR Incentive Program in 2013 have met the requirements for avoiding the 2015 payment adjustment. Those participating successfully in 2014 will avoid the 2016 payment adjustment.

Complete Surveys to Support RVU Recommendations

Physician work surveys are being distributed related to a variety of cardiovascular services. This includes imaging, structural heart interventions, EP procedures and more. If you are randomly selected and receive a survey, please take 15 to 20 minutes to thoughtfully complete it. Please contact James Vavricek at 202-375-6421 or jvavricek@acc.org if you have questions. Annual updates to the physician work relative values are based on recommendations from a committee involving the American Medical Association (AMA) and national medical specialty societies, called the RUC. The RUC is an expert panel of the AMA and specialty societies charged with developing relative value recommendations to Medicare. A key part of the RUC process is the completion of relative value surveys. Data from these surveys are used to establish the physician work that determines Medicare payment.
 

Get Going with Grassroots Chapter Efforts!

Grassroots efforts play an equally important role in fostering effective relationships with lawmakers on both the state and federal level. When ACC members meet with legislators during practice visits or on Capitol Hill, lawmakers see first-hand how their decisions impact thousands of cardiovascular professionals and millions of patients nationwide. In 2013, 1,174 ACC participants had more than 1,296 interactions with legislators between face-to-face visits and correspondence. The ACC needs your help to make sure every member of Congress hears from ACC. Legislator practice visits are a crucial opportunity to meet first-hand with lawmakers throughout the year. Contact Elizabeth Shaw at eshaw@acc.org to set up a visit.
 

Top Education News:

New Research from CardioSurve Focuses on the Future of Learning

A compilation of research results from ACC’s market intelligence arm, CardioSurve, is now available in a new issue of the CardioSurve newsletter. The issue focuses on the future of learning, MOC changes, cholesterol guidelines and the College’s strategic plan. CardioSurve is a panel of more than 350 invited American College of Cardiology (ACC) members who participate in monthly research surveys. It was created in response to a need to obtain continuous feedback from U.S. cardiologists about all areas of their practice. Read the newest issue of the CardioSurve newsletter here.
 

Everything You Need to Know About ABIM’s MOC Changes

In response to new and significant changes to the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) Maintenance of Certification (MOC) requirements, the ACC’s Education Quality Review Board (EQRB) released a special report in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC) outlining the changes and EQRB efforts to help ACC members both understand and meet the new requirements. The new MOC requirements, which became effective on Jan. 1, apply to all certified physicians and require specific proactive steps on the part of physicians between now and the end of March, as well as over the next two years. Also, be sure to take a look at JACC commentary by Steven Lloyd, MD, PhD, FACC and ACC President-Elect, Patrick O’Gara, MD, FACC which illustrates ACC’s promise and plan on mastering MOC changes. For more MOC resources from the ACC, visit these:
 
 
  

Webinars, Events, Deadlines and More: Mark Your Calendar

Open House at Heart House on March 29

Visit the American College of Cardiology’s headquarters, Heart House, during ACC.14. ACC will host a Heart House Open House on Saturday, March 29 from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. at 2400 N Street, NW, Washington, DC 20037. Come by and visit, see the building, take pictures and take a walk through our lobby, Knowledge Exchange Area and conference center.  Come visit the heart of the ACC in Washington, DC! Please note that tours of Heart House will be self-guided.
 

Experience the Latest Registry-Based Research at ACC.14

The latest research from the ACC’s National Cardiovascular Data Registry (NCDR) will be presented in Washington, D.C March 29 to 31, 2014, as part of ACC.14. Twenty abstracts will be presented, highlighting data from five hospital-based registries and the PINNACLE Registry, the ACC’s outpatient registry. Research topics include proximal versus distal embolic protection for carotid artery stenting, the association of interventional cardiology board certification and in-hospital outcomes of patients undergoing percutaneous coronary interventions, and length of hospital stay and associated clinical outcomes in elderly patients following primary percutaneous coronary intervention. Among the abstracts are a Late-Breaking Clinical Trial from the STS/ACC TVT Registry and a nominee for Young Investigator Awards Competition from the PINNACLE Registry. The range of research presented highlights the versatility of the registries and their availability to answer complex scientific questions. For a complete list of abstract dates and times, visit NCDR.com/ACC14Abstracts. Learn more about the ACC’s data registries on CardioSource.org.

Special Session at ACC.14 for Military/Public Health Members

Are you a United States Department of Defense, Veterans Affairs or Public Health Service member? Attend a special breakout session just for you hosted by the ACC Board of Governors at ACC.14 on March 30 from 12 – 2 p.m. Topics will include The HAIMS Project, Million Hearts initiative, and a panel discussion covering the different sections of federal cardiology from administration to research.  The meeting will include lunch and will be held at the Renaissance Downtown Washington, D.C. hotel in room West A. RSVP here or contact Ashton Futral with questions.
 

Best of ACC.14: Take Home Messages for the Clinician

Join the ACC in Chicago or Los Angeles to review the top science presented at ACC.14 and how this new information will affect your practice and patients. Head to Sofitel Los Angeles in Beverly Hills on April 25 and 26, or the Radisson Blu Aqua in Chicago on May 9 and 10. Learn more here.
 

Social Media:
Stay Connected at ACC.14

Don’t miss a beat at ACC.14! See what people are saying about the meeting and share your experiences via social media. Follow @ACC_2014 on Twitter to receive instant updates on late-breakers, hot sessions, and more and join the discussion by using the hashtag #ACC14. Be sure to take your photo in front of the ACC logo sculpture in the Grand Lobby and tweet the photo using the hashtag #ACC14 for a chance to appear in the next issue of Cardiology magazine. “Like” the ACC’s Facebook page to check out highlights from the meeting including photos and top news. Visit the ACC in Touch Blog to get the inside scoop from ACC’s leaders. Tune into the ACC’s YouTube channel to get video coverage of the meeting straight from the experts. Learn more about staying connected during ACC.14 at accscientificsession.org/SocialNetworking.
 

New on the ACC in Touch Blog

Check out the newly revamped ACC in Touch Blog at blog.cardiosource.org for multiple posts each week on hot topics. Here are some of the hottest recent posts:
  • A March 18 post by BOG Chair David May, MD, PhD, FACC touches on two studies that both concerned the effect of the ratio of dietary protein to carbohydrate on health and longevity. Both received plenty of press – but little scientific dialog. 
  • Rachel Lampert of ACC’s Sports and Exercise Cardiology section leadership council shares interesting, not-to-miss sessions at ACC.14 in a March 7 post.
  • BOG Chair David May, MD, PhD, FACC talks Championing Care and education in a March 6 blog post.

This is just a sampling of what is happening on the blog. There are many more posts available and the blog will be updated regularly throughout ACC.14 with the hottest news and most interesting insights from ACC leaderscheck them out here and be sure to comment.

February 2014

ACC News You Can Use

February 2014

ACC President Says Being Heart Healthy is a ‘Lifestyle’

ACC President John Gordon Harold, MD, MACC, discusses why men and women of all backgrounds are at risk for heart disease and stresses the importance of an active lifestyle in a foreward in USA Today as part of a cardiovascular wellness campaign. "Heart health should be practiced by everyone 365 days a year," says Harold. "It is more than a visit to the doctor or a daily pill — it is a lifestyle.” Read more here.

 
JACC President’s Page (March): Back to the Future

The latest President’s Page in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology examines the strides the College has made in developing and implementing a digital strategy over the past year. ACC President John Gordon Harold, MD, MACC, discusses how recent accomplishments meet the primary objectives of the digital strategy: 1) improving how we communicate; 2) encouraging patient education; and 3) enhancing the ability to obtain continuing education at the point of care. He describes efforts currently underway to transform CardioSource.org, enhanced mobile application offerings, the increasing effectiveness and reach of the College’s social media efforts, improvements to CardioSmart.org and exciting additions to the College's Lifelong Learning Portfolio. Read more about these valuable advances in technology and the next big phase for the College – implementing a new, 5-year strategic plan. 

 
JACC President’s Page (February): A Lesson in Partnerships, Member Values, and Patient Education

In a recent President's Page in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, ACC President John Gordon Harold, MD, MACC, discusses how the ACC is working with other societies, federal agencies, international health groups and patient organizations on a number of fronts to highlight the importance of prevention and the need for public health policies and programs at the state, national and global levels. Harold also highlights how the College continues to fight for policies at both the state and national level that improve patient access to cost-effective, evidence-based cardiovascular care. Read about these efforts and more.
 

CardioSmart at Upcoming Chapter Meetings

Keep your eyes peeled for representatives from ACC’s CardioSmart patient initiative at your upcoming Chapter meetings. CardioSmart has many new patient-friendly tools and resources plus an updated CardioSmart.org website available that can help ACC members help patients become more educated and heart healthy. Learn more here.

Top Science and Quality News: 

ASCVD Risk Estimator Now Available

The ACC and the AHA recently released the ASCVD Risk Estimator, a mobile app to help health care providers and patients estimate 10-year and lifetime risks for atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) using the Pooled Cohort Equations and lifetime risk prediction tools. This app was designed as a companion tool to the 2013 ACC/AHA Guideline on the Assessment of Cardiovascular Risk and the 2013 ACC/AHA Guideline on the Treatment of Blood Cholesterol to Reduce Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Risk in Adults. The ASCVD Risk Estimator provides easy access to recommendations specific to calculated risk estimates. Additionally, the app includes readily accessible guideline reference information for both providers and patients related to therapy, monitoring and lifestyle. To download the app on iTunes (iPhone, iPad), click here. To download the app on Google Play (Galaxy, Nexus, other Android devices), click here. A desktop version of the tool is also available here. To explore other ACC apps that can help you optimize patient care, visit CardioSource.org/Apps.

 
ACC Celebrates Launch of Patient Navigator Program

The ACC has welcomed 15 hospitals into the Patient Navigator Program, an initiative that aims to reduce avoidable hospital readmissions by providing personalized support to patients diagnosed with Acute Coronary Syndrome, heart attack, and heart failure. ACC leaders and representatives from AstraZeneca, the founding sponsor of the program, have attended launch events at hospitals across the country in recent months. The most recent hospital launches include Vanderbilt Heart and Vascular Institute, Providence St. Vincent Medical Center, Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, Christiana Care Health System and Saint Mary's Hospital.  Visit CardioSource.org for more information about the ACC Patient Navigator Program.

Top Advocacy and Health Policy News:

Virginia Passes CCHD Screening Legislation  

On Feb. 20, Virginia became the latest state to pass critical congenital heart defect (CCHD) screening legislation when Governor Terry McAuliffe signed HB 387 into law. The bill requires all hospitals in Virginia that have a newborn nursery to perform a CCHD screening test on every newborn in its care when the child is at least 24 hours old but no more than 48 hours old. The bill also directs the Board of Health to convene a workgroup of all stakeholders, including the Virginia Chapter of the ACC, to provide information and recommendations for the development of regulations to implement the act within 280 days of enactment. This news was a huge win for CHD advocates who gathered in Washington, DC, just days after the legislation passed to educate members of Congress about CHD as part of Congenital Heart Advocacy Day 2014. Read more on the ACC in Touch Blog.

 
ACCPAC Invites Chapters to Participate in March Madness

ACC Political Action Committee (PAC) has created a March Madness campaign to coincide with the widely popular March Madness college basketball tournament. ACCPAC will donate a $1,000 Legislative Conference scholarship to the chapter that wins its “division.” Check out the rules of the competition. Please spread the word about this initiative and get your chapter engaged! Contributions can be made at www.ACCPACWeb.org. The winner of each division will be announced on March 30 at the BOG/FIT/ECP reception during ACC.14. The reception will take place at City Tap House, 901 I St. NW, from 6 – 8 p.m.

 
SGR Battle Continues, Contact Congress

After 11 years since the first sustainable growth rate (SGR) patch was passed into law, the medical community continues to battle to permanently repeal the flawed formula and replace it with a new Medicare payment system that rewards high quality, evidence-based care. With the House and Senate recently advancing a bill that would eliminate the SGR, a permanent solution is closer than ever. However, passage of the legislation is not a done deal and another temporary patch is still a possibility. Contact your members of Congress and urge them to complete work on permanent SGR repeal.

 
Medicare Cardiac Rehab Coverage Expansion

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently expanded coverage of cardiac rehabilitation services to chronic heart failure patients. The decision memo finalized changes to the national coverage determination (NCD) for cardiac rehabilitation. Specifically, this includes "beneficiaries with stable, chronic heart failure defined as patients with left ventricular ejection fraction of 35 percent or less and New York Heart Association (NYHA) class II to IV symptoms despite being on optimal heart failure therapy for at least six weeks." The ACC worked with the American Heart Association (AHA), American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation and Heart Failure Society of America last year to request this expansion. The change takes place immediately. CMS will publish additional guidance in the coming months.

 
CMS Issues Guidance for New Pacemaker Coverage

Directions for coding and documenting the implantation of permanent cardiac pacemakers under the NCD that was updated last year are now available from CMS. The article highlights the covered indications (documented non-reversible symptomatic bradycardia due to sinus node dysfunction, second degree atrioventricular block, and/or third degree atrioventricular block), notes that Medicare Administrative Contractors will determine coverage for any other indications not specifically addressed in the NCD, and that use of the KX modifier will be used to attest that documentation is on file verifying the patient has non-reversible symptomatic bradycardia. View the complete article for other key billing notes.

 
ICD-10 Update

CMS recently announced that it will conduct end-to-end ICD-10 testing for select providers. This news comes after the AMA urged CMS to "reconsider the mandated adoption of the new code set" as a result of new cost estimates for physician implementation of the new ICD-10 code set that far exceed previous estimates. Find out what you need to know about the ICD-10 transition on CardioSource.org.

 
New Statement on CV Imaging Examines Efficiency of Quality, Patient Outcomes and Costs

A new health policy statement on the use of noninvasive cardiovascular imaging, released by the ACC and endorsed by 14 other medical societies, discusses the current understanding about the patterns and drivers of imaging use, along with patient safety and test quality. It also notes that a more patient-centric approach to guiding appropriate use is needed versus payer-driven reimbursement reductions and prior authorization requirements. The statement identifies the role physician groups play in promoting appropriate imaging use.  For example, the ACC’s Imaging in FOCUS initiative pairs local chapters with health plans to reduce geographic variation in imaging use and lower the rate of “rarely appropriate” tests.  Get full coverage on CardioSource.org.

 
Health IT Reaches Milestone

The five year anniversary of the enactment of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act and the creation of the Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program was in February 2014. The HITECH Act and EHR Incentive Program propelled the adoption and "meaningful use" of health information technology. Stage 2 of the EHR Incentive Program has launched, and eligible professionals (EPs) who began participating before 2013 should now be moving onto stage 2. Recently, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced that the deadline for EPs to register and attest to demonstrating "meaningful use" for the 2013 EHR Incentive Program in order to quality for an incentive payment for 2013 participation and avoid a 2015 payment adjustment has been delayed from Feb. 28 to March 31. Review this participation guide for more details and take advantage of these tools to help you and your practice implement EHRs.

 
ACC and AHA Teaming Up Against Trans Fats

The ACC and the American Heart Association (AHA) expressed support of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) tentative determination that partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs) no longer be considered generally recognized as safe (GRAS) for any use in food. A letter to the FDA underscored the significant health risks associated with consumption of PHOs, or industrially-produced trans fat, including an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. The ACC and AHA urged the FDA to finalize its determination, revoke the GRAS status, and require food manufacturers to remove PHOs from their products as quickly and efficiently as possible. "Taking industrially-produced trans fat out of foods will help Americans reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease and avoid other negative health effects," the organizations stressed. "AHA and ACC stand ready to support the FDA in its work to eliminate this unsafe ingredient from our food supply." Read the full comments here . 

Top Education News:

Everything You Need to Know About ABIM’s MOC Changes
In response to new and significant changes to the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) Maintenance of Certification (MOC) requirements, the ACC’s Education Quality Review Board (EQRB) released a special report in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC) outlining the changes and EQRB efforts to help ACC members both understand and meet the new requirements. The new MOC requirements, which became effective on Jan. 1, apply to all certified physicians and require specific proactive steps on the part of physicians between now and the end of March, as well as over the next two years. Also, be sure to take a look at JACC commentary by Steven Lloyd, MD, PhD, FACC and ACC President-Elect, Patrick O’Gara, MD, FACC which illustrates ACC’s promise and plan on mastering MOC changes. For more MOC resources from the ACC, visit these:
 
 

Webinars, Events, Deadlines and More: Mark Your Calendar

NCDR.14 to Feature Educational Sessions for Physicians and Administrators

The NCDR’s Annual Conference, taking place immediately prior to ACC.14 on March 27 – 28, will offer CME and CE credit for physicians and hospital administrators looking for ways to leverage their registry participation. Topics will include understanding and using NCDR data for quality improvement, payers and maintenance of certification credit; leveraging health information technology to enhance NCDR data quality and public reporting; and building an effective cardiovascular quality team. Visit NCDR.com to learn more and register.


Special Session at ACC.14 for Military/Public Health Members

Are you a United States Department of Defense, Veterans Affairs or Public Health Service member? Attend a special breakout session just for you hosted by the ACC Board of Governors at ACC.14 on March 30 from 12 – 2 p.m. Topics will include The HAIMS Project, Million Hearts initiative, and a panel discussion covering the different sections of federal cardiology from administration to research.  The meeting will include lunch and will be held at the Renaissance Downtown Washington, D.C. hotel in room West A. RSVP here or contact Ashton Futral with questions. 

Social Media:

New on the ACC in Touch Blog
Check out the newly revamped ACC in Touch Blog at blog.cardiosource.org for multiple posts each week on hot topics. Here are some of the hottest recent posts:
  • A Feb. 25 blog post by Board of Governors Chair David May, MD, PhD, MACC touches on “Professionalism in the World of Cardiology and the Greater Good.”
  • The ACC Patient Navigator Program was recently launched and received attention in a Feb. 20 blog post.
  • ACC Past President and now member of the College’s Sports and Exercise Cardiology section leadership council Alfred A. Bove, MD, PhD, MACC talks about the intersections of cardiology and undersea medicine in a Feb. 19 post. 
  • February was American Heart Month and a Feb. 7 post by ACC President John Gordon Harold, MD, MACC touches on cardiovascular disease and prevention, and shares a photo of ACC staff decked out in red for Wear Red Day.
 
This is just a sampling of what is happening on the blog. There are many more posts available – check them out here and be sure to comment.


 
Stay In Touch with the ACC via Social Media
Stay in touch with the ACC and the latest clinical and advocacy news through ACCinTouch.  ACCinTouch connects ACC members and those interested in cardiovascular news through popular social networking channels like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. Look for the ACCinTouch logo for the official ACC presence on these social media channels in order to connect with ACC members and those interested in cardiology. In addition to the ACC's main Twitter profile @ACCinTouch, the College also has profiles dedicated to news from the Advocacy team @Cardiology. CardioSmart, the ACC's patient education and support program, also has patient-centered cardiovascular news available through Facebook, Twitter @CardioSmart, and YouTube. For more information about ACC’s social media channels, visit CardioSource.org/ACCinTouch.

January 2014

ACC News You Can USe

January 2014

New Slate of Recommended ACC Officers and Trustees Announced

The ACC's Board of Trustees (BOT) have recommended the Fellows to be the 2014-2015 officers and trustees of the College for a five-year term (2014-2019), with the exception of a Public Member Trustee who holds the position for one year with the possibility of being renewed for up to four additional years. Election of the 2014-2015 ACC Officers and BOT will occur during ACC.14 in Washington, DC. Learn more about each of the recommended future ACC leaders here.

 
CardioSmart Contest Winner

David Wang, a heart attack survivor from Boston, was named the winner of the 2nd Annual “I am CardioSmart” contest which looks to find people living well with heart disease. Their stories are highlighted to help motivate and inspire other patients. David racked up more than 300 votes and 43 shares on CardioSmart's Facebook page to claim the top prize. He won a trip for two to Washington, DC, and will be honored during a CardioSmart workshop and reception at ACC.14.  Stay tuned during the month of February when the four other heart disease condition winners from the “I am CardioSmart” contest will be announced to bring awareness to heart disease during Heart Month. Learn more at CardioSmart.org.
 

Top Science and Quality News: 

Introducing ACC’s Quality Improvement for Institutions Program
The ACC recently launched its innovative new Quality Improvement for Institutions program, bringing together under one umbrella all of ACC’s proven hospital quality improvement offerings. This program unites the National Cardiovascular Data Registry (NCDR®) and established quality initiatives including Hospital to Home (H2H) and the Door to Balloon (D2B) Alliance, and new initiatives such as Surviving MI. Quality Improvement for Institutions allows hospitals and their care teams to access a comprehensive suite of cardiovascular registries and quality improvement tools that support quality clinical care, deliver improved patient outcomes, and offer national recognition for participating in ACC quality initiatives. Find out if your hospital is participating and activate your account at cvquality.acc.org.

SCVD Risk Estimator App Launch Approaching
The ASCVD Risk Estimator is a mobile app developed by the ACC and the American Heart Association to help health care providers and patients estimate 10-year and lifetime risks for atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD). The app is intended as a companion tool to the 2013 ACC/AHA Guideline on the Assessment of Cardiovascular Risk and the 2013 ACC/AHA Guideline on the Treatment of Blood Cholesterol to Reduce Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Risk in Adults. In addition to being a calculator, the app should help providers and patients access information readily (at their fingertips) in order to determine A) whether statin therapy is appropriate, B) what intensity of statin therapy is needed, C) how to address safety concerns of statin therapy, and D) what lifestyle changes should be made. Stay tuned to CardioSource.org/mobileresources for more information. More information on the prevention guidelines is also available at CardioSource.org/Prevention.

Top Advocacy and Health Policy News:

ACC Weighs in on 2014 Physician Fee Schedule
The ACC submitted comments to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) regarding aspects of the 2014 physician fee schedule final rule. Critiques were made of changes CMS made to work and practice expense submissions for several services. The comments recommend restoration of work values for transcatheter aortic valve replacement, patent ductus arteriosus closure, and certain intravascular stent services, as well as practice expense values for selective catheter placement, intravascular stents, and extracranial duplex ultrasound studies. Any changes to these inputs will be reflected in the 2015 final rule this November. Comments were also provided supporting ongoing proposals to pay for non-face-to-face chronic care management services and opposing further efforts to cap practice expense for services provided in the nonfacility setting at facility rates. More information on these proposals is expected in the proposed rule this July.

ACC Congratulates New National Coordinator for Health IT
The College issued a letter congratulating Karen DeSalvo, MD, on her appointment as National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (IT). The College has worked closely with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT over the last several years to help ensure patients receive the highest quality of care. "The ACC strongly supports continued nationwide adoption of health IT and eagerly awaits the anticipated improvements in patient care," said ACC President John Gordon Harold, MD, MACC, in the letter. DeSalvo replaces former National Coordinator Farzad Mostashari, MD.
 
CCHIT Halts EHR Certification and Testing
The Certification Commission for Health Information Technology (CCHIT) will no longer test and certify electronic health record (EHR) systems. CCHIT is a key player in the industry, having tested and certified nearly 50 percent of EHR systems on the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT’s Certified Health IT Product list. There are currently five other accredited testing labs and three other authorized certification bodies doing the same work as CCHIT.

ACC Updates Calculations for Commonly Provided Services
The budget bill signed by President Obama on Dec. 27, 2013 averted a 24-percent cut to Medicare physician fees for three months. The bill increases payment for Medicare physician services by 0.5 percent from 2013. The ACC has updated its calculations for commonly provided services to assist members.
 
Health Care Expenditures Slow-Growth Trend Continues
Overall national health expenditures grew at an annual rate of 3.7 percent in 2012, marking the fourth consecutive year of low growth, according to a report released by the CMS Office of the Actuary. Health spending as a share of gross domestic product fell slightly from 17.3 percent in 2011 to 17.2 percent in 2012. The report found that the continued low growth in 2012 was driven by slower growth in prescription drug, nursing home, private health insurance, and Medicare expenditures. The report also found that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) contributed to the slow growth for the Medicare program in 2012, but had a limited impact on overall spending as reforms were still being implemented in 2012. Read the full report.
 
National Clinical Trial (NCT) Number Hardship Update
Under the new NCT requirement, providers must report a clinical trial number as of Jan. 1 on claims for items and services provided in clinical trials that are qualified for coverage as specified in the "Medicare National Coverage Determination (NCD) Manual," Section 310.1. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, however, has acknowledged that compliance with the new NCT requirement could be problematic for some, and will now allow eligible providers to report a generic 8-digit code to comply with the requirement through Dec. 31, 2014. For those participating in trials or coverage-mandated registries like the STS/ACC TVT Registry and the ACC’s ICD Registry relevant clinical trial numbers can be found at clinicaltrials.gov. CED ICD procedures in the ICD Registry will use newly obtained clinicaltrials.gov identifier NCT01999140. CED TAVR procedures in the STS/ACC TVT Registry will use clinicaltrials.gov identifier NCD01737528.
 
Safe Harbor and Physician Self-Referral Law Changes
CMS has released the final rule extending the exception to the physician self-referral (Stark) law that allows physician practices to receive donations related to electronic health records (EHRs). In addition, the Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services (OIG) has also released the related safe harbor to the antikickback statute. Both rules, which were published in late December 2013, extend the exception and safe harbor through 2021 to correspond with the end of the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program. Read more about the changes.
 
Navigating the Health Insurance Marketplace
With the launch of Health Exchanges in the New Year, it is important for practices to verify patient insurance coverage at their first visit or as soon as possible. In states with their own health exchanges, office staff should contact the state directly using the state website on healthcare.gov. In states where the Federal government is running the marketplace, office staff should call the plan’s customer service line. A list of all plans and customer service numbers is available here. Please consult CMS’s fact sheet for navigating the QHP databank. You can also contact the Marketplace call center for all queries at 1-800-318-2596. The ACC encourages practices to remind uninsured patients that they can apply for coverage and may be eligible for subsidies through the Marketplace until March 31, 2014. Also, advise them to save their receipts and other paperwork for their insurers.


FDA Advisory Panel Votes Against Approving Rivaroxaban for Patients With ACS

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Cardiovascular and Renal Drugs Advisory Committee has voted unanimously against approving rivaroxaban (XARELTO®) for patients with acute coronary syndromes due to a lack of sufficient evidence. The same committee voted against the drug’s expanded use in 2012. While the FDA is not required to adhere to the advisory panel’s recommendation, it often does. For more on this, visit CardioSource.org.

Top Education News:

Report Outlines ACC’s Strategy for Helping Members Meet New MOC Changes
In response to new and significant changes to the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) Maintenance of Certification (MOC) requirements, the ACC’s Education Quality Review Board (EQRB) released a special report in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology outlining the changes and EQRB efforts to help ACC members both understand and meet the new requirements. The new MOC requirements, which became effective on Jan. 1, apply to all certified physicians and require specific proactive steps on the part of physicians between now and the end of March, as well as over the next two years. For more MOC resources, visit these:

Webinars, Events, Deadlines and More: Mark Your Calendar

NCDR.14 to Feature Educational Sessions for Physicians and Administrators
The NCDR’s Annual Conference, taking place immediately prior to ACC.14 on March 27 – 28, will offer CME and CE credit for physicians and hospital administrators looking for ways to leverage their registry participation. Topics will include understanding and using NCDR data for quality improvement, payers and maintenance of certification credit; leveraging health information technology to enhance NCDR data quality and public reporting; and building an effective cardiovascular quality team. Visit NCDR.com to learn more and register.
 
Webinar on Advancing Care Models for Children with Medical Complexity
Join the ACC’s Adult Congenital and Pediatric Cardiology Section and the Children’s Hospital Association for a webinar on Tuesday, Feb. 11 from 6 – 7 p.m. (ET). The Children’s Hospital Association is proposing a Medicaid reform initiative to enhance continuity of care, improve regional access to care across state lines for children with medical complexity and create a national Medicaid claims database that would link across states and settings of care to inform best practices and support quality improvement activities. The presenters will review the current Medicaid policy environment and its implications for pediatric congenital heart disease (CHD) patients, along with the Children’s Hospital’s Association Medicaid proposal to improve care for children with medical complexity. Register here.
 
Book Your Room for ACC.14 and Make Time for ACC Central
ACC.14 hotel rooms are going fast during this busy and exciting time of year in Washington, DC! Register before Feb. 19 to save.  Learn more here. While you’re at ACC.14, be sure to make time to stop by ACC Central at booth 838 to learn more about ACC programs and products from members of the College’s staff.
 
Special Session at ACC.14 for Military/Public Health Members
Are you a United States Department of Defense, Veterans Affairs or Public Health member? Attend a special breakout session just for you hosted by the ACC Board of Governors at ACC.14 on March 30 from 12 – 2 p.m. Topics will include The HAIMS Project, Million Hearts initiative, and a panel discussion concerning the pros and cons of team based care in both the public and private sectors.  The meeting will include lunch and will be held at the Renaissance Downtown Washington, D.C. hotel in room West A. RSVP here or contact Ashton Futral with questions.

Social Media:

New on the ACC in Touch Blog
Check out the newly revamped ACC in Touch Blog at blog.cardiosource.org for multiple posts each week on hot topics. Here are some of the hottest recent posts:

This is just a sampling of what is happening on the blog. There are many more posts available – check them out here and be sure to comment.
 
Stay In Touch with the ACC via Social Media
Stay in touch with the ACC and the latest clinical and advocacy news through ACCinTouch.  ACCinTouch connects ACC members and those interested in cardiovascular news through popular social networking channels like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. Look for the ACCinTouch logo for the official ACC presence on these social media channels in order to connect with ACC members and those interested in cardiology. In addition to the ACC's main Twitter profile @ACCinTouch, the College also has profiles dedicated to news from the Advocacy team @Cardiology. CardioSmart, the ACC's patient education and support program, also has patient-centered cardiovascular news available through Facebook, Twitter @CardioSmart, and YouTube. For more information about ACC’s social media channels, visit CardioSource.org/ACCinTouch.

 

Cardiologist for a Day Visit – Patrick J. Withrow, M.D., F.A.C.C., F.S.C.A.I.

U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Kentucky, First District) participated recently in the “Cardiologist for a Day” program at Western Baptist Hospital in Paducah, Ky., with cardiologists from The Heart Group.

On a tour of the Baptist Heart Center, he observed nuclear and echocardiography, as well as a cardiac catheterization to determine a re-vascularization strategy.

The cardiologists also discussed current challenges in their practice, specifically dwindling resources for adequate patient care related to the Gonzales bill and the Sustainable Growth Rate.

His hosts included cardiologists Patrick Withrow, M.D., Western Baptist’s chief medical officer and vice president; James Gwinn, M.D., and Kenneth Ford., M.D., from The Heart Group; as well as hospital president and CEO Larry Barton. The Heart Group’s Bradley McElroy, M.D., performed the catheterization.

Rep. Whitfield was attentive and engaged during his visit.

 

Cardiologist for a Day Visit – Jesse Adams III M.D., F.A.C.C.

Through the ACC's "Cardiologist for a Day" program I recently had the opportunity to visit again with Rep. John Yarmuth, who represents the 3rd Congressional district of Kentucky (including Louisville).  We started out by talking briefly about the current political climate, then we explored in great detail the dramatic changes in cardiology practice patterns that are occurring in Louisville.

By the end of the 1st quarter of next year, it appears highly likely that a majority of cardiologists in Louisville will be employed either by hospitals or by an academic institution, a significant alteration from the predominantly private practice model that has been in existence up until now.  We reviewed the data from the most recent ACC census, demonstrating that what we were seeing locally was mirrored across the Commonwealth and indeed across the nation, and talked about the "perfect storm" of economic stressors imposed on private practice physicians, with many of these stressors of governmental or insurance origin.

I reviewed the number of staff that were no longer with our group (18 providers) due to downsizing.  We expanded to talking about staff cuts that are occurring in private practice due to the above economic problems, and also occurring in groups that are acquired due to elimination of positions.  We then talked about the potential catastrophic cuts via the SGR if no congressional action is taken, and asked him to support the Gonzales bill.  Finally, we spent some time talking about the insidious growth of Radiology Benefit Managers, particularly the recent addition by Anthem BC/BS of pre-certification of echocardiographic procedures, and the increased costs and impaired efficiency this causes, and how this ends up costing our patients- both in terms of time and money.