Kentucky Chapter
American College of Cardiology
6737 W. Washington St.
Suite 1300
Milwaukee, WI 53214

Kentucky ACC Logo

News

Newsletters

 

ACC Media Center

 

Submit Member news to: info@kentuckyacc.org

ACC News You Can Use

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
 

Back to Top

February 2014

ACC News You Can Use

February 2014

Back to ACC News

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.

Back to Top

Back to ACC News

/>
January 2014

ACC News You Can USe

January 2014

Back to ACC News

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.

Back to Top

Back to ACC News

/>
December 2013
ACC News You Can Use for December 2013
Attached you will find the latest edition of ACC News You Can Use. You can incorporate these short news pieces into your Chapter newsletters, emails and/or websites. These news items provide updates on key ACC initiatives, research or legislative efforts; new or upcoming educational programs, webinars or products; and hot topic ACC in Touch Blog or CardioSource Community discussions. As always, ACC corporate communications staff are at your service to assist in gathering additional information on these topics or more news items. Please contact Autumn Niggles with any questions, comments or suggestions. 
 
NOTE: The ACC will be closed from Dec. 23 to Jan. 1, 2014 and will reopen on Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014.
 

Shor Named New BOG Chair-Elect
Robert Shor MD, FACC has been selected as the new ACC Board of Governors (BOG) Chair-Elect. “Selected from robust slate of outstanding nominees, Bob brings a breadth of knowledge and experience to the position that will serve the Chapters and Governors as well as the more general ACC family well,” said ACC BOG Chair David May, MD, PhD, FACC, following the announcement.
 
Shor is in private practice in Northern Virginia with Virginia Heart and while trained as an invasive cardiologist, Shor now spends most of his time on preventative cardiology and quality measures. He has held several positions in the ACC Virginia Chapter and is the current Governor of the Chapter. In addition, he has been a member of the NCQA Clinical Programs Committee for several years, has been devoted to advocacy for many years and participated in multiple clinical trials. He is interested in enhancing and expanding member value, pursuing excellence through quality metrics and cost analysis and optimizing communication.
 
Top Science News:
 
ACC Releases New Multimodality Imaging AUC for Treatment of SIHD Patients
New “Multimodality Imaging Appropriate Use Criteria (AUC) for the Detection and Risk Assessment of Stable Ischemic Heart Disease (SIHD)” for the first time integrates the ratings of a variety of imaging procedures ranging from exercise ECG to the diagnostic coronary angiogram. The new AUC, released by the ACC and nine other key cardiovascular specialty societies, update previous criteria for radionuclide imaging, stress echocardiography, calcium scoring, coronary computed tomography angiography, stress cardiac magnetic resonance and invasive coronary angiography. The criteria address 80 different clinical scenarios for treating SIHD patients using various imaging modalities and rates these scenarios as appropriate, may be appropriate and rarely appropriate. Get the details on the new criteria.

New Recommendations for Hypertension Management Released
New recommendations on hypertension management were published online in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) this morning. The recommendations, written by panel members appointed to the Eighth Joint National Committee, specifically focus on when medication should be started in patients, the best choices for medications to begin treatment; and communicating achievable blood pressure goals to patients. Highlights from the report, which includes nine recommendations and an accompanying algorithm, can be found on CardioSource.org.
 
First Hospitals Join ACC’s Patient Navigator Program
With increased penalties in effect for hospitals with excessive readmissions for heart attack and heart failure, the ACC kicked off the Patient Navigator Program earlier this year. The program is intended to support a team of caregivers at selected hospitals to help patients overcome challenges during their hospital stay and in the weeks following discharge when they are at most risk for readmission. AstraZeneca is the founding sponsor of the ACC Patient Navigator Program. The first 11 participating hospitals, which were chosen because of their commitment to quality demonstrated by participation in the National Cardiovascular Data Registry and Hospital to Home initiative, include:
 
  • Advocate Sherman Hospital, Elgin, IL
  • Christiana Care Health Services, Wilmington, DE.
  • Einstein Medical Center Philadelphia, PA
  • Indiana University Health Methodist Hospital, IN
  • MedStar Washington Hospital Center, Washington, DC
  • Providence St. Vincent Medical Center, Portland, OR
  • Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, CA
  • St. Mary’s Hospital, Waterbury, CT
  • Trident Health, Charleston, SC
  • Vanderbilt Heart and Vascular Institute, Nashville, TN
  • WakeMed Health and Hospital, Raleigh, NC
 
New Societal Overview of Transcatheter Therapies for Mitral Regurgitation Released
A new societal overview of transcatheter therapies for mitral regurgitation (MR) was released in late November by the ACC, the American Association for Thoracic Surgery (AATS), the Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS), and the Society of Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions (SCAI) Foundation. The societal overview, which is the first of what is expected to be several documents on this topic, contains recommendations for appropriate integration. Among the highlights:
 
  • Further research involving a wider spectrum of patients and devices.
  • Continued development of regional heart valve referral centers of excellence that consist of a dedicated, multidisciplinary heart team and dedicated care pathways.
  • Required participation of all centers in the ongoing TVT Registry, with limitation of new devices and reimbursement for their application to those centers that meet national criteria.
  • Establishment of operator training and credentialing criteria for mitral valve procedures.
  • Creation of guidelines, performance measures and appropriate use criteria for transcatheter MR interventions. 
Read more details here.
 
Top Advocacy and Health Policy News:
 
CMS Releases Final 2014 Physician Fee Schedule
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has released the final 2014 Physician Fee Schedule. Although the release of the rule was delayed due to the government shutdown, the provisions of the rule will be implemented starting Jan. 1, 2014. Overall, the rule reflects a payment reduction of 24.1 percent as mandated by the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula. Additionally, CMS estimates an overall 1 percent increase in payments to cardiologists as a result of the implementation of this rule, but the effect will be very different on practices depending on their ownership and mix of services. In the way of quality provisions, physicians who do not participate in the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) in 2014 will receive a 2 percent penalty in 2016. In addition, CMS has expanded the Value-Based Modifier program so that it affects all groups with ten or more billing providers (MD/DO, PA, NP). This pay-for-performance program is built up on the basis of the PQRS program and not participating in PQRS will result in even more penalties beyond the 2 percent. Get the details on the 2014 Fee Schedule. CMS has also released the 2014 Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System (HOPPS). Take a closer look at the HOPPS rule and what it means for cardiology.
 
To help you navigate the 2014 Physician Fee Schedule, ACC has developed several resources tailored specifically to cardiovascular professionals:
Congressional Committees Unanimously Vote to Repeal SGR
SGR Cuts Delayed as Part of Congress’ Budget Plan
On Dec. 12, the House Ways and Means Committee and Senate Finance Committee both voted unanimously (39-0 and by voice vote respectively) to repeal the flawed Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula and reform physician payment. This development came just a day after the ACC sent a letter to the Committees thanking them for working to repeal the SGR and urging them to finalize legislation. While a permanent fix will not happen in 2013, the foundation for repealing the formula in 2014 has been laid. Just before going on recess, the House and Senate passed a budget agreement that delays for three months the 24 percent SGR cut scheduled for Jan. 1, 2014 and replaces it with a 0.5 percent payment update. This will give the House and Senate time in early 2014 to reconcile their differences for the bill and tackle the challenging task of finding offsets. Stay tuned to CardioSource.org for developments.
 
Important Billing Update
Effective Jan. 1, 2014, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is mandating submission of a clinical trial number to report claims for items and services in clinical trials, clinical studies, or registries. Submission of this number was previously voluntary. Affected items and services include those provided under coverage with evidence development (CED), the Medicare Clinical Trial Policy, or a CMS-approved investigational device exemption study. Get the details. Those who participate in trials or coverage-mandated registries (TVT, ICD) can locate relevant clinical trial numbers at clinicaltrials.gov. CED TAVR procedures in the STS/ACC TVT Registry™ will use clinicaltrials.gov identifier NCT01737528. An identifier is being obtained for CED ICD procedures in the ICD Registry™. You can find other trial or study identifiers at clinicaltrials.gov.
 
Top Education News:
 
ACC Awarded Highest Accreditation by ACCME
The ACC has once again been awarded Accreditation with Commendation by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME). ACCME accreditation seeks to assure both physicians and the public that continuing medical education activities sponsored by ACC meet the highest educational quality standards. Accreditation with Commendation is the highest recognition that an organization can merit and extends ACC’s status as an elite accredited provider of Continuing Medical Education for a six year term. Congratulations to the Accreditation Committee Members, led by Committee Chair Carole Warnes, MD, FACC who contributed to the eighteen month re-accreditation process.        
 
Webinars, Events, Deadlines and More: Mark Your Calendar
 
Beginning January 2014, ABIM will implement changes to their Maintenance of Certification (MOC) program.  These changes apply to all certified physicians, including those certified prior to 1990 (grandparents) and are both daunting and extensive.  In an effort to make the new MOC program easier for members, ACC is asking for your support in getting the message out to our colleagues and constituents.  Please join us either Monday, Jan. 13 at 2 p.m. EST or Wednesday, Jan. 29 at 7 p.m. EST for a fast-paced educational webinar which will offer you the tools and resources to effectively educate colleagues and constituents on MOC. 
 
ACC.14 Hotel Rooms Going Fast
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.
 
Register for Snowmass 2014
Registration is closing soon for Snowmass 2014, held Jan. 11 – 15, 2014.  Get cutting-edge interventions and therapies for cardiovascular disease. Learn more here.
 
Women’s Heart Health Course in Washington, DC
Learn the best treatment for your female patients in the ongoing battle against heart disease. Click here for more information on the Jan. 24 and 25, 2014 event!
 
CV Summit Heads to Vegas in January
The Cardiovascular Summit: Solutions for Thriving in a Time of Change course will be held Jan. 16 – 18, 2014 at the Aria Casino and Resort Hotel in Las Vegas, NV.  Staff and member volunteers developed finance, data, leadership and the service line content for the meeting. Registration and lodging information is available here. Contact Jackie Massey with questions.

 
New on CardioSource.org
 
ACC Launches New Community on Dyslipidemia.
The ACC has launched its newest community focused on dyslipidemia. The Dyslipidemia CardioSource Clinical Community led by Roger S. Blumenthal, MD, FACC, and Seth S. Martin, MD, is designed provide new information on the science of lipid management, and drive awareness of the importance of lipid control. Additionally, the site is designed to educate clinicians on important topics such as atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD), which is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality. While much progress has been made in this disease state, there remains considerable risk of ASCVD. Learn more at LDL.CardioSource.org. Also check out a video introducing the new community.
 
Help Us Get to 5,000 Downloads on the CardioSmart Explorer App!
Looking for an easy way to effectively review and discuss common heart problems and treatment options with your patients? The CardioSmart Explorer app uses high resolution cardiac graphics and animations and is designed to enhance the clinician/patient relationship at the point of care. ACC members can download it for free here!

 
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:
 
  • Clarifying the Basis of the New Prevention Guidelines: In a Dec. 6 post, ACC President John Gordon Harold, MD, MACC discusses the new prevention guidelines and outlines ACC’s and AHA’s firm stance behind them.
  • Practice Changing Trials from the Last Decade: CardioSource Science and Quality editors come together to list some of the most influential clinical trials from ACC Scientific Sessions dating back to 2001 in a Dec. 5 post.
  • Why Medicine is Messy: Board of Governors Chair David May, MD, PhD, FACC reflects on appropriate use criteria and the complicated process of medical decision making in a Nov. 21 post. " See what else he had to say on the Blog.  
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.
/>
October 2013
ACC News You Can Use for October 2013
Below you will find the latest edition of ACC News You Can Use. You can incorporate these short news pieces into your Chapter newsletters, emails and/or websites. These news items provide updates on key ACC initiatives, research or legislative efforts; new or upcoming educational programs, webinars or products; and hot topic ACC in Touch Blog or CardioSource Community discussions. As always, ACC corporate communications staff are at your service to assist in gathering additional information on these topics or more news items. Please contact Autumn Niggles with any questions, comments or suggestions.

ACC’s 2013 Legislative Conference Recap
Nearly 400 ACC members gathered in Washington, D.C. from Sept. 22 to 24 to tackle issues facing cardiology as part of ACC's 2013 Legislative Conference. During more than 300 meetings with lawmakers, members shared how decisions made on Capitol Hill impact medical professionals nationwide. "Having the entire cardiac care team unite to tackle the looming health care challenges is more important than ever," wrote ACC President John Gordon Harold, MD, MACC, on the ACC in Touch Blog. Read more about the challenges and opportunities ahead. Check out photos and other Legislative Conference highlights on CardioSource.org.


ICD-10: What You Need to Know
On Oct. 1, 2014, the ICD-10 system will replace the current ICD-9 codes. ICD-10 implementation will change the way coding is currently done, with the code-set growing from its current 14,315 diagnosis codes to more than 69,099 codes. These changes will require a significant effort to implement the new system and now is the time to start preparations in your practice. Information and resources to help you prepare are now available on CardioSource.org. Research ICD-10 codes and guidelines, review a webinar, watch videos and more.


Statement Addresses Next Steps in Global NCD Efforts
On Sept. 17, the Global Cardiovascular (CV) Disease Taskforce — representing the ACC, World Heart Federation, American Heart Association, European Heart Network, European Society of Cardiology, and other global CV Disease experts — released a statement calling for the implementation of plans to help meet the global target of reducing premature NCD mortality 25 percent by 2025. The statement challenges the global community to move beyond simply endorsing the global "25by25" target to action. According to the authors, this will require accountability by governments, and involves an approach that is inclusive of nongovernment organizations, local communities, and industry as appropriate. Get the details and view a video interview with former ACC President William Zoghbi, MD, MACC.


New NCDR Report Sheds Light on CV Trends
A new report highlighting data from the ACC's National Cardiovascular Data Registry (NCDR) provides a snapshot of the many unique ways clinical registry data can be used to assess quality of care and outcomes associated with broad populations of patients with cardiovascular disease. The report, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, features highlights from five of the ACC's hospital-based registries (ACTION Registry-GWTG; CathPCI Registry; CARE Registry; ICD Registry), as well as its practice-based PINNACLE Registry. Topics addressed include door-to-balloon times, ICD device trends, opportunities for anticoagulation and hypertension management improvements, and more. Get the details, plus watch a video with NCDR Senior Medical Officer Fred Masoudi, MD, FACC, and download an infographic highlighting key report results.


NCDR Study: Patient and Hospital Characteristics Linked to Inappropriate PCI
Non-acute percutaneous coronary interventions (PCIs) categorized as "inappropriate" using the ACC's Appropriate Use Criteria are more commonly performed in "men, patients of white race and those with private insurance," according to a study published Sept. 18 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Moving forward, the authors note that the study findings can provide important insights into specific patient and hospital characteristics where the risks of PCI may exceed the benefits. Read more on the results, plus watch a video with Deepak Bhatt, MD, FACC, one of the study’s authors.


CardioSmart and Mended Hearts Partner to Provide Community With AFib Related Educational Programs
CardioSmart and Mended Hearts are partnering with 10 hospitals across the country to do a series of 10 free live educational programs for patients living with atrial fibrillation (AFib) and their caregivers. This unique and highly successful “Living with AFib” lunch and learn program allows AFib patients and their friends and family to hear from ACC physicians and other AFib patients about signs and symptoms, treatment options and how to communicate effectively with the entire cardiac care team in an informal, relaxed setting. Participants can ask questions after the presentation and come away with not only increased awareness of AFib, but resources they can use moving forward, including more information about the AFib condition center on CardioSmart.org.


Sapien Transcatheter Heart Valve FDA Update
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved revised labeling for the Sapien Transcatheter Heart Valve, making the device available to an expanded group of patients who have inoperable aortic valve stenosis. Data from the STS/ACC TVT Registry™, created by the ACC and the Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) to monitor the safety and efficacy of transcatheter aortic valve replacement for the treatment of aortic stenosis, played a key role in the decision to expand the indication. Read more about the decision.


Health Insurance Marketplaces Launched
Enrollment for the Health Insurance Marketplaces opened Oct. 1 and will run through March 31, 2014, with coverage kicking in on Jan. 1, 2014. Physician offices and their staff should be prepared to respond to general marketplace inquiries by patients. It will be important for providers to confirm patient eligibility for coverage before the date of service. It is also important that providers take an active interest in their contracts, discuss market competitive rates with payers and understand the fine print. Providers should work with payers to fully understand the network criteria within exchanges. Navigate the new marketplaces with this guide. Watch an archived webinar on the topic here.


Claims Experience Video Series
Find out what it takes to prevail in a medical malpractice claim with a new claims experience video series from The Doctor’s Company – the nation's largest physician-owned medical malpractice insurer. Get the physician perspective on the litigation process—see how one physician coped with a claim and prevailed. This video was produced and provided by The Doctors Company—for similar videos please visit The Doctors Company YouTube channel. Also, learn more about special Doctors Company benefits for ACC members, here.


Webinars, Events, Deadlines and More: Mark Your Calendar

Be an ACC Leader!
The College is a member-driven organization, with all major activities led by concerned and engaged members like you. Apply or nominate a colleague for a committee membership to help lead the College and its activities. All College Fellows, Fellow-in-Training, Cardiac Care Associates, and Cardiovascular Administrators are encouraged to nominate and apply. Applications and nominations are due by Oct. 31. Get started.

Registration Open for ACC.14 in Washington, DC
Registration for ACC.14 on March 29 – 31, 2014 in the nation’s capital opens on is now open! Learn more here.

CV Summit Heads to Vegas in January
The Cardiovascular Summit: Solutions for Thriving in a Time of Change course will be held Jan. 16 – 18, 2014 at the Aria Casino and Resort Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. Staff and member volunteers are in the process of developing content for the meeting. Registration and lodging information will be available on CardioSource.org in the coming weeks. Contact Jackie Massey with questions.

New on the ACC in Touch Blog
Check out the newly revamped ACC in TouchBlog at blog.cardiosource.org for multiple posts each week on hot topics. Here are some of the hottest recent posts:
  • The College responds to Bloomberg article on stent procedure overuse in a Sept. 26 post by ACC President John Gordon Harold, MD, MACC. Also, hear Harold speak on appropriate use and overuse in a related video.
  • As part of the ACC’s Anticoagulation Initiative, the College held an Anticoagulation Consortium Roundtable on Saturday, Sept. 21 to bring representatives from medical specialty societies, industry and other stakeholder groups together to discuss issues in anticoagulation treatment and begin to address the gaps in care. Learn more about the Anticoagulation Initiative and read a Sept. 22 post from Richard J. Kovacs, MD, FACC, chair of the ACC Anticoagulation Initiative Work Group.
  • ACC CEO Shal Jacobovitz tackles the topic of managing change in uncertain times in a Sept. 19 post. Jacobovitz is currently leading that charge of ACC’s strategic plan development.
  • ACC Executive Vice President William J. Oetgen, MD, MBA, FACC, discusses the recent LDL: Address the Risk Think Tank held in Washington, DC, on Oct. 10. The day-long event provided representatives from medical specialty societies and other stakeholder quality groups a unique opportunity to discuss issues in lipid management and begin to address gaps in care.

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.


What’s New on CardioSource.org?

Looking for Something?
CardioSource.org has made it easier to find news stories and videos under the “News Archive” page. The updated page now contains RRS feed of ACC’s latest news, ACC video highlights, and the latest content from CardioSource World News and CardioSource Wolrd News Interventions.

New Community on the Block

ACC Launches New Community on Cardiometabolic Disease
The ACC has launched its newest community focused on cardiometabolic disease. The Cardiometabolic Disease CardioSource Clinical Community is designed to help educate clinicians on important connections between diabetes and other cardiometabolic conditions such as hypertension, dyslipidemia and cardiovascular disease. Led by Nathan Wong, PhD, FACC, and Michael Blaha, MD, MPH, the community will highlight new strategies aimed to screen for these problems, detect those at highest risk to prioritize treatment, and identify new and emerging therapies that have the potential for significant clinical benefit. Additionally, the community will help educate and empower clinicians with the information and tools they need to help reach the global target of reducing premature non-communicable disease mortality 25 percent by 2025. Learn more at Cardiometabolic.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.
September 2013
Attached you will find the latest edition of ACC News You Can Use. You can incorporate these short news pieces into your Chapter newsletters, emails and/or websites. These news items provide updates on key ACC initiatives, research or legislative efforts; new or upcoming educational programs, webinars or products; and hot topic ACC in Touch Blog or CardioSource Community discussions. As always, ACC corporate communications staff are at your service to assist in gathering additional information on these topics or more news items. Please contact Autumn Niggles with any questions, comments or suggestions. 
 
ACC News Coverage from ESC 2013
Get all the news from the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress in Amsterdam on CardioSource.org. ACC covered the hottest trials from the Aug. 31 to Sept. 4 event and was onsite to capture daily video highlights from trial authors, presenters and experts. Also, ACC President John Gordon Harold, MD, MACC penned an ESC wrap-up Sept. 4 ACC in Touch blog post.

NCDR® and Registry Innovation in New Issue of Cardiology Magazine
Learn how the ACC’s flagship registry – CathPCI Registry – has shaped the way for the ACC’s National Cardiovascular Data registry to lead overarching registry innovation in the cover story of the summer issue of ACC’s quarterly member magazine, Cardiology. A new physician-level dashboard takes the CathPCI Registry to the next level, along with the registry’s integration of outcomes reports and appropriate use criteria. Read more from the issue about how the NCDR’s now six additional registries are shaping quality care, as well as other hot topics and features of interest to cardiovascular professionals. The online issue is available at CardioSource.org/CardiologyMagazine.

D2B Times for STEMI Have Improved, In-Hospital Mortality Rates Remain Unchanged
National door-to-balloon times for patients undergoing primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) for ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction have improved and the percentage of patients meeting the guideline recommendation of 90 minutes or less has increased, but in-hospital and short-term mortality has remained unchanged, according to a study published Sept. 4 in the New England Journal of Medicine. Read more about the NCDR® study on CardioSource.org.
 
Atrial Fibrillation Awareness Month: Resources from the ACC
Atrial fibrillation (AFib), the most common arrhythmia, affects more than 2.5 million Americans and is responsible for 15-20 percent of all strokes. ACC’s Anticoagulation Initiative is a comprehensive quality effort to help facilitate a greater understanding of AFib treatments and practice patterns, particularly given an increasing number of new anticoagulant treatment options entering the marketplace. The Anticoagulation Initiative is a multidisciplinary effort that addresses gaps in knowledge in order to develop processes and tools aimed at meeting guideline-recommended standards and improving quality of anticoagulation care. To access the AnticoagEvaluator Mobile App, a clinical toolkit and clinical community, visit CardioSource.org/Anticoagulation. Patients can also explore the AFib Condition Center on CardioSmart.org for information and resources, including educational videos, a medication management app, and more. Also, check out the video motion graphic! Share the news  on social media with these suggested tweets:
 
  • The @ACCinTouch Anticoagulation Initiative is addressing gaps in knowledge & improving anticoagulation care http://ht.ly/oOxQL
  • Download the AnticoagEvaluator Mobile App to assess stroke & bleeding risk & benefits/risks of antithrombotic therapy http://ht.ly/oOyWz
  • Anticoagulation Management Clinical Community: Discuss topics related to entire class of novel oral anticoagulants http://ht.ly/oOzsY
  • AFib affects 2.5+ million Americans. Help your patients navigate their condition w/ these @CardioSmart resources: http://ht.ly/oOwnb
  • Help your patients manage their anticoagulants with the @CardioSmart Med Reminder: http://ht.ly/oOzU0

Inaugural Patient Engagement Summit Unites Stakeholders of Patient Centric Health Care System
Patient-centered care was in the spotlight in August as ACC members, patients and other stakeholders gathered at Heart House for the first-ever Patient Engagement Summit. This meeting brought together more than 50 professional and corporate partners for a day-long session focused around patient-centered care topics including, the evolution of patient-centered care; its relation to cardiovascular outcomes; the important role of the cardiac care team; patient engagement in the real world; pharmacy engagement with patients; and the pharmaceutical industry’s role. The Summit highlighted CardioSmart; the ACC’s suite of hospital and practice-based quality improvement programs; clinical toolkits and mobile resources; and more. In addition, the Summit provided a unique opportunity to hear directly from patients and patient advocates about their needs and the importance of public and private partnerships in the prevention and treatment of heart disease. Learn more about the Summit, watch video and download slide presentations and get access to ACC resources here.
 
Embracing the Physician Payments Sunshine Act
In a recent "Straight Talk" column in CardioSource WorldNews, Steven E. Nissen, MD, MACC, discusses the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, and encourages physicians to embrace it rather than fear it. In the article, he sheds light on the large sums of money a select number of physicians have received from pharmaceutical and device companies for pushing their products. "No patient should worry that we have placed our relationship with drug or device makers ahead the needs of our patient's needs," said Nissen in support of the legislation. Read the column. Watch a recent webinar to learn how the new law will impact physicians.
 
Fee Schedule FAQs
As part of the 2013 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule, CMS reimburses two CPT codes for reporting physician or qualifying non-physician practitioner care management services for a patient post-discharge from a hospital, skilled nursing facility or community mental health center stay, outpatient observation, or partial hospitalization. Click here for a revised list of frequently asked questions on billing Medicare for transitional care management services.
 
Connecting Kids to Coverage
The ACC is joining efforts with CMS and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to help promote enrollment of eligible children in Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). CMS is collaborating with various partner organizations to extend outreach to as many families as possible. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) awarded nearly $32 million in new grant awards last month, to fund the Connecting Kids to Coverage Outreach and Enrollment efforts to reach out, enroll, and retain eligible children in Medicaid and CHIP. For materials and other information to help providers and hospitals build awareness, visit the Connecting Kids to Coverage website and view a list of programs by state. If you have additional questions, or are interested in doing more, please contact Jesleen Papneja.
 
IOM Report Provides Insight Into U.S. Health Care
Best Care at Lower Cost is the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) most comprehensive look at the nation's health care issues and challenges since the Quality Chasm series of a dozen years ago. In this Report, the IOM not only updates insights on the quality of care, but also chronicles and underscores the challenges of health care’s growing complexity, cost, and waste, identifying some $750 billion in unnecessary expenditures annually, and reviewing the opportunities for continuous learning and improvement.
 
Achieving higher quality care at lower cost will require an across-the-board commitment to transform the U.S. health system into a "learning" system that continuously improves by systematically capturing and broadly disseminating lessons from every care experience and new research discovery. With practical reference to proven approaches, the Committee’s recommendations speak to the many stakeholders in the health care system and outline the concerted actions necessary across all sectors to achieve the needed transformation. Acting on the insights in this volume will improve care quality, the patient experience, health outcomes, and lower costs. Get the full report and executive summary here.

Fuster Named Next JACC Editor-in-Chief.
The ACC recently named Valentin Fuster, MD, PhD, MACC, as the next editor-in-chief of the College’s flagship Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC). He will serve a five-year term beginning July 2014, replacing Anthony DeMaria, MD, MACC, who has served as the editor-in-chief of JACC since 2002. Read more on CardioSource.org.
 
ACC Member Value Column: New Lifelong Learning Approach
The ACC has long been a provider of cutting-edge cardiovascular education, and is now on a mission to transform and innovate lifelong learning for the next generation of cardiovascular professionals. Harlan Krumholz, MD, FACC, editor of the editorial board of lifelong learning at the ACC, discusses the future of ACC’s lifelong learning program in a new video. Listen to how the College is taking a new integrated, expertise-building approach to education here.
 
Upcoming Webinars, Events and More: Mark Your Calendar
 
ACC Member Registration Open for ACC.14 in Washington, DC
ACC members have a head start on attending the premier scientific meeting of the year! Member registration for ACC.14 on March 29 – 31, 2014 in the nation’s capital opens on Sept. 11 and non-member registration opens Sept. 23. Early registration ensures the best rates on hotel and travel. Learn more here.
 
Webinar on Physician/Hospital Alignment, Patient Outcomes and Quality Care
The third installment of the Improve Your Practice from the Inside Out webinar series will take place Oct. 22 from 2 to 3 p.m. ET. The webinar will focus on promoting patient outcomes and quality care through physician/hospital alignment and is sponsored by the Council on Clinical Practice. Register and learn more here.
 
What Do You Need To Know About ICD-10 With A Year To Go?
Join the ACC on Sept. 17 at 3 p.m. ET for a presentation on ICD-10-CM basics tailored to cardiology. Learn about the benefits of ICD-10; similarities and differences from ICD-9; basics of finding a diagnosis code and unspecified codes; training needs and timelines; resources for coding and training; and national implementation issues. Register now.
 
Mark Your Calendars: Open Enrollment and PQRS
On Oct. 1, open enrollment for 2014 health insurance coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplaces commences. Learn more . Also, Oct. 15 is the last day for groups of 100+ to self-nominate to participate in the 2013 Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) Group Practice Reporting Option in order to avoid the additional 2015 negative payment adjustment of 1 percent under the value modifier. Review a recent PQRS webinar.
 
Sports Cardiology Summit This October
Are you a healthcare professional who treats athletes of all ages? ACC will host its 2nd Annual Sports Cardiology Summit on Oct. 4 and 5 at the Intercontinental Chicago O’Hare Hotel, Rosemont, Ill. Attendees will hear from expert faculty as they present relevant case studies and up-to-date findings on cardiovascular care for athletes. Register or get more information on CardioSource.org.
 
CV Summit Heads to Vegas in January
The Cardiovascular Summit: Solutions for Thriving in a Time of Change course will be held Jan. 16 – 18, 2014 at the Aria Casino and Resort Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Staff and member volunteers are in the process of developing content for the meeting. Registration and lodging information will be available on CardioSource.org in the coming weeks. Contact Jackie Massey with questions.

New on the ACC in Touch Blog
Check out the newly revamped ACC in TouchBlog at blog.cardiosource.org for multiple posts each week on hot topics. Here are some of the hottest recent posts:
 
  • A Sept. 9 post from Fellow-in-Training Payal Kohli, MD explores the need for a restructuring of academic medicine.
  • ACC BOG Chair David, May, MD, FACC gives the tort reform conversation a voice again in a Sept. 6 post.
  • Looking for a little direction on ACC’s global strategy? President-Elect Patrick T. O’Gara, MD, FACC shares in a Sept. 3 blog post.
  • ACC CEO Shal Jacobovitz in late August shared his vision for the College and gave an inside look into the strategic planning process. Learn more in his post here.
 
There are many more posts available on the blog – check them out here.
 
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.
August 2013
CMS Releases Proposed 2014 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has released two proposed rules with important ramifications for cardiovascular professionals. These rules address Medicare payment and quality provisions for physicians and hospital outpatient services in 2014. The rules indicate that physicians will receive a more than 22 percent decrease in 2014 as a result of the legally mandated Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) and that hospitals will receive a 1.8 percent increase in payment. As in previous years, the ACC continues to fight to avoid the physician payment cut. Aside from the across-the-board cuts associated with the SGR, CMS estimates that the physician rule will increase payments by 2 percent to cardiologists between 2013 and 2014. This estimate is based on typical practice and can vary widely depending on the mix of services provided in a practice. Read some of the other most important proposals for cardiology contained in the rules in the July 8 issue of the Advocate here. More details will be posted on CardiSource.org as the Advocacy staff prepares to submit detailed comments later this summer.

 
Bob Woodward Coming to ACC Legislative Conference 2013
Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Bob Woodward will kick off the ACC’s 2013 Legislative Conference on Sunday, Sept. 22 at 6:30 p.m. at the Fairmont Hotel in Washington, DC. Woodward will deliver the keynote remarks during the annual ACC Political Action Committee (PAC)-sponsored dinner. His speech, titled “Presidential Leadership and the Price of Politics,” will be the centerpiece of a fascinating and thought-provoking evening. Register for the conference by clicking here and reserve your dinner tickets by contacting Lucas Sanders at lsanders@acc.org
 
 
ACC Weighs in on Medicare Inpatient Hospital Rule
The ACC recently submitted comments to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) regarding the proposed Medicare Inpatient Hospital Rule that covers the payments and related provisions for fiscal year 2014. The ACC has long expressed concern about the arbitrary definition of outpatient versus inpatient since both groups of patients often receive the same services in the same building from the same staff. While there is still a ways to go, the College agrees with CMS’ increased clarity on this topic. However, the College does oppose CMS’ proposal to create a quality measure of resource use for a 30-day episode following admission for acute myocardial infarction (AMI) due to concerns that it would not measure costs appropriately and the lack of demonstrated variation. The College also urged CMS to proceed cautiously with a proposed technical change affecting payment for hospital stays that include imaging, cardiac catheterization, and involving implantable devices.  This change will likely increase payments for hospital stays involving implantable device services and decrease payments for hospital stays with significant elements of CT or MR.  Read the full letter.
 
 
AED Action
The ACC and HRS submitted joint comments to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) regarding the effective date of requirement for premarket approval for automated external defibrillators (AED). The ACC expressed support for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) proposal to use its discretion in enforcing the requirement that manufacturers submit premarket approval applications within 90 days of the issuance of the final order. The letter also encouraged the FDA to collaborate with key stakeholders to minimize misperceptions about the reasons for this reclassification and reassure the public that the AED is a life-saving device. The ACC continues to work with HRS and other stakeholders to ensure these vital devices are readily available to the public.
 
 
Heads Up on Preauthorization for UHC Commercial Plans
Starting July 1, UnitedHealthcare (UHC) will begin requiring preauthorization for their Commercial Plans for the following cardiovascular procedures: echocardiography, stress echocardiography, electrophysiologic implant devices, and diagnostic cardiac catheterization. UHC will also change its existing pre-notification obligation to pre-authorization on July 1. Get the details. If you and your practice are experiencing difficulties and inappropriate pre-authorization denials, contact ACC Advocacy for assistance.
 
 
Changes Coming to CIGNA
CIGNA will no longer offer second-level appeals beginning July 1. The company will limit claim appeals thorough a single appeal review process and will complete appeals within 60 days. CIGNA reminds providers that all appeals should be initiated in writing within 180 calendar days of the date of the initial payment or denial decision. If the appeal relates to a payment that CIGNA adjusted, the appeal should be initiated within 180 calendar days of the date of the last payment adjustment. For additional information, click here.
 
 
Will Your Practice be Impacted? 
Universal Health Care Insurance Co., a Medicare replacement plan based St. Petersburg, FL, has been forced into receivership by the federal government. Members under this plan were automatically removed by CMS and were enrolled in the regular Medicare program effective May 1, 2013. If your practice has any of these plans, don’t forget to update the insurance information for any patients still showing Universal Health care as their primary insurance. Patients may call Medicare at 1-800-633-4227 if they have any questions regarding their coverage.
 
 
Tools to Help you Navigate the Health Insurance Marketplace
The Obama administration kicked off the Health Insurance Marketplace education effort with a new, consumer-focused HealthCare.gov website and the 24-hours-a-day consumer call center to help people prepare for open enrollment and ultimately sign up for private health insurance.  The new tools will help Americans understand their choices and select the coverage that best suits their needs when open enrollment in the new Health Insurance Marketplace begins Oct. 1.
 
 
CathPCI Physician Dashboard Launch
The NCDR in late June launched a new confidential Physician Dashboard for ACC members who practice at CathPCI Registry hospitals.  The CathPCI Physician Dashboard is new benefit for members of the ACC and includes over 40 physician-level metrics generated from CathPCI Registry data.
 
The dashboard is available to physicians through a secure log-on to Cardiosource.org and will provide selected metrics with comparisons to national benchmarks.  The dashboard can be used to support quality improvement, volume tracking and as a data source for Maintenance of Certification (MOC) Part IV projects.  The ACC is encouraging members to evaluate their data to ensure its accuracy.
 
For more information about the Physician Dashboard, click here.
 
 
Vascular Medicine SAP Now Available
The ACC in late June launched the new Vascular Medicine Self-Assessment Program (SAP). This interactive program is designed to help physicians understand all aspects aortic disease, peripheral arterial disease, stroke, extra-cranial carotid disease and venous thromboembolic disease. Users will receive:
 
·      Education in a variety of formats — you can learn by reading, answering questions, or listening to presentations — in a convenient online package.
·      Dozens of self-assessment questions so you can practice applying what you’ve learned.
·      Up to 17.75 AMA PRA Category 1 CME CreditsTM.
·      And more!
 
Click here to learn more and get your copy.
 
 
ACC’s Summer Products Sale Through July 12
The ACC’s summer products sale is ongoing through July 12 and includes sales of 15 percent on Self-Assessment and Meeting on Demand™ Programs. Click here to learn more about the College’s Self-Assessment and Meeting on Demand™ Programs. Call the ACC Resource Center and mention code SUMMER2013 at 202-375-6000, ext. 5603
 
 
Clinical Nuclear Cardiology and Cardiac CT MOD Available
The ACC’s new 2013 Recent Advances in Clinical Nuclear Cardiology and Cardiac CT Meeting on Demand™ Program is now available. You can enhance your knowledge and ultimately increase your competency with this stimulating and interactive online program that provides up-to-date developments in nuclear cardiology and cardiac CT. You will also receive guidance on navigating this complex maze of technological advances, patient and physician needs, appropriate use criteria, and health care reform and the impact on cardiac imaging decisions. This MOD allows users to obtain all 15 nuclear relevant CME hours required by ICANL. If you're sitting for the December 2013 Nuclear Cardiology Boards, this offer gives you all the CME you need to qualify for the exam. To purchase or learn more, visit CardioSource.org/NuclearCardiologyMOD.
 
 
House of Cardiology Takes Recommendations to Capitol Hill
In June, ACC leaders took part in a two-day "Fly-In" with several other cardiovascular societies and their leadership aimed at underscoring the need for Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) repeal and a value-driven system that better aligns payment with performance of evidence-based medicine. The ACC, along with representatives from the Association of Black Cardiologists, American Society of Echocardiography, American Society of Nuclear Cardiology, Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions, Society of Thoracic Surgeons and Heart Failure Society of America, met with nearly 20 congressional offices, including that of Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA). These meetings come at a crucial time, with several House and Senate committees deliberating final versions of their plans to fix the flawed SGR formula and reform the Medicare physician payment system, and helped strengthen relationships with lawmakers. Get a glimpse of ACC's day on the Hill in an ACC in Touch Blog post by Advocacy Steering Committee and Political Action Committee Chair Eugene Sherman, MD, FACC.
 
Are You Ready for Sunshine?
Implementation of the Physician Payments Sunshine Act (also known as the Open Payments program) begins on Aug. 1. To help you navigate the new rules, the ACC recently hosted a webinar on June 27 that provided an overview of the law, explained how it will affect interactions between physicians and industry. Once it is available, you can view the archived webinar here.
 
Reimbursement Change on the Horizon
Starting on July 1, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) now require claims including CPT codes for transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) (0256T, 0257T, 0258T, 0259T, 33361, 33362, 33363, 33364, 33365 and 0318T) to contain the following before they will issue reimbursement:
 
  • Clinical trial registry number (an eight digit number preceded by "CT")
  • Q0 modifier
  • Secondary diagnosis code of V70.7 (examination of participant in clinical trial)
For more information, click here.

TAVR Data Collection Reminder
With the growing prevalence of TAVR procedures, it is important that physicians and STS/ACC TVT Registry™ team members be aware of the importance of capturing complete and accurate data for all registry patients. One of the conditions included in CMS' National Coverage Determination for TAVR procedures is participation in the STS/ACC TVT Registry™ with 100 percent of all TVT Registry data captured for each patient. Among the data required is the Kansas City Cardiomyopathy Questionnaire (KCCQ) for all patients at baseline, 30-day and 1-year follow up. CMS has expressed concerns that some sites have not consistently captured all TVT Registry data, especially the KCCQ required fields. Sites that need assistance implementing the KCCQ are encouraged to contact the TVT Registry at (800) 257-4737 or tvtregistry@tvtregistry.org for support.

 
Attention Cardiovascular Administrators: CMS Guide Now Available
The "Medicare Learning Network® Suite of Products and Resources for Compliance Officers" Educational Web Guide is now available to download. This resource is designed to provide education on the many compliance issues facing health care professionals today. It includes direct links to information arranged by specialty to address the detailed compliance issues distinctive to individual provider types to assist in accurate claims review and submission. Download the guide.
 
 
Reducing Readmissions and ACC Resources
Hospital readmission rates for Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries significantly declined in 2012, according to new research released by CMS. Results showed from 2007-2011, the 30-day, all-cause, hospital readmission rates were consistently 19 percent, however, during 2012, the monthly readmission rate dropped to a low of 18 percent in October, and averaged to 18.4 percent for the year. While overall readmissions are down, nearly one in five patients hospitalized with heart attack and one in four patients hospitalized with heart failure are readmitted within 30 days of discharge. To help combat this problem, the ACC has launched a new program with support from founding sponsor AstraZeneca to provide personalized services to heart disease patients and help avoid a quick return to the hospital. Learn about the Patient Navigator Program. In related news, a new model to risk-standardize hospital rates of survival for in-hospital cardiac arrest could help hospitals improve quality by allowing them to benchmark their risk-adjusted performance against other hospitals, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Get full coverage.
 

Navigate PQRS Rules with ACC’s 2013 Primer
In 2015, CMS will penalize physicians who do not participate in the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) in 2013. It's time for cardiologists to make an informed decision about how best to begin participating or make some changes to how they participate in PQRS in 2013 and beyond. Navigate new PQRS rules with ACC's 2013 PQRS Primer. Questions? Contact vbp@acc.org.
 
 
ACC Member Value Column: New ACC Research Funding Resources 
Spend less time searching and more time doing. Powered by InfoEd SPIN search technology, ACC’s NEW Research Funding Resources make it easy to find — and manage — cardiovascular research funding. This new member benefit provides a web-based, easy search of more than 40,000 research opportunities from over 10,000 sponsors worldwide. You’ll no longer have to spend hours searching multiple databases and websites to find funding for your cardiovascular research initiatives, so you can spend more time making an impact on cardiovascular care.
These new resources also help institutions efficiently manage funding received and save up to thousands of dollars. With InfoEd’s collection of software applications, institutions will not only realize savings, but also improve data integrity, streamline administration processes and accelerate compliance. This new member benefit was made possible by the cross-collaboration and contributions of the Early Career, Academic, CVT and FIT Section Leadership Councils and the Cardiology Training and Workforce Committee. Find funding for your next research opportunity today at CardioSource.org/ResearchFunding.
 
 
CardioSmart at Track Walks

Did you know that ACC’s CardioSmart program proudly participates in the Coca-Cola Family Track Walks? CardioSmart promotes heart health and the benefits of leading an active, healthy lifestyle at the events. Take a look at what goes on at the events in this new video and learn how the ACC is promoting wellness and heart healthiness.



Special ACC Partnership Helps You Save on Medical Liability Coverage
Founded by doctors for doctors, The Doctors Company has partnered with the ACC to provide discounts on medical liability coverage for ACC members. The Doctors Company provides a unique combination of coverage features, aggressive claims defense, superior protection, and unrivaled rewards, including the Tribute® Plan, a groundbreaking financial benefit that rewards members for their loyalty and commitment to outstanding patient care. Visit CardioSource.org/TheDoctorsCompany to get a no-obligation quote and more information. 

 

July 2013
CMS Releases Proposed 2014 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has released two proposed rules with important ramifications for cardiovascular professionals. These rules address Medicare payment and quality provisions for physicians and hospital outpatient services in 2014. The rules indicate that physicians will receive a more than 22 percent decrease in 2014 as a result of the legally mandated Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) and that hospitals will receive a 1.8 percent increase in payment. As in previous years, the ACC continues to fight to avoid the physician payment cut. Aside from the across-the-board cuts associated with the SGR, CMS estimates that the physician rule will increase payments by 2 percent to cardiologists between 2013 and 2014. This estimate is based on typical practice and can vary widely depending on the mix of services provided in a practice. Read some of the other most important proposals for cardiology contained in the rules in the July 8 issue of the Advocate here. More details will be posted on CardiSource.org as the Advocacy staff prepares to submit detailed comments later this summer.

 
Bob Woodward Coming to ACC Legislative Conference 2013
Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Bob Woodward will kick off the ACC’s 2013 Legislative Conference on Sunday, Sept. 22 at 6:30 p.m. at the Fairmont Hotel in Washington, DC. Woodward will deliver the keynote remarks during the annual ACC Political Action Committee (PAC)-sponsored dinner. His speech, titled “Presidential Leadership and the Price of Politics,” will be the centerpiece of a fascinating and thought-provoking evening. Register for the conference by clicking here and reserve your dinner tickets by contacting Lucas Sanders at lsanders@acc.org
 
 
ACC Weighs in on Medicare Inpatient Hospital Rule
The ACC recently submitted comments to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) regarding the proposed Medicare Inpatient Hospital Rule that covers the payments and related provisions for fiscal year 2014. The ACC has long expressed concern about the arbitrary definition of outpatient versus inpatient since both groups of patients often receive the same services in the same building from the same staff. While there is still a ways to go, the College agrees with CMS’ increased clarity on this topic. However, the College does oppose CMS’ proposal to create a quality measure of resource use for a 30-day episode following admission for acute myocardial infarction (AMI) due to concerns that it would not measure costs appropriately and the lack of demonstrated variation. The College also urged CMS to proceed cautiously with a proposed technical change affecting payment for hospital stays that include imaging, cardiac catheterization, and involving implantable devices.  This change will likely increase payments for hospital stays involving implantable device services and decrease payments for hospital stays with significant elements of CT or MR.  Read the full letter.
 
 
AED Action
The ACC and HRS submitted joint comments to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) regarding the effective date of requirement for premarket approval for automated external defibrillators (AED). The ACC expressed support for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) proposal to use its discretion in enforcing the requirement that manufacturers submit premarket approval applications within 90 days of the issuance of the final order. The letter also encouraged the FDA to collaborate with key stakeholders to minimize misperceptions about the reasons for this reclassification and reassure the public that the AED is a life-saving device. The ACC continues to work with HRS and other stakeholders to ensure these vital devices are readily available to the public.
 
 
Heads Up on Preauthorization for UHC Commercial Plans
Starting July 1, UnitedHealthcare (UHC) will begin requiring preauthorization for their Commercial Plans for the following cardiovascular procedures: echocardiography, stress echocardiography, electrophysiologic implant devices, and diagnostic cardiac catheterization. UHC will also change its existing pre-notification obligation to pre-authorization on July 1. Get the details. If you and your practice are experiencing difficulties and inappropriate pre-authorization denials, contact ACC Advocacy for assistance.
 
 
Changes Coming to CIGNA
CIGNA will no longer offer second-level appeals beginning July 1. The company will limit claim appeals thorough a single appeal review process and will complete appeals within 60 days. CIGNA reminds providers that all appeals should be initiated in writing within 180 calendar days of the date of the initial payment or denial decision. If the appeal relates to a payment that CIGNA adjusted, the appeal should be initiated within 180 calendar days of the date of the last payment adjustment. For additional information, click here.
 
 
Will Your Practice be Impacted? 
Universal Health Care Insurance Co., a Medicare replacement plan based St. Petersburg, FL, has been forced into receivership by the federal government. Members under this plan were automatically removed by CMS and were enrolled in the regular Medicare program effective May 1, 2013. If your practice has any of these plans, don’t forget to update the insurance information for any patients still showing Universal Health care as their primary insurance. Patients may call Medicare at 1-800-633-4227 if they have any questions regarding their coverage.
 
 
Tools to Help you Navigate the Health Insurance Marketplace
The Obama administration kicked off the Health Insurance Marketplace education effort with a new, consumer-focused HealthCare.gov website and the 24-hours-a-day consumer call center to help people prepare for open enrollment and ultimately sign up for private health insurance.  The new tools will help Americans understand their choices and select the coverage that best suits their needs when open enrollment in the new Health Insurance Marketplace begins Oct. 1.
 
 
CathPCI Physician Dashboard Launch
The NCDR in late June launched a new confidential Physician Dashboard for ACC members who practice at CathPCI Registry hospitals.  The CathPCI Physician Dashboard is new benefit for members of the ACC and includes over 40 physician-level metrics generated from CathPCI Registry data.
 
The dashboard is available to physicians through a secure log-on to Cardiosource.org and will provide selected metrics with comparisons to national benchmarks.  The dashboard can be used to support quality improvement, volume tracking and as a data source for Maintenance of Certification (MOC) Part IV projects.  The ACC is encouraging members to evaluate their data to ensure its accuracy.
 
For more information about the Physician Dashboard, click here.
 
 
Vascular Medicine SAP Now Available
The ACC in late June launched the new Vascular Medicine Self-Assessment Program (SAP). This interactive program is designed to help physicians understand all aspects aortic disease, peripheral arterial disease, stroke, extra-cranial carotid disease and venous thromboembolic disease. Users will receive:
 
·      Education in a variety of formats — you can learn by reading, answering questions, or listening to presentations — in a convenient online package.
·      Dozens of self-assessment questions so you can practice applying what you’ve learned.
·      Up to 17.75 AMA PRA Category 1 CME CreditsTM.
·      And more!
 
Click here to learn more and get your copy.
 
 
ACC’s Summer Products Sale Through July 12
The ACC’s summer products sale is ongoing through July 12 and includes sales of 15 percent on Self-Assessment and Meeting on Demand™ Programs. Click here to learn more about the College’s Self-Assessment and Meeting on Demand™ Programs. Call the ACC Resource Center and mention code SUMMER2013 at 202-375-6000, ext. 5603
 
 
Clinical Nuclear Cardiology and Cardiac CT MOD Available
The ACC’s new 2013 Recent Advances in Clinical Nuclear Cardiology and Cardiac CT Meeting on Demand™ Program is now available. You can enhance your knowledge and ultimately increase your competency with this stimulating and interactive online program that provides up-to-date developments in nuclear cardiology and cardiac CT. You will also receive guidance on navigating this complex maze of technological advances, patient and physician needs, appropriate use criteria, and health care reform and the impact on cardiac imaging decisions. This MOD allows users to obtain all 15 nuclear relevant CME hours required by ICANL. If you're sitting for the December 2013 Nuclear Cardiology Boards, this offer gives you all the CME you need to qualify for the exam. To purchase or learn more, visit CardioSource.org/NuclearCardiologyMOD.
 
 
House of Cardiology Takes Recommendations to Capitol Hill
In June, ACC leaders took part in a two-day "Fly-In" with several other cardiovascular societies and their leadership aimed at underscoring the need for Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) repeal and a value-driven system that better aligns payment with performance of evidence-based medicine. The ACC, along with representatives from the Association of Black Cardiologists, American Society of Echocardiography, American Society of Nuclear Cardiology, Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions, Society of Thoracic Surgeons and Heart Failure Society of America, met with nearly 20 congressional offices, including that of Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA). These meetings come at a crucial time, with several House and Senate committees deliberating final versions of their plans to fix the flawed SGR formula and reform the Medicare physician payment system, and helped strengthen relationships with lawmakers. Get a glimpse of ACC's day on the Hill in an ACC in Touch Blog post by Advocacy Steering Committee and Political Action Committee Chair Eugene Sherman, MD, FACC.
 
Are You Ready for Sunshine?
Implementation of the Physician Payments Sunshine Act (also known as the Open Payments program) begins on Aug. 1. To help you navigate the new rules, the ACC recently hosted a webinar on June 27 that provided an overview of the law, explained how it will affect interactions between physicians and industry. Once it is available, you can view the archived webinar here.
 
Reimbursement Change on the Horizon
Starting on July 1, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) now require claims including CPT codes for transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) (0256T, 0257T, 0258T, 0259T, 33361, 33362, 33363, 33364, 33365 and 0318T) to contain the following before they will issue reimbursement:
 
  • Clinical trial registry number (an eight digit number preceded by "CT")
  • Q0 modifier
  • Secondary diagnosis code of V70.7 (examination of participant in clinical trial)
For more information, click here.

TAVR Data Collection Reminder
With the growing prevalence of TAVR procedures, it is important that physicians and STS/ACC TVT Registry™ team members be aware of the importance of capturing complete and accurate data for all registry patients. One of the conditions included in CMS' National Coverage Determination for TAVR procedures is participation in the STS/ACC TVT Registry™ with 100 percent of all TVT Registry data captured for each patient. Among the data required is the Kansas City Cardiomyopathy Questionnaire (KCCQ) for all patients at baseline, 30-day and 1-year follow up. CMS has expressed concerns that some sites have not consistently captured all TVT Registry data, especially the KCCQ required fields. Sites that need assistance implementing the KCCQ are encouraged to contact the TVT Registry at (800) 257-4737 or tvtregistry@tvtregistry.org for support.

 
Attention Cardiovascular Administrators: CMS Guide Now Available
The "Medicare Learning Network® Suite of Products and Resources for Compliance Officers" Educational Web Guide is now available to download. This resource is designed to provide education on the many compliance issues facing health care professionals today. It includes direct links to information arranged by specialty to address the detailed compliance issues distinctive to individual provider types to assist in accurate claims review and submission. Download the guide.
 
 
Reducing Readmissions and ACC Resources
Hospital readmission rates for Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries significantly declined in 2012, according to new research released by CMS. Results showed from 2007-2011, the 30-day, all-cause, hospital readmission rates were consistently 19 percent, however, during 2012, the monthly readmission rate dropped to a low of 18 percent in October, and averaged to 18.4 percent for the year. While overall readmissions are down, nearly one in five patients hospitalized with heart attack and one in four patients hospitalized with heart failure are readmitted within 30 days of discharge. To help combat this problem, the ACC has launched a new program with support from founding sponsor AstraZeneca to provide personalized services to heart disease patients and help avoid a quick return to the hospital. Learn about the Patient Navigator Program. In related news, a new model to risk-standardize hospital rates of survival for in-hospital cardiac arrest could help hospitals improve quality by allowing them to benchmark their risk-adjusted performance against other hospitals, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Get full coverage.
 

Navigate PQRS Rules with ACC’s 2013 Primer
In 2015, CMS will penalize physicians who do not participate in the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) in 2013. It's time for cardiologists to make an informed decision about how best to begin participating or make some changes to how they participate in PQRS in 2013 and beyond. Navigate new PQRS rules with ACC's 2013 PQRS Primer. Questions? Contact vbp@acc.org.
 
 
ACC Member Value Column: New ACC Research Funding Resources 
Spend less time searching and more time doing. Powered by InfoEd SPIN search technology, ACC’s NEW Research Funding Resources make it easy to find — and manage — cardiovascular research funding. This new member benefit provides a web-based, easy search of more than 40,000 research opportunities from over 10,000 sponsors worldwide. You’ll no longer have to spend hours searching multiple databases and websites to find funding for your cardiovascular research initiatives, so you can spend more time making an impact on cardiovascular care.
These new resources also help institutions efficiently manage funding received and save up to thousands of dollars. With InfoEd’s collection of software applications, institutions will not only realize savings, but also improve data integrity, streamline administration processes and accelerate compliance. This new member benefit was made possible by the cross-collaboration and contributions of the Early Career, Academic, CVT and FIT Section Leadership Councils and the Cardiology Training and Workforce Committee. Find funding for your next research opportunity today at CardioSource.org/ResearchFunding.
 
 
CardioSmart at Track Walks

Did you know that ACC’s CardioSmart program proudly participates in the Coca-Cola Family Track Walks? CardioSmart promotes heart health and the benefits of leading an active, healthy lifestyle at the events. Take a look at what goes on at the events in this new video and learn how the ACC is promoting wellness and heart healthiness.



Special ACC Partnership Helps You Save on Medical Liability Coverage
Founded by doctors for doctors, The Doctors Company has partnered with the ACC to provide discounts on medical liability coverage for ACC members. The Doctors Company provides a unique combination of coverage features, aggressive claims defense, superior protection, and unrivaled rewards, including the Tribute® Plan, a groundbreaking financial benefit that rewards members for their loyalty and commitment to outstanding patient care. Visit CardioSource.org/TheDoctorsCompany to get a no-obligation quote and more information. 

 

June 2013
Drug Safety in the Spotlight at FDA Meeting
After years of controversy that resulted in an independent re-adjudication of the RECORD Trial, two advisory committees to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have recommended modifying current restrictions on the diabetes drug rosiglitazone (Avandia). ACC Past President Ralph G. Brindis, MD, MPH, MACC, spoke on behalf of the ACC during the public portion of the meeting and shared ways stakeholders can come together and support the development of new cardiovascular safety assessment methodologies that improve efficiency and cost effectiveness. Several panel members referenced the comments ACC submitted ahead of the meeting that recommend the use of registries, such as the National Cardiovascular Data Registry (NCDR®), and trusted third parties and standardizing cardiovascular endpoints for drug safety assessment. Full coverage, including a video, is available on CardioSource.org.

 
New Program to Help Heart Patients Navigate Care, Reduce Readmissions
The ACC on June 5 announced the development of a new program with support from founding sponsor AstraZeneca to provide personalized services to heart disease patients and help avoid a quick return to the hospital. The $10 million sponsorship from AstraZeneca will allow the ACC to create a Patient Navigator Program that will support a team of caregivers to help patients overcome challenges during their hospital stay and in the weeks following discharge when they are most vulnerable. The ACC will recruit 35 hospitals that already participate in the ACC’s National Cardiovascular Data Registry and the Hospital to Home Initiative. The program will utilize and expand upon improvement strategies, toolkits and other best practices learned from communities within these programs in more than 1,500 hospitals in the U.S. A video from the May 31 panel about the project is available here.

 
Honoring Those Who Have Served With High Quality Cardiovascular Care
The latest JACC President’s Page explores the evolution of the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA), the largest integrated health care system in the U.S., and widely acclaimed, innovative national programs that have established the VA as the “highest quality health system in the U.S.” John Gordon Harold, MD, MACC, and John S. Rumsfeld, MD, PhD, FACC, also discuss challenges facing the VA system and ACC’s dedication to further strengthening the role of VA, military and public health sector members in college-wide activities. Read more about the important roles cardiovascular professionals across the country play in caring for our veterans.


Legislative Conference Registration is Open

Registration is now open for the ACC Legislative Conference, held annually each fall – this year from Sept. 22 to 24 at the Fairmont Hotel in Washington, D.C. Last year on day two of the big event, more than 350 cardiovascular professionals descended upon Capitol Hill to share their voice with lawmakers. You could be a part of the action this year! To take part, register here.


Don’t Miss These Upcoming Webinars!
Learn more about the following webinars and register for the ones that spark your interest here.
  • Navigate the Physician Payment Sunshine Act for 60 minutes on June 27 at 2 p.m. ET. You will learn what the Physician Payments Sunshine Act is, how it will affect interactions between physicians and industry, and what you and your practice need to do to prepare for Aug. 1.
  •  Explore the Ins and Outs of Signing On a Mid-Level Service Provider on June 12 from 1 – 2 p.m. Earn CME/CNE credits and learn how to to incorporate different members of the care team to improve patient outcomes and operate practices more effectively and seamlessly.
 
New ACC MOD Features Clinical Nuclear Cardiology and Cardiac CT
The ACC recently released the 2013 Recent Advances in Clinical Nuclear Cardiology and Cardiac CT Meeting on DemandTM Program. For cardiac imaging and non-imaging cardiovascular professionals, this online program explores advances in nuclear cardiology, cardiac CT and other imaging modalities across the spectrum of patients routinely seen in a typical practice. Leading cardiac imaging clinicians and scientists guide attendees in gaining practical experience in case interpretation, reporting and medical decision making through almost 100 evidence-based case reviews. The program has a maximum of 19 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Learn more here. You can learn about all of the College’s Meeting in Demand programs here and search by clinical pathway.


ACC Steps Up Efforts to Protect In-Office Ancillary Services Exception
As part of its overall scoring of President Obama's FY '14 budget, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) recently estimated that the provision to eliminate the in-office ancillary services exception (IOASE)—including advanced imaging, radiation therapy, and therapy services—would save $1.8 billion over a decade. Earlier this spring, the ACC urged Congress to reject the Obama Administration's proposed budget recommendation to eliminate the IOASE, noting that the medical profession has already taken significant steps to ensure only medically necessary and appropriate ancillary services are performed. The ACC is stepping up activity on Capitol Hill and actively working with other stakeholders to prevent any changes to the IOASE as well as prior authorization.
 

eRX Incentive Program Deadline Approaching!
In order to avoid a 2014 payment penalty under the Electronic Prescribing (eRx) Incentive Program, all eligible professionals and group practices participating in the Group Practice Reporting Option must successfully submit eRx data by June 30. Those who fail to successfully report by the deadline will receive a 2 percent penalty in 2014. Learn more about the eRx Incentive Program and its reporting requirements.


Navigate PQRS Rules with ACC’s 2013 Primer
In 2015, CMS will penalize physicians who do not participate in the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) in 2013. It's time for cardiologists to make an informed decision about how best to begin participating or make some changes to how they participate in PQRS in 2013 and beyond. Navigate new PQRS rules with ACC's 2013 PQRS Primer. Questions? Contact vbp@acc.org.

 
Are Pacemaker Coverage Changes Coming?
A draft national coverage determination (NCD) for implanted permanent cardiac pacemakers released this week would eliminate the distinction in coverage criteria between single- and dual-chamber devices. Either therapy would be covered for "documented symptomatic bradycardia" due to sinus node dysfunction, second degree atrioventricular block, and/or third degree atriventricular block. A number of other indications would be non-covered. Medicare Administrative Contractors would continue to hold the authority to determine coverage for other indications not addressed in the NCD. The College will review the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' (CMS) methods and evidence and provide written comments in June.


ACC on the Hill in May
The ACC in May co-sponsored a public Capitol Hill briefing on AFib and stroke risk in Hispanic women as part of National Women's Health Week. Organized by WomenHeart, the National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease, the briefing provided a glimpse into the current situation and efforts underway to reduce AFib and stroke in this population. Alvaro Gomez, MD, FACC, shared insight into diagnosis, treatment and prevention options, and stressed the importance of patients partnering with their health care teams to combat this "monumental" problem. Marcela Gaitan, MPH, MA, from the National Alliance for Hispanic Health provided the public policy angle and delved into the unique challenges Hispanics face in receiving appropriate care.
 
 
Reimbursement Change on the Horizon
Starting on July 1, CMS will require claims including CPT codes for transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) (0256T, 0257T, 0258T, 0259T, 33361, 33362, 33363, 33364, 33365 and 0318T) to contain the following before they will issue reimbursement:
 
  • Clinical trial registry number (an eight digit number preceded by "CT")
  • Q0 modifier
  • Secondary diagnosis code of V70.7 (examination of participant in clinical trial)
  •  
For more coding information, click here.
 

Violations to the “Stark” Law Raise Compliance Awareness
Another case of violating the physician self-referral law (or "Stark" law) — which prevents physicians from financially benefiting from patient referrals — made headlines recently. Tuomey Healthcare System, based in South Carolina, was found guilty of violating both the Stark law and the False Claims Act after submitting $39 million worth of illegal claims to Medicare. The hospital faces more than $350 million in potential liabilities as a result of the violations. Get the facts about fraud and abuse and other important compliance topics.


OIG for HHS Releases Updated Guidance
The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) for the Department of Health and Human Services recently released updated guidance on the criteria for exclusion from the Medicare program and the involvement of excluded individuals in federal health care programs, addressing a number of questions that have arisen since the original guidance was published in 1999. Individuals who are excluded from participating in federal health care programs are prohibited from providing services to patients or to entities that furnish health care. Entities employing excluded individuals and billing for related services may be subject to substantial financial penalties for services furnished by and billed to the federal health care programs on behalf of the excluded individual. The guidance also includes recommendations for verifying employees, potential employees and entities are not excluded from participation in the federal health care programs. The list of excluded individuals and entities is available here.
 

ACC Member Value Column: Cardiology Magazine Member Publication
Each quarter, the ACC publishes a glossy, comprehensive magazine with feature stories, news from across the globe and insight into the changing world of health care. There is also an online and mobile version available. The magazine is free to and written specifically for ACC members. This month’s issue of Cardiology magazine takes a closer look at smoking and cardiovascular disease and explores some of the key successes in the U.S.; global smoking prevention efforts currently underway; and ACC and ACC state chapter smoke-free collaborations. While state smoking legislation across the country varies, the ACC and its state chapters have played a crucial role in supporting local and state-based smoking legislation through letter writing campaigns, testimony, personal meetings with legislators and others. Read the full cover article and take a look at smoke-free legislation state-by-state.


New on the ACC in Touch Blog
Check out the ACC’s Blog at blog.cardiosource.org for multiple posts each week on hot topics. Stay tuned to the Blog in the coming weeks for a new look and more great content. Here are some of the hottest posts from the end of last month – although there are many more from earlier in the month:
 
·      A May 21 post by Robert Beekman, MD, FACC, chair-elect of the Adult Congenital and Pediatric Cardiology Section Leadership Council focuses on promoting physical activity in congenital heart disease patients
·      A May 20 post by Payal Kohli, MD, fellow-in-training at the University of California San Francisco brings to the forefront the question of gender in cardiology.
·      A May 17 post by BOG Chair David May, MD, FACC explores the relationship between industry and physicians.
 

ACC.13 is Over – But the Science and News Remain!
It’s been a few weeks since ACC.13 in San Francisco wrapped, but the news and science from the meeting remains. Check out all of the happenings from ACC.13 on CardioSource here. The comprehensive digital library with more than 400 hours of presentations from the meeting is now available. Get iScience, the Meeting on Demand ™ program, to check out the sessions you missed.


Special ACC Partnership Helps You Save on Medical Liability Coverage
Founded by doctors for doctors, The Doctors Company has partnered with the ACC to provide discounts on medical liability coverage for ACC members. The Doctors Company provides a unique combination of coverage features, aggressive claims defense, superior protection, and unrivaled rewards, including the Tribute® Plan, a groundbreaking financial benefit that rewards members for their loyalty and commitment to outstanding patient care. Visit CardioSource.org/TheDoctorsCompany to get a no-obligation quote and more information.
 

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. 

May 2013

ACC Names Shalom Jacobovitz as New CEO

After a year-long search, the ACC named Shalom "Shal" Jacobovitz as the College's chief executive officer (CEO). Jacobovitz, who started at the College on April 29, comes to the ACC from Actelion Pharmaceuticals U.S., a biopharmaceutical company specializing in cardio-pulmonary therapies, where he served as president since 2004. At Actelion, Jacobovitz developed a strong patient- and customer-centered corporate strategy, which he implemented globally.
 
"Shal has a track record that demonstrates he is the right person to lead a strong organization like the ACC and to take it to the next level at a time when health care is undergoing massive changes," said ACC President John Gordon Harold, MD, MACC. "He is an innovative and proven leader as well as a successful mentor and team builder. Shal brings a unique perspective at a time when the College is ramping up to meet the evolving needs of cardiovascular professionals domestically and around the globe."
 
 For more on ACC’s new CEO, visit the ACC in Touch Blog or CardioSource.org.
 

ACC Helps Establish International Consortium of Cardiovascular Registries
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently brought together various stakeholders from across the globe to establish the International Consortium of Cardiovascular Registries (ICCR). The ground-breaking initiative, comprised of the ACC, the Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS), industry and others, aims to enhance the way device registries are used across the practice of cardiology and around the world.
 
Efforts to develop the ICCR follow the model of the International Consortium of Orthopedic Registries. While registries have become important tools for assessing the performance of cardiovascular procedures in real-world settings, limitations and variation across regions open doors for global collaboration. The effort will initially focus on registries that track the transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) procedure with plans to expand to additional cardiovascular registries in the future. The STS/ACC TVT Registry™, that has tracked patient safety and real-world outcomes for the TAVR procedure from the beginning, will be a core component of the Consortium’s efforts.  Full coverage of the meeting is available on CardioSource.org.


President Releases Proposed 2014 Budget
The Obama Administration's proposed budget for 2014, which contains a mix of programmatic activities for the year as well as legislative priorities, was released on April 10. While many of the items contained in the budget are unlikely to come to fruition due to the divided Congress and president, it does provide a glimpse at administration priorities for next year. ACC Advocacy staff members are reviewing the proposal in more detail, but some of the key highlights for cardiology are featured on CardioSource.org.
 

Navigate Complexities of Self-Referral and Compliance with ACC Resources
One of the largest recent cases of violating the physician self-referral law (also called the Stark law) — which prevents physicians from financially benefiting from patient referrals — recently made headlines. Intermountain Healthcare, Utah's biggest health system, will pay more than $25 million as a result of the violations, which include tying doctors' bonuses to their patient referrals and compensating physicians without having written contracts. This case is a wake-up call of the importance of compliance. The ACC has developed resources to help members navigate this complex topic. Get up-to-speed on fraud and abuse, including the Stark law and other health care regulations. The full set of compliance resources is available here.

 
ACC Takes AED Action
The ACC and 34 other member organizations of the Ad Hoc Coalition to Save Lives Through Public Access to Defibrillation sent a letter to Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) in early April, thanking him for his "exceptional leadership and commitment" to championing the Health Resources and Services Administration's Rural Access to Emergency Devices Program. It also urges him to include $8.927 million for the Rural and Community Access to Emergency Devices Program in the FY 2014 Labor-HHS-Education Appropriation bill, which would restore this life-saving program to its FY 2005 level when 47 states received funding under the rural component. The program enables rural areas and communities to obtain necessary equipment and training to save lives from cardiac arrest. However, in 2012, only 6 percent of applications for the program were accepted due to a lack of funding.
 

CMS Releases PQRS and eRx Program Performance Update
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has released the 2011 Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) and E-Prescribing (eRx) Incentive Program Experience Report, shedding light on the reporting experience of eligible professionals in these programs in 2011. According to the report, participation across all reporting options has increased each year. In 2011, 280,229 professionals participated in PQRS, totaling $261,733,236 in incentive payments. The eRx Incentive Program saw a 116 percent increase over 2010, with 282,382 professionals participating in 2011, totaling $285,049,103 in incentive payments. The report showed that 33 percent of cardiologists received a PQRS bonus in 2011 with a median payment of $3,158. For eRx, 43 percent of cardiologists received a bonus for 2011 for a similar median payment of $3,133. The report also revealed that 6,000 cardiologists were subject to a payment reduction in 2012 for not reporting the use of eRx or qualifying for an exemption in 2011. View the full report.
 

ACC Weighs in on Registries and Medicare PQRS
The ACC recently offered expertise on the implementation of recently passed legislation that would allow successful participants in clinical registries to be considered successful participants in the Medicare PQRS. The letter also addresses the overall role for registries in quality reporting and improvement programs. "CMS has great latitude in implementation and we hope that CMS uses this opportunity to establish a strong foundation that can be built upon for future expansion of the use of clinical registries for quality measurement and improvement," the letter notes. A second letter addresses a proposed rule for Medicare and Medicaid regulatory provisions. While there are concerns with changes made to the governance system for hospitals, the College expressed support for a CMS proposal to change the supervision requirements for the preparation of radiopharmaceuticals and a clarifying change to the ordering of outpatient services within a hospital. "We appreciate the efforts of CMS to attempt to reduce regulatory burdens if they do not contribute to safety or quality," writes the College.
 
 
Ways to Overcome Health Care System Chaos in New CSWN Issue
The American health care system has never been at a more dramatic crossroads, according to an article in the latest issue of CardioSource WorldNews. According to the Physicians Foundation, the top issues doctors are concerned about are: 1) uncertainty about the Affordable Care Act, 2) practice consolidation, 3) the impact of 30 million newly insured patients, 4) a decline in physician autonomy, and 5) rising administrative burdens. "This change is mammoth, it is historic, and it affects everyone's life involved in health care," said Immediate Past President William Zoghbi, MD, MACC. Read more about these and suggestions to overcome the turmoil in the health care system.
 

Were You in A Graduate or Fellowship Program Between 1995 and 2005?

In 2010, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced the exemption of medical residents from Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) taxes based on the student exception for tax periods ending before April 1, 2005, when new IRS regulations went into effect. Since the announcement, the IRS has contacted hospitals and universities as well as medical residents who filed FICA refund claims for these periods with more information and procedures, and many ACC members have already received their reimbursements. Those who were in a residency/fellowship program in the U.S. between 1995 and 2005 are encouraged to contact their respective program's office of graduate medical education to see if they qualify for the tax refund claim. Read more.


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a Class I recall of Guardian II and Guardian II NC Hemostasis Valves (Model Numbers 8210, 8211, 8215, 8216) manufactured by Vascular Solutions Inc. The Agency notified health care professionals that serious adverse health consequences, including death, could occur due to the potential for an air embolism. Products that were manufactured and distributed between February 2012 and February 2013 are affected. Ahead of the FDA recall, Vascular Solutions sent an "Urgent Medical Device Recall" notice to its customers warning about the risk. Read the FDA alert. To receive immediate FDA-approved cardiovascular drug alerts and related safety information, visit www.ACC.pdr.netRegistration is free for ACC members. Follow @Cardiology on Twitter to stay up-to-date.
 

May 15 Marks First Webinar in ACC Series on Practice Improvement
With the onslaught of public reporting, it is incumbent on providers to not only understand what data is publicly reported but where to find, analyze and challenge it. While private payer report cards have been around for a while, the introduction of CMS’ Quality and Resource Use Report leaves many unanswered questions. Learn how to identify the sources of public reporting, make sense of the data presented and identify mechanisms to challenge their data during an upcoming webinar on “Preparing Your Practice for Public Reporting and Transparency” hosted by the ACC’s Council on Clinical Practice. The first webinar in the three-part series will be held May 15 at 2 p.m. ET. Register now.
 

ACC Member Value Column: Member Sections, Councils and Committees
ACC members have the unique opportunity to connect with peers in specific member groups focused on the stage of their career or area of specialty. Sections focused on topics like Sports and Exercise Cardiology, Geriatric Cardiology or Women in Cardiology allow ACC members to create a smaller network within the large association. ACC Member Sections continue to grow and thrive, hitting a new high this year with over 16,000 paid section members, and nine member sections, plus more coming soon!
 

New on the ACC in Touch Blog
Check out the ACC’s Blog at blog.cardiosource.org for multiple posts each week on hot topics. Stay tuned to the Blog in the coming weeks for a new look and more great content. Here are some of the hottest posts from the last month:
·      Joseph G. Cacchione, MD, FACC, in an April 16 post, discussed physician reimbursement challenges.
·      BOG Chair David May, MD, FACC writes about the release of the 2014 budget by President Obama in an April 12 post, and comments on his views of a single payer health care system as a Republican in an April 23 post.
·      Oklahoma Governor Michael Scherlag, MD, FACC gives his take on the future of renal denervation in an April 9 post.
·      Andrew Freeman, MD, FACC writes about the “ultimate patient-centered care” mobile application – the ACC’s CardioSmart Explorer App in his April 4 post.
 

ACC.13 is Over – But the Science and News Remain!
It’s been a few weeks since ACC.13 in San Francisco wrapped, but the news and science from the meeting remains. Check out all of the happenings from ACC.13 on CardioSource here. The comprehensive digital library with more than 400 hours of presentations from the meeting is now available. Get iScience, the Meeting on Demand ™ program, to check out the sessions you missed.


Special ACC Partnership Helps You Save on Medical Liability Coverage
Founded by doctors for doctors, The Doctors Company has partnered with the ACC to provide discounts on medical liability coverage for ACC members. The Doctors Company provides a unique combination of coverage features, aggressive claims defense, superior protection, and unrivaled rewards, including the Tribute® Plan, a groundbreaking financial benefit that rewards members for their loyalty and commitment to outstanding patient care. Visit CardioSource.org/TheDoctorsCompany to get a no-obligation quote and more information.


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 UnitedHealthCare Preauthorization Requirements Set to Kick-In on July 1
Starting on July 1, UnitedHealthcare (UHC) will begin requiring preauthorization for their Commercial Plans for the following cardiovascular procedures: echocardiography, stress echocardiography, electrophysiologic implant devices, and diagnostic cardiac catheterization.  Currently, UHC mandates pre-notification pre-authorization for these procedures for the payer’s Medicare Advantage plans.  Pre-authorization can be obtained through its vendor, CareCore National.  UHC will not reimburse for any service not pre-authorized.
 
UHC will also change its existing pre-notification obligation to pre-authorization on July 1. This change will allow UHC through CareCore to deny authorization requests not meeting the UHC/CareCore clinical criteria and will impact nuclear cardiology, CT, MR, and PET requests.  To review the UHC notice and program terms, visit:  UHC Network Bulletin.
 
The ACC is dedicated to ensuring practice guidelines and AUC developed by the College are implemented consistently across-the-board while leaving the final testing and treatment decisions to the treating physician. The College will continue to urge UHC and other payers to use these documents to determine consistent medical coverage.  If you and your practice are experiencing difficulties and inappropriate pre-authorization denials, contact ACC Advocacy for assistance atadvocacy@acc.org. Read more on CardioSource.org.
April 2013

ACC Testifies on MitraClip

The ACC and The Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) on March 20 testified before the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA’s) Circulatory System Devices Panel of the Medical Devices Advisory Committee. In a day-long hearing, the panel examined Abbott Vascular Inc.’s pre-market approval application for the MitraClip® System and its use in patients who are considered too high risk for open mitral valve surgery. After listening to numerous accounts from experts, patients and Abbott, the advisory panel voted in favor of approval. John Carroll, MD, FACC, and Fred Edwards, MD, FACC underscored the importance of appropriate patient selection and heart team collaboration in treating this inoperable patient population, and addressed the role registries play in post-market surveillance. The ACC and STS earlier submitted joint comments that provided valuable guidance for the panel to take into account during its decision making. The FDA’s decision will be closely monitored and updates will be communicated via CardioSource.org, the ACC Advocate and @Cardiology on Twitter.

ACC Weighs in on FDA's Drug Shortage Plan

The College recently provided formal input to the FDA on its plan to address shortages of drugs and biologics. As part of the reauthorization of the Prescription Drug User Fee Act, the FDA is required to create a plan addressing the alarming number of drug shortages that currently exist. The FDA decided to expand this effort to include potential shortages of biologics, as well and put together a task force to make recommendations to Agency leadership regarding improvements in procedures and other potential changes to address current problems. To assist in its work, the Task Force sought input from stakeholders regarding potential problem areas and improvements. Given the troublesome shortages affecting cardiology patients today, the College weighed in and will continue to work diligently on this issue. More information on the FDA's drug shortages initiative, including a list of drugs currently experiencing shortages and FDA recommendations, can be found here.

Were You in A Graduate or Fellowship Program Between 1995 and 2005?

In 2010, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced the exemption of medical residentsfrom Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) taxes based on the student exception for tax periods ending before April 1, 2005, when new IRS regulations went into effect. Since the announcement, the IRS has contacted hospitals and universities as well as medical residents who filed FICA refund claims for these periods with more information and procedures, and many ACC members have already received their reimbursements. Those who were in a residency/fellowship program in the U.S. between 1995 and 2005 are encouraged to contact their respective program's office of graduate medical education to see if they qualify for the tax refund claim. Read more.

May 1 Signals Changes to Ordering/Referring Process

After a lengthy delay, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that, beginning on May 1, it will implement edits to prevent payment for services ordered or referred by providers not enrolled in the Medicare program. The policy was first announced in 2009 and was delayed amid the numerous concerns raised by the ACC, the American Medical Association and others. Enrollment does not require that providers be participating in the Medicare program, merely that their information is contained within CMS’ provider database. The ACC recommends that cardiologists check their Medicare provider enrollment information to ensure it is current and accurate. For details on the changes, additional ACC recommendations and a sample letter for referral sources, visit CardioSource.org.

Sequester Cuts Slated for April 1

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that the effects of the sequester will begin to impact physician and hospital payments for Medicare services on April 1. As a result of the requirements, the Medicare portion of the payments will be reduced by 2 percent. The patient portion should not be reduced as a result of this requirement; therefore, copays will not be impacted. As a matter of rule, Medicare pays 80 percent of an allowed charge and the patient portion is 20 percent, although that portion is often covered by Medigap or secondary insurance. CMS also confirmed that contractors will not be issuing new fee schedules. The College has requested further clarification on how this policy will effect payments in the long term and will continue to communicate with CMS.

New Research from CardioSurve on Patient-Centered Care

Immediate Past ACC President William Zoghbi, MD, MACC called for a strong focus on patient-centered care during his tenure, and the March issue of the CardioSurve newsletter could not be more timely. The four-page newsletter features articles touching on new patient-focused research done through CardioSurve surveys over the past few months. CardioSurve is managed by ACC Market Intelligence staff and goes out to a panel of more than 300 U.S. cardiologists each month with questions on various health care topics. Take a look at the newest issue here.

Wise Words, Many Thanks from ACC Leaders at ACC.13

ACC’s presidential duties were passed on from William Zoghbi, MD, MACC to John Gordon Harold, MD, MACC at ACC.13 in San Francisco, and both leaders shared their thoughts, wise words and gratitude during their convocation addresses. Read more about their vision for the future and what they said to the new FACC and AACCs here.

ACC Member Value Column: A Focus on CardioSmart

CardioSmart, the ACC’s patient education and empowerment initiative sets out to help individuals prevent, treat and manage cardiovascular disease. Here’s how CardioSmart is making a difference in the lives of your patients – and why ACC members should take a second look:

  • Members can sign up for CardioSmartTV for free – adding an exciting new element to patient waiting rooms with television content about heart disease education and healthy lifestyle choices. Sign up here.
  • The initiative’s home on the web, CardioSmart.org, was re-launched at ACC.13 with a number of upgraded features including more than 30 condition centers – available in both English and Spanish (and soon, Arabic!) – as well as site personalization and interaction with peers in new online communities.
  • Mobile applications make educating your patients and ensuring they have all of the support they need easy! CardioSmart offers two free texting streams – CardioSmartTXT QUIT for those looking to stop smoking and CardioSmartTXT PREVENT for patients seeking tips to prevent heart disease. A new Med Reminder app helps patients take medications as prescribed, and the CardioSmart Explorer app is a great way to bring heart conditions to life for your patients.

For more on all of the benefits of ACC’s CardioSmart initiative, visit CardioSmart.org. Other ACC member benefits are online here.

New on the ACC in Touch Blog:

Check out the ACC’s Blog at blog.cardiosource.org for multiple posts each week on hot topics. Here are some of the newest posts:

  • ACC Board of Governors Chair David May, MD, PhD, FACCshared a link to the video of the House Ways and Means Committee Health Subcommittee meeting on MedPAC’s annual March report to Congress.
  • Gerard R. Martin, MD, FACC, chair of the ACC’s Adult Congenital and Pediatric Cardiology Council touched on collaboration ACC has with the annual Congenital Heart Advocacy Day, led by the Adult Congenital Heart Association (ACHD) . Martin shared a quote from Barbara DeMaria, an ACHA parent ambassador, about her experience in raising a song with CHD.  “There is still much work to do – and more Advocacy Days to be had – but working together I am confident that we can continue to make progress in the treatment of congenital heart disease patients, like DeMaria’s son, all along the care continuum,” he said.
  • A March 15 Blog post focused on Twitter and social media at the very successful ACC.13 meeting in San Francisco. BOG Chair David May, MD, PhD, FACC said that ACC.13 was “the most ‘connected’ meeting to date with more than 5 million impressions worldwide.”
  • New ACC President John Gordon Harold, MD, MACC talks about his path to ACC presidency on the “shoulders of giants” like mentor Dr. Jeremy Swan in a March 12 post.

ACC.13 is Over – But the Science and News Remain!

It’s been a few weeks since ACC.13 in San Francisco wrapped, but the news and science from the meeting remains. Check out all of the happenings from ACC.13 and TCT@ACC-i2 on CardioSource here. The comprehensive digital library with more than 400 hours of presentations from the meeting is now available.Get iScience, the Meeting on Demand ™ program, to check out the sessions you missed.

Special ACC Partnership Helps You Save on Medical Liability Coverage

Founded by doctors for doctors, The Doctors Company has partnered with the ACC to provide discounts on medical liability coverage for ACC members. The Doctors Company provides a unique combination of coverage features, aggressive claims defense, superior protection, and unrivaled rewards, including the Tribute® Plan, a groundbreaking financial benefit that rewards members for their loyalty and commitment to outstanding patient care. Visit CardioSource.org/TheDoctorsCompany to get a no-obligation quote and more information.

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 the ACC.13 Annual Meeting @ACC_2013 as well as 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.

February 2013

New AUC Methodology and ICD/Cardiac Resynchronization AUC Released

The American College of Cardiology (ACC) has released changes to the process for developing appropriate use criteria (AUC), including changes to frequently misinterpreted terminology for describing the levels of appropriateness of care. Under the updated methodology, published on Feb. 21 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, appropriateness of procedures or use of imaging for specific populations will be described as "appropriate," "may be appropriate," or "rarely appropriate." The new terminology and definitions more accurately reflect how AUC should be used for quality improvement and clinically, including consideration for physician judgment, measurement of patterns of use over time and the potential hazard of applying inflexible rules to individual patient situations," said AUC Writing Committee Chair and lead author Robert C. Hendel, MD, FACC. The new terminology will be applied in development of all subsequent appropriate use criteria. The first new AUC document using the new terms was released on Feb. 28 and is focused on implantable cardiac defibrillators and cardiac resynchronization. Learn more on CardioSource.org.

ACC.13 is Around the Corner; Prep with New Meeting Tools

The ACC.13 eMeeting Planner App and Online Planner tools are available to easily explore sessions, presentations and speakers. In addition, you can browse PDFs of the sessions — by day or by pathway —in order to easily plan your itinerary. Learn more about all the planning tools available to help you make the most of ACC.13! Also plan to follow the ACC on Twitter, Facebook and the ACC in Touch Blog for the latest news and discussions related to the meeting. Coverage of the meeting will be available here, as well.

Special Session at ACC.13 for Military/Public Health Members

Are you a Department of Defense, Veterans Affairs (VA) or Public Health member? Attend a special breakout session just for you on March 10 from 12 – 2 p.m. at ACC.13, hosted by the ACC Board of Governors. Topics will include the future of VA Cardiac Implantable Electrophysiology Device Management, the Million Hearts initiative, and a panel discussion concerning the transition from military to civilian practice. The meeting will include lunch and will be held at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis in room Golden Gate C1. RSVP here or contact Ashton Futral with questions.

ACC Goes Mobile

With the increase in use of technologies such as Smartphones, tablets and e-readers, the ACC has developed several mobile resources to help both CV professionals and patients. Highlights of each app are as follows:

  • The new CardioSmart Explorer App is free to ACC members and is now also available to the general public for a nominal fee (to download the App click here). The app is available for the iPad 2 and is designed to help explain medical conditions and procedures to patients at the point of care.
  • The new ACC Connect App for members is available for both iOS (iPhone, iPad, and iTouch) and Android devices, and allows cardiovascular professionals to stay connected through their electronic devices. Features include a searchable member and ACC staff directory, the ability to update individual contact information, news feeds from the ACC, and access to important ACC phone numbers. To download on an iOS device, click here.
  • The ACC also offers ways to review CardioSource.org content via iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, Android and Blackberry through the CardioSource Mobile App.
  • Several of ACC’s print publications feature apps including the JACC iPad edition App; the Cardiology magazine App available for the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch; and the CardioSource World News App for the iPad. Other mobile resources include heart songs and ACCEL.
  • The free CardioSmart Med Reminder app is designed to help patients take their medications as prescribed in addition to serving as a personal medication record (PMR) to help patients communicate to their health care providers about medications.
  • Coming soon: The Anticoag Evaluator App will debut at ACC.13. The app, a product of the new Anticoagulation Initiative, is designed to help calculate patient bleeding and stroke risk, as well as help clinicians choose antithrombotic therapy options based on clinical trials (ACTIVE-A, RE-LY, ROCKET-AF, ARISTOTLE).

Health Insurance Exchanges on the Horizon

Starting Jan. 1, 2014 all states must have fully operational Health insurance exchanges in place. Health insurance exchanges, also known as HIXs or marketplaces, will be a one stop shop for all individuals and small businesses to compare and choose among an array of affordable, comprehensive options, and purchase health insurance plans. The states have been preparing for these exchanges since the Affordable Care Act was enacted in 2010 and have had a choice to opt for a state based exchange, federally facilitated exchange or a partnership exchange. The exchanges will certify and offer plans that cover the 10 categories of essential health benefits (EHBs) required as part of the ACA. The proposed rule for the EHBs was released in November 2012 and the final rule is expected soon.

Cardiology Teams Up Against Cuts to Medicare, Research and Review Process

The ACC and the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) recently sent a letter to President Barack Obama taking aim at the “triple threat” of across the board cuts to Medicare, the research infrastructure, and the drug and device review process that both cardiology and oncology face. Without stable federal funding, continued advances in diagnostics, drug and device therapies, prevention and public education for cardiovascular disease and cancer—the two leading causes of death in the U.S.—are in jeopardy. The College and ASCO reconfirmed support for a reformed Medicare physician payment system that ensures cost-effective quality care for patients nationwide.

"Ever Expanding Digital Age" Prompts Changes to HIPAA

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) this month released privacy and security updates to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). While the previous law primarily focused on ensuring providers and health plans protected health information, the latest changes extend these requirements to "business associates" including contractors and subcontractors. Additionally, the updates detail requirements for reporting Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) breaches to HHS. As a follow-up, HHS released sample business associate agreement language for bringing contracts into compliance with the updated rule. For covered entities and business associates, the compliance deadline for most requirements is Sept. 23, 2013. Changes to existing agreements must be made by September 2014.

ACC President Focuses on An Opportunity to Shape the Future

In the February President’s Page, published in the Feb. 5 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC), William A. Zoghbi, MD, FACC, highlights the history, principles, and concerns surrounding public reporting, opportunities for registries and professional societies moving forward, and why it’s time to engage. “Armed with valid and robust data, meaningful performance measures, and a commitment to continuous improvement, cardiovascular specialists and the care teams that assist them will be well-prepared to thrive in an era of public reporting and to lead the way toward a more transparent, and healthier, health care system,” writes Zoghbi.

New Data Standards Released for ACS and CAD

Key elements and definitions for the clinical management of patients with acute coronary syndromes (ACS) and coronary artery disease (CAD) were published in JACC this month. The new clinical data standards aim to standardize terminology and help improve transfer of health data for research initiatives, clinical registries, structured reporting, and use within electronic health records to enhance effective communication among health care professionals. Complete coverage is available here.

Effects of Sunshine on the Health of Cardiology

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently released the long-awaited final regulation implementing the Physician Payment Sunshine Act, also referred to as the PPSA or Sunshine Act. The rule, passed as part of the Affordable Care Act, requires public reporting by manufacturers of medical products and group purchasing organizations (GPOs) of all payments or transfers of value to physicians and teaching hospitals, as well as ownership or investment interests held by physicians or immediate family members of physicians in such manufacturers and GPOs. Although required by Congress to implement the law and begin data collection by Jan. 1, 2012, the lengthy delays in the release of the proposed and then final regulations by CMS mean that data collection will not begin until Aug. 1, 2013, delaying reporting by applicable manufacturers and GPOs to CMS until March 31, 2014 and public reporting until Sept. 30, 2014. Get the details on who the law applies to, what must be reported, the impact on research, how the rule will impact ACC involvement, and more.

Report Highlights Cost of Freezing SGR

Budget and Economic projections for 2013-2023, released by the Congressional Budget Office recently, shed light on the true cost of a ten year freeze of the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR). The updated projection stands at $138 billion, more than $100 billion below earlier estimates. This steep drop stems from lower than expected Medicare physician spending growth. Read the full report.

Medicare Audit Efforts Escalate

A report released by CMS unveiled a significant jump in recovery efforts by Medicare Audit Contractors (RAC) from 2010 to 2011. For fiscal year 2011, RACs returned $488 million in improper payments to the Medicare Trust Fund. While almost $500 million was actually returned, RACs identified and corrected overpayments and underpayments of $939 million in 2011 compared to $92 million in 2010. In addition to Medicaid and Medicare Part D, RAC efforts are expected to expand to Medicare Part C this summer. Learn more about RACs on CardioSource.org.

Have You Put Choosing Wisely into Practice?

The College is interested in hearing from you about how the Choosing Wisely® campaign, an initiative of the ABIM Foundation that aims to spark conversations about appropriate care between physicians and patients, is affecting the way you practice. Are you having more conversations with your patients about avoiding unnecessary care? How are those conversations playing out, and how are they being received by patients? What is working well, and what—if anything—is proving to be more challenging? Please share your story by emailing advocate@acc.org. Read more about the success of the campaign.

FDA Approves IDE for ACC and STS to Study Alternative Approaches to TAVR

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted an investigational device exemption (IDE) to the American College of Cardiology (ACC) and The Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) to conduct a study assessing alternative access approaches for transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR). Currently, only the transfemoral approach to TAVR using the Edwards SAPIEN valve and, in some cases, the transapical approach have been approved in the U.S. However, an estimated one out of four patients are not eligible for this approach due to inadequate vessel size, vessel disease and/or other anatomical considerations. The IDE – the first-ever filed for by either organization – will assess the safety and effectiveness of alternative access approaches (i.e. axillary, transapical, transaortic, subclavian/axillary) in these patients with severe aortic stenosis who are inoperable or extreme risk patients where transfemoral insertion is contraindicated. Read more on CardioSource.org.

Revamped CardioSmart.org Launched This Month

CardioSmart.org rolled out its revamped collection of digital tools and resources this month designed to help individuals prevent, treat and manage cardiovascular disease. The updated new site includes more than 30 robust cardiovascular condition centers, available in English and Spanish, that guide patients through each stage of their journey including causes, symptoms and treatments. Users can personalize their page by identifying topic areas of interest and by saving noteworthy news or questions to ask their doctor to their dashboard. CardioSmart.org tools such as Find a Drug, Preparing for Your Next Appointment and Ask an Expert enhance the patient-provider relationship. Users can set goals with their care team and track progress using our weight, waist, blood pressure, and activity trackers and our heart risk, BMI and cholesterol calculators. Users can also connect with peers on our online communities, take heart healthy challenges, earn CardioSmart points and spend them in our CardioSmart Store.

Important Deadline Approaching PQRS

March 14 is the deadline to participate in the CMS 2012 Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS). You can still use the ACC PQRIwizard to submit your data. The 2012 PQRS incentive payment is equal to 0.5 percent of allowed charges for Part B covered services. Learn more.

Special ACC Partnership Helps You Save on Medical Liability Coverage

Founded by doctors for doctors, The Doctors Company has partnered with the ACC to provide discounts on medical liability coverage for ACC members. The Doctors Company provides a unique combination of coverage features, aggressive claims defense, superior protection, and unrivaled rewards, including the Tribute® Plan, a groundbreaking financial benefit that rewards members for their loyalty and commitment to outstanding patient care. Visit CardioSource.org/TheDoctorsCompany to get a no-obligation quote and more information.

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 the ACC.13 Annual Meeting @ACC_2013 as well as 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 2013

ACC Gears Up to Celebrate Heart Month 2013

February is Heart Month! Don’t miss out on these engaging and exciting Heart Month activities led by the College and CardioSmart. Join the national heart health awareness movement that is being embraced by millions who share the common goal of better heart health for all women.

  • Wear Red Day Thunderclap, Sign Up Before Feb. 1: Together, we can take a stand to promote heart health for all Americans. Join the ACC’s Thunderclap and help us spread the message on a mass scale that heart disease is largely preventable. Sign up today here.
  • Feb. 1 Twitter Chat (#MyHeartChat): The ACC, the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute’s The Heart Truth® campaign and BET Networks will hold a special Twitter chat on Feb. 1. The chat will last for one hour and will focus on women’s heart disease, African American heart health disparities, and motivation for women to protect their hearts. While participating in the chat, you will be prompted to ask questions, which will be answered live by an expert from the ACC, The Heart Truth, or BET. Joanne Foody, MD, FACC, will represent the ACC. Spread the word about the chat and participate in the conversation on Feb. 1. To join the conversation, use the hashtag #MyHeartChat on Twitter.
  • Feb. 6 Red Dress Fashion Show Live Stream
    The ACC and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) have joined together to support women's heart health through The Heart Truth® Red Dress Collection 2013 Fashion Show on Feb. 6 as part of Fashion Week in New York City. The live stream will be available on The Heart Truth Facebook page.
  • Feb. 14 National Heart Health Awareness Day
    On Feb. 14, CardioSmart will team up with Diet Coke to conduct free heart risk screenings and educational awareness at major national health care institutions and academic medical centers across the U.S. For more information, visit CardioSmart.org.

CardioSmart.org Gets a Red Carpet Rollout

This February, CardioSmart.org rolls out its revamped collection of digital tools and resources designed to help individuals prevent, treat and manage cardiovascular disease. The updated new site includes more than 30 robust cardiovascular condition centers, available in English and Spanish, that guide patients through each stage of their journey including causes, symptoms and treatments. Users can personalize their page by identifying topic areas of interest and by saving noteworthy news or questions to ask their doctor to their dashboard. CardioSmart.org tools such as Find a Drug, Preparing for Your Next Appointment and Ask an Expert enhance the patient-provider relationship. Users can set goals with their care team and track progress using our weight, waist, blood pressure, and activity trackers and our heart risk, BMI and cholesterol calculators. Users can also connect with peers on our online communities, take heart healthy challenges, earn CardioSmart points and spend them in our CardioSmart Store.

ACC Criticizes CMS Payment Policy Decisions

The ACC opposed major payment policy decisions related to percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) in comments submitted to CMS on the 2013 physician fee schedule. The College urged CMS to reconsider its decisions on PCI during 2014 rulemaking. The letter also critiqued changes made to ablation values and several decisions that deviated from the recommendations of the AMA RUC. Additional review of work values for ablation procedures and TAVR refinement panels was also recommended. Read more.

Important Deadlines Approaching for E-Prescribing, EHRs and PQRS

Don't miss these upcoming deadlines:

  • Jan. 31 is the last day for physicians to submit e-prescribing hardship exemption requests to avoid the 1.5 percent payment penalty in 2013. Hardship exemption categories include:
    • The physician is unable to e-prescribe as a result of local, state or federal law or regulation.
    • The physician wrote fewer than 100 prescriptions during the period of Jan. 1-June 30, 2012.
    • The physician practices in a rural area that doesn't have sufficient high-speed Internet access.
    • The physician practices in an area that doesn't have enough pharmacies that can do e-prescribing.
  • Hardship exemption requests for the 2014 payment penalty will be accepted during a separate period this year. View e-prescribing FAQs on CardioSmart.org and visit CMS' e-prescribing website for more detailed information.
  • Feb. 28 is the last day for Medicare eligible professionals to complete attestation in order to receive an incentive payment for 2012 Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program participation. In order to qualify, you should have completed your 2012 reporting period requirements by Dec. 31, 2012. More information is available from CMS.
  • March 14 is the deadline to participate in the CMS 2012 Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS). You can still use the ACC PQRIwizard to submit your data. The 2012 PQRS incentive payment is equal to 0.5 percent of allowed charges for Part B covered services. Learn more.

How Has Choosing Wisely Affected Your Practice?

Last April, the ACC, along with eight other medical specialty societies, helped launch the Choosing Wisely® campaign by releasing a list of "Five Things Physicians and Patients Should Question" in cardiology. Choosing Wisely, an initiative of the ABIM Foundation, aims to promote conversations between physicians and patients to reduce overused or unnecessary tests and procedures not supported by evidence, and where the benefits are outweighed by potential harms. The College is interested in hearing from cardiovascular professionals about how the campaign is affecting their practice. Is there an increase in patient conversations about avoiding unnecessary care? How are those conversations playing out, and how are they being received by patients? What is working well, and what—if anything—is proving to be more challenging? Share your story by emailing advocate@acc.org. Read more about the campaign and stay tuned for more information on a CME education module, Consumer Reports patient fact sheets and the Feb. 20 roll out of additional lists from other medical specialty societies.

New Rule Protects Patient Privacy, Secures Health Information

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently released privacy and security updates to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) in an effort to help protect patient health information in an ever expanding digital age. This updates are designed to strengthen the government’s ability to enforce HIPAA, as well as enhances patient’s privacy protections. Get the details.

Upcoming HIMSS Conference to Spotlight Health IT

Professionals from across the health care spectrum will come together to discuss health IT issues and review innovative solutions designed to transform health care at the 2013 HIMSS Annual Conference and Exhibition on March 3 – 7 in New Orleans. Topics on the agenda include ICD-10, clinical business intelligence, health information exchanges, clinical engineering, innovation, meaningful use, nursing informatics, physicians' IT, and RFID and RTLS in health care. More than 300 peer-reviewed sessions, including workshops and roundtables, round out education offerings at HIMSS13. Learn more.

Fiscal Cliff Bipartisan Deal Reached

After months of watching to see how Congress would navigate the so-called "fiscal cliff," lengthy negotiations resulted in a bipartisan deal on Jan. 1 when the House of Representatives and the Senate passed the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, averting tax increases and spending cuts from simultaneously going into effect. However, a key offset included in the bill increases the overpayment recovery period for Medicare audit programs from three to five years. Although this provision has not received extensive coverage in the last couple of weeks, it has the potential to substantially impact providers. Stay tuned for details on how the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will implement this provision on the ACC in Touch Blog and CardioSource.org.

FDA Updates

Head to CardioSource.org for additional updates and the most up to date list.

  • Jan. 10: An FDA advisory panel recommended approving canagliflozin (Invokana), a novel type 2 diabetes drug. Part of a class of SGLT2 inhibitors, the drug blocks blood glucose from being reabsorbed by the kidney, expelling it via urine. If approved, canagliflozin would be the first of its kind on the market. While the panel voted 10-5 in favor of approving the drug, several concerns were raised, including early cardiovascular events and stroke. Several panelists expressed the need for a cardiovascular outcomes study before the drug is approved. The decision will head to the FDA next.
  • Jan. 3: The FDA approved the XIENCE Xpedition(TM) Everolimus Eluting Coronary Stent System, which is particularily beneficial for patients with complicated coronary anatomies. The XIENCE stents, manufactured by Abbott, are currently the only stents approved for direct stenting in the U.S.

ACC Welcomes Chief Digital Officer to Lead Digital Coordination Division

Steve Kerchner joined ACC officially on Jan. 16 as chief digital officer and senior vice president for the newly created Digital Coordination Division. Kerchner will lead the development and implementation of a new digital strategy for the ACC that ensures a unified and consistent experience across digital platforms, improves and enhances the College's digital offerings, and facilitates greater communication among stakeholders. For more on Kerchner and ACC’s digital strategy, visit CardioSource.org.

Newest ACC Magazines Now Available

The most recent issue of Cardiology magazine is now available and focuses on the value of ACC membership in terms of advocacy, quality and lifelong learning as well as across career stages and paths. Read more here. Also, you can find the newest issues of CardioSource InterventionalNews and CardioSourceWorldNews magazine online.

New on the ACC in Touch Blog:

  • A new post authored by Jeffrey L. Anderson, MD, FACC, chair, Jonathan L. Halperin, MD, FACC, chair-elect and Alice K. Jacobs, MD, FACC, immediate past chair of the ACCF/AHA Task Force on Practice Guidelines delves into the guideline development process in a Jan. 14 post.
  • ACC President William Zoghbi, MD, FACC gears up for ACC.13 in a Jan. 12 post which highlights some of the unique meeting offerings including 16 learning pathways, a robust meeting mobile application, and the launch of the revamped CardioSmart.org and the Lifelong Learning Portfolio.

Register for ACC.13 in Advance to Save!

ACC heads to San Francisco for ACC.13 and TCT@ACC-i2 on March 9 – 11. Advance registration ends Jan. 30. For more details on how to save on attending the year’s most important meeting in cardiovascular care, visit ACC.13 online.

Associate Editors for the Lifelong Learning and MOC Editorial Board Wanted

The Education Division of the American College of Cardiology (ACC) is seeking associate editors for its Lifelong Learning and MOC Editorial Board. The term will be for a minimum of a one-year appointment that will begin in March 2013. The deadline to submit applications is Feb. 1, 2013. To apply, please submit a letter of application addressing your qualifications for the position, along with a brief statement of your vision for your role as an editor, and your résumé. Letters of application should be addressed to ACC and sent via e-mail to Mary Ward at mward@acc.org. For more information on the position, visit CardioSource.org.

Special ACC Partnership Helps You Save on Medical Liability Coverage

Founded by doctors for doctors, The Doctors Company has partnered with the ACC to provide discounts on medical liability coverage for ACC members. The Doctors Company provides a unique combination of coverage features, aggressive claims defense, superior protection, and unrivaled rewards, including the Tribute® Plan, a groundbreaking financial benefit that rewards members for their loyalty and commitment to outstanding patient care. Visit CardioSource.org/TheDoctorsCompany to get a no-obligation quote and more information.

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 the ACC.13 Annual Meeting @ACC_2013 as well as 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.

December 2012

ACC President Speaks on ‘The State of Cardiology’ During Grand Rounds

During a recent Grand Rounds presentation at the Methodist Hospital System in Houston, Texas, ACC President William Zoghbi, MD, FACC, delved into the current cardiovascular landscape, including health care challenges and innovations on the horizon. Zoghbi discussed the ACC's recent Practice Census, touching on the evolution of practice ownership, electronic health record adoption and shifting demographics. Patient-centered care was also a hot topic and Zoghbi highlighted tools available through ACC's CardioSmart initiative, including the CardioSmart Explorer app (available in the app store) that's designed to enhance the clinician/patient relationship at the point-of-care.

WHO Establishes Health Targets to Combat NCDs

The World Health Organization has established nine health targets designed to combat non-communicable diseases (NCDs) worldwide. Last September, the United Nations (UN) General Assembly declared the need for global control and prevention of NCDs at the first ever UN Summit on NCDs. Since then, the ACC has played a pivotal role in the development of a plan for the global campaign to combat the diseases. On the one-year anniversary of the summit, the ACC jointly published a health policy statement with the World Heart Federation, the European Society of Cardiology and the American Heart Association that pushed for concrete targets. Two months after this call to action, the targets were finally agreed upon under the NCD alliance's tireless guidance. Moving forward, the ACC plans to leverage its 6,000 international members and 24 International Chapters to ensure success when national plans are implemented next year. For more information, or to get involved in these continuing efforts to curb the growing global burden of NCDs, contact international@acc.org.

Looking Ahead to 2013

CMS released the final 2013 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule in early November. The rule unveiled major changes in cardiology coding for next year. Of note, new CPT codes have been created to report PCI as well as bundle EP studies with ablation. Additionally, the physician work RVUs that were finalized result in physician work RVU reductions of roughly 20 percent to the family of PCI codes and roughly 27 percent to the family of EP/ablation codes. The ACCF/AMA CPT Reference Guide for Cardiovascular Coding is your one-stop resource for navigating these coding changes. Learn more and order your copy. For additional final rule details on the proposed multiple procedure payment reduction; Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) and e-prescribing participation; and more, visit CardioSource.org.

New Guidelines for SIHD Released

New, comprehensive guidelines released by the ACC Foundation (ACCF)/American Heart Association (AHA) Task Force on Practice Guidelines, in partnership with several other medical specialty societies, aim to provide physicians with a framework to optimally diagnose and manage patients with stable ischemic heart disease (SIHD). Among the topics covered: guideline-directed medical therapy as the cornerstone of treatment for most patients; how to optimally care for women and other subgroups of patients who may be more prone to complications; the use of newer imaging and diagnostic technologies; the role of catheter-based and surgical procedures in treatment; the value of patient preferences in decision making; and the need for careful follow up to monitor for progression of disease and adherence to therapy. Read more.

ACCPAC-Supported Candidates Win in November

Results are in! Over the course of the 2012 cycle, ACC's Political Action Committee (ACCPAC) supported 122 candidates throughout the country who formulate and control the policies that 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 November election results were very much in the College's favor, with over 90 percent (104) of ACCPAC-supported candidates winning their elections. Learn more about how contributing to ACCPAC is an investment in your practice, your profession and your future. Now that the elections are over, how will the new Congress shape health reform? Learn more at the Cardiovascular Summit this January, where health policy leaders, payers and other stakeholders will delve into the impacts of the elections on health reform implementation. View the agenda and reserve your spot.

New on the ACC in Touch Blog:

  • ACC President William Zoghbi, MD, FACC delves into the Evolution of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC) journals in a Nov. 19 post which also touches on the ongoing search for a new JACC editor-in-chief and the new JACC Journals presence on Facebook.

  • William R. Lewis, MD, FACC, chair of the ACC’s shared decision making work group and a member of the patient-centered care steering committee, shares his thoughts on improving outcomes through shared decision making in the latest post in the quality series by ACC Quality leaders.

  • The link between diabetes and cardiovascular disease is explored in a number of posts throughout November as part of National Diabetes Month. For example, Joanne Foody, MD, FACC, editor of CardioSmart.org, discusses the growing diabetes epidemic that is expected to impact one in three Americans by 2050 (check out a special infograph on ACC's Facebook page for other staggering statistics and share it with your patients). CardioSmart offers a number of tools to help patients manage the disease, including a collection of patient fact sheets, the CardioSmart med reminder app and the CardioSmartTXT program. Learn more about these and additional resources on the Blog.

Value-Based Payment Phase-In Coming

In 2015, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will begin phasing in payment adjustments for quality and cost of care starting with groups of 100 or more professionals who opt-in. While participation in value-based payment will be voluntary at first, CMS intends that all physicians' payments will be adjusted in 2017 using a value-based modifier. The ACC will host a webinar on Dec. 4 at 3 p.m. EST to underscore the need for practices to get ready for value-based purchasing initiatives that were outlined in the 2013 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule. Get the information, instruction and resources you need to understand the implications. Register here. Also, check out the November/December issue of Cardiology for more on this topic.

FDA Update on Zilver PTX Stent

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently announced approval of the first drug-eluting stent for use in patients with peripheral artery disease (PAD). The Zilver PTX Stent will expand treatment options for patients with PAD beyond the current options that include exercise, drug therapy, balloon angioplasty, bare-metal stenting or surgical bypass. According to Christy Foreman, director of the Office of Device Evaluation at FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health, a clinical trial "demonstrated that the Zilver is more effective than balloon angioplasty for the treatment of symptomatic peripheral artery disease in above-the-knee femoropopliteal artery." Read the complete FDA statement.

New Expert Consensus Document on Troponin Elevations

The ACC Foundation (ACCF) recently released the first Expert Consensus Document on Practical Clinical Considerations in the Interpretation of Troponin Elevations. Developed in collaboration with other leading professional societies, the document is the first comprehensive consensus document outlining clinical considerations for ordering and interpreting tests for troponin. The new document provides a framework for clinicians to interpret the results of troponin testing "in a useful mechanism-based construct." Full coverage is available on CardioSource.org.

Membership Dues Deadline Dec. 10

ACC membership renewal is due on Dec. 10. Membership provides more than $1,800 worth of benefits each year and helps cardiovascular professionals stay up-to-date on the latest in cardiovascular care and at the top of their field. Visit CardioSource.org/Dues to renew.

Newest ACC Magazines Now Available

The most recent issue of Cardiology magazine is now available and focuses on the value of ACC membership in terms of advocacy, quality and lifelong learning as well as across career stages and paths. Read more here. Also, you can find the newest issues of CardioSource InterventionalNews and CardioSourceWorldNews magazine online.

Don’t Miss CV Summit!

Cardiovascular Summit: Solutions for Thriving in a Time of Change
Las Vegas; Jan 10 – 12 , 2013

Enhance your knowledge of the evolving healthcare environment to ensure the clinical and business success of new practice models and clinical care designs. Presentations and workshops will synthesize the status of health care reform, explore strategies that will facilitate successful navigation of the maze of expected healthcare changes. Attendees can expect to learn more about finance and evolving payment models, designing a successful CV service line, creating an effective team, and leadership and governance within an organization. Register here. To see all upcoming conferences offered by the ACC, visit here.

Special ACC Partnership Helps You Save on Medical Liability Coverage

Founded by doctors for doctors, The Doctors Company has partnered with the ACC to provide discounts on medical liability coverage for ACC members. The Doctors Company provides a unique combination of coverage features, aggressive claims defense, superior protection, and unrivaled rewards, including the Tribute® Plan, a groundbreaking financial benefit that rewards members for their loyalty and commitment to outstanding patient care. Visit CardioSource.org/TheDoctorsCompany to get a no-obligation quote and more information.

Special ACC Partnership Helps You Save on Medical Liability Coverage

Founded by doctors for doctors, The Doctors Company has partnered with the ACC to provide discounts on medical liability coverage for ACC members. The Doctors Company provides a unique combination of coverage features, aggressive claims defense, superior protection, and unrivaled rewards, including the Tribute® Plan, a groundbreaking financial benefit that rewards members for their loyalty and commitment to outstanding patient care. Visit CardioSource.org/TheDoctorsCompany to get a no-obligation quote and more information.

ACC Can Help Plan Your Chapter State Advocacy Strategy

Each state, including DC and Puerto Rico, legislature will convene next year and a comprehensive advocacy strategy can ensure success in 2013. ACC’s state government relations team is available to help Chapters design their strategy in cooperation with Chapter Advocacy Council and Committee calls. Working together, the collaboration will help to identify key issues and determine how best to communicate the Chapter's concerns to lawmakers. Contact Frank Ryan, Jim Boxall, and Saiza Elayda to begin strategizing.

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 the ACC.13 Annual Meeting @ACC_2013 as well as 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.

October 2012

State of the States Reports due Nov. 1

Attached you will find the October edition of ACC News You Can Use. You can incorporate these short news pieces into your Chapter newsletters, emails and/or websites. These news items provide updates on key ACC initiatives, research or legislative efforts; new or upcoming educational programs, webinars or products; and hot topic ACC in Touch Blog or CardioSource Community discussions. As always, ACC corporate communications staff are at your service to assist in gathering additional information on these topics or more news items. Please contact Autumn Niggles with any questions, comments or suggestions.

ACC Returns to the White House

In early October, ACC member and Washington, DC, Chapter Governor Stuart Seides, MD, FACC, joined several physician specialist groups at the White House to discuss delivery system transformation. Several of President Obama's top health care advisors joined the discussion, including Richard Gilfillan, MD, director of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, Jeanne Lambrew, deputy assistant to the president for health policy, Jon Blum, deputy administrator and director of Medicare at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and Nancy Nielsen, MD, PhD, senior advisor to the Secretary of Health and Human Services. During the course of the discussion, Seides had the opportunity to highlight the exciting programs the College has implemented that achieve both improved care coordination and high quality efficient health care, including the Imaging in FOCUS initiative, the National Cardiovascular Data Registry (NCDR®) and PINNACLE Registry®, and the SMARTCare program.

Multiple Procedure Payment Reduction in Proposed Rule

The recently released CMS 2013 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Proposed Rule includes an expansion of multiple procedure payment reduction (MPPR) policy that would negatively impact payment by imposing a 25 percent payment reduction on the technical component for the less expensive service if more than one service is provided on the same day to the same patient. The ACC has reviewed the expanded MPPR policy and believes a payment reduction is not the appropriate course of action. Thanks to the grassroots efforts of ACC members, 60 members of Congress recently signed on to a House Energy and Commerce Committee Members Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and John Barrow (D-GA) to CMS Acting Administrator Marilyn Tavenner opposing the proposed MPPR expansion. CMS’ decision will be part of the final rule, which is due out in late October/early November. Stay tuned to The ACC Advocate newsletter for details.

New CathPCI Registry Report Provides View of U.S. Usage

In an effort to provide a perspective on current use and outcomes of invasive cardiac procedures, a new report using data from the NCDR's® CathPCI Registry® was published on Oct. 17 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. The report provides a contemporary snapshot of diagnostic cardiac catheterization and percutaneous coronary interventions (PCI) performed in the U.S. To understand the impact of the 2012 Focused Update on the CathPCI Registry AUC metrics, visit www.ncdr.com/cathpci/auc.

Blog Post Focuses on Readmission Penalties

The unintended consequences of readmission penalties are explored in a recent ACC in Touch Blog post. Judy Tingley, MPH, RN, member of the ACC's Clinical Quality Committee, warns health care professionals to brace for impact following the CMS readmission payment penalties that went into effect on Oct. 1. This early in the game, the consequences of these financial penalties on more than 2,200 hospitals with readmission rates above the national averages are "yet to be determined." However, it's clear that "safety net" hospitals will be impacted the most. ACC's Hospital to Home (H2H) program is hard at work to reduce all-cause readmissions among patients with heart failure or acute myocardial infarction in hospitals across the country. Read more about readmissions and H2H.

NCDR® As a Model for Success

A new paper published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology focuses on the need for enhanced data validation as the use of registry data expands, and specifically looks at the Data Quality Program developed by the ACC's National Cardiovascular Data Registry (NCDR®) as a model for success. Under the program, which was created to ensure the completeness, consistency, and accuracy of data submitted to NCDR registries, data are filtered through a data quality report using registry-specific algorithms that require predetermined levels of completeness and consistency before being included in a registry. Next, internal quality assurance protocols enforce data standards before reporting. Finally, 300 to 625 records per registry are audited annually within 25 randomly identified sites. Moving forward, "the objective of the next generation of quality assurance is to ensure quality through a rapid learning system that combines mutually supporting components within the NCDR," the authors note. Read the full article.

Membership Dues Deadline Coming Soon

ACC membership renewal is due on Dec. 10. Membership provides more than $1,800 worth of benefits each year and helps cardiovascular professionals stay up-to-date on the latest in cardiovascular care and at the top of their field. Visit CardioSource.org/Dues to renew.

PCORI Seeking Research Input

As part of its effort to refine its research agenda, The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) is offering health care professionals and other interested parties the chance to submit research recommendations based on their own health care questions. Offer ideas on PCORI's website.

New CardioMetabolic Health Alliance Formed

The American College of Cardiology, the National Minority Quality Forum (NMQF), and the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists have joined forces to launch the CardioMetabolic Health Alliance. The objective of the Alliance is to improve cardiometabolic risk factor control in diverse populations, including high blood pressure, elevated fasting blood sugar, dyslipidemia, abdominal obesity (waist circumference) and elevated triglycerides; and to provide more effective and coordinated care for people with established cardiometabolic disorders. Learn more about the Alliance in a new ACCinTouch Blog post from Gary Puckrein, PhD, president and CEO of NMQF.

Committee and Council Applications due Oct. 31

The College is accepting nominations and applications for committee and council membership now through Oct. 31. All ACC Fellows (FACC/MACCs), Fellows-in-Training (FITs), Cardiac Care Associates (CCAs) and Cardiovascular Administrators are invited to nominate a colleague or apply for membership. As a member-driven organization, major activities at the ACC are led and decided by members in groups like the College’s committees and councils. ACC Committees represent issues that permeate all areas and specialties of cardiovascular care but align with one of the College’s core areas including advocacy, quality, education or membership. Councils are focused member groups that advise the Board of Trustees and focus on a broad range of issues within their specialty or clinical area. To get involved, apply online at services.acc.org/CommitteeNominations.

ACC CEO Search Underway

The College is now soliciting applications for the Chief Executive Officer with the first interviews beginning in early December. Read the full job description here. The College has selected Korn/Ferry International to work with the College's Search Committee.

Newest ACC Magazines Now Available

The most recent issue of Cardiology magazine is now available and features an overview of ACC efforts to develop an overarching digital strategy. Read more here. Also, you can find the newest issues of CardioSource InterventionalNews and CardioSourceWorldNews magazine online.

Don’t Miss These Upcoming ACC Meetings

From one side of the U.S. to the other, these two upcoming ACC meetings offer insight into advanced science and tools to navigate the changing landscape of cardiovascular practice. To see all upcoming conferences offered by the ACC, visit here.

  • NY Cardiovascular Symposium:
    New York City; Dec. 7 – 9

    Examine the most advanced methods and technologies available to treat cardiovascular disease at this three-day conference, directed by Valentin Fuster, MD, PhD, MACC. The event features a distinguished group of cardiovascular experts who will discuss and debate cutting-edge issues that impact your profession and your practice. Register here.

  • Cardiovascular Summit: Solutions for Thriving in a Time of Change
    Las Vegas; Jan 10 – 12 , 2013

    Enhance your knowledge of the evolving healthcare environment to ensure the clinical and business success of new practice models and clinical care designs. Presentations and workshops will synthesize the status of health care reform, explore strategies that will facilitate successful navigation of the maze of expected healthcare changes. Attendees can expect to learn more about finance and evolving payment models, designing a successful CV service line, creating an effective team, and leadership and governance within an organization. Register here.

Special ACC Partnership Helps You Save on Medical Liability Coverage

Founded by doctors for doctors, The Doctors Company has partnered with the ACC to provide discounts on medical liability coverage for ACC members. The Doctors Company provides a unique combination of coverage features, aggressive claims defense, superior protection, and unrivaled rewards, including the Tribute® Plan, a groundbreaking financial benefit that rewards members for their loyalty and commitment to outstanding patient care. Visit CardioSource.org/TheDoctorsCompany to get a no-obligation quote and more information.

ACC Can Help Plan Your Chapter State Advocacy Strategy

Each state, including DC and Puerto Rico, legislature will convene next year and a comprehensive advocacy strategy can ensure success in 2013. ACC’s state government relations team is available to help Chapters design their strategy in cooperation with Chapter Advocacy Council and Committee calls. Working together, the collaboration will help to identify key issues and determine how best to communicate the Chapter's concerns to lawmakers. Contact Frank Ryan, Jim Boxall, and Saiza Elayda to begin strategizing.

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 the ACC.13 Annual Meeting @ACC_2013 as well as 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.

September 2012

ACC Celebrates World Heart Day

This September the ACC celebrated the World Heart Federation’s World Heart Day with educational outreach and events. The College provided educational awareness of the global effect of heart disease, plus educational and social events for staff and a community outreach event focusing on the theme of women/children’s heart health. Some of the events included a special Heart Café for ACC staff at Heart House in Washington, DC; a special Twitter Chat focused on women’s heart health; and tie-ins to the local Houston community taking part in the first of four Spirit of the Heart events with the Association of Black Cardiologists this year An archive of the Twitter chat, which featured representatives from CardioSmart, the National Heart Lung and Blood Institutes, Million Hearts™ and Healthfinder.gov, is available on the ACC’s Facebook page. For more on Spirit of the Heart events, go to CardioSmart.org

AFib Awareness Month

As part of September’s Atrial Fibrillation (AFib) Awareness Month, the ACC launched an Atrial Fibrillation Toolkit to provide tools and strategies for the patient care team to support high-quality care for patients with AFib. In addition, the ACCinTouch Blog featured a series of blog posts highlighting AFib all month authored by ACC leaders like Richard Kovacs, MD, FACC and ACC President William Zoghbi, MD, FACC. Visit ACC's special AFib Facebook tab for a collection of AFib resources. For more on ACC’s AFib tools and resources, click here.

Spirit of the Heart: A Community Call to Action to Prevent Heart Disease

CardioSmart and the Association of Black Cardiologists (ABC) are partnering to further both missions of patient-centered care and patient engagement, while also reaching out to local communities nationwide to promote cardiovascular health. This fall, ACC and ABC will hold several weekend Spirit of the Heart health events, which will target the nation’s minority and underserved communities, and will integrate social, economic, cultural and political dimensions specifically related to patient health. The events provide a variety of activities over a three day span, beginning with an invitation-only community leadership dinner; a health fair open to the public to include free health screenings and risk assessments; and visits by community leaders, health advocates and local ACC members to area churches to further the message of heart-healthy living. The kick off 2012 Spirit of the Heart event will be held in Houston, Texas, where ACC President William Zoghbi, MD, FACC, will deliver opening remarks during the welcome dinner. In addition, Keith Ferdinand, MD, FACC, will participate in the panel discussion. Events will also be held in Dallas where BOG Chair-Elect David C. May, MD, PhD, FACC will speak on the panel and Austin, Texas, Harlem, N.Y., and Oakland, Calif., to coincide with ACC.13 in San Francisco. For more information about the Spirit of the Heart events and to become involved, please contact Cherie Black.

New Health Policy Statement Urges Global Action to Stop Preventable CV Deaths

The Global Cardiovascular Disease Taskforce, a group of experts representing the ACC Foundation (ACCF), World Heart Federation, American Heart Association, European Heart Network and European Society of Cardiology, jointly released a health policy statement urging timely global action to save preventable death from cardiovascular disease (CVD), including heart disease and stroke. On the one year anniversary of the United Nations High-level meeting on NCDs, the taskforce this month is calling on government and the cardiovascular community to accelerate the progress on the commitments made last year and support the ten evidence-based targets, including the top four exposure targets on physical activity, tobacco, dietary salt intake and hypertension/blood pressure. By focusing on these four key targets, the goal is to achieve a number of goals by 2025. In addition, the taskforce recommends the uptake of a set of interventions designed by the World Heart Organization, which includes cost-effective treatments that can be delivered regardless of the income level of a country. These include the widespread adoption of multidrug therapy regiment of aspirin, a statin, and blood pressure-lowering agents to prevent heart disease and stroke and to treat those with, or at high risk of, heart disease and stroke. Read more on CardioSource.org.

Practice Census Reveals Continued Change in Landscape

A new ACC survey of more than 2,500 practices provides a comprehensive snapshot of the current state of cardiology. Respondents from all 50 U.S. states and Puerto Rico provide insight into the state of the cardiovascular practice today and the continuing trend towards hospital integration. According to the College’s 2012 Practice Census, while physicians remain the primary owner for the majority of cardiovascular practices, the number of physician-owned practices continues to decline, while hospital ownership is on the rise. Compared to 2007 when physicians owned 73 percent of practices and hospitals owned 8 percent, the new data show only 60 percent of practices are now physician-owned, while 24 percent are hospital-owned. Read more from the Census here.

Registration Now Open for Upcoming Meetings

Fall brings many things – cooler weather, football and open registration for some of the year’s most exciting ACC meetings:

  • The first Sports Cardiology Summit: Protecting the Heart of the American Athlete is just around the corner on Oct. 19 and 20 at Heart House in Washington, DC. The event will focus on topics like epidemiology of sudden death, cardiac diagnostics, sports electrophysiology, exercise prescription and more.
  • Registration is now open for the 45th Annual New York Cardiovascular Symposium held Dec. 7 to 9 at the Hilton New York in New York City. The event, directed by Valentin Fuster, MD, MACC, will focus on major topics in cardiology including coronary artery disease, valvular heart disease, cardiac and electrical failure, and atrial fibrillation.
  • Registration and housing is now open for ACC.13 and TCT@ACC-i2 in San Francisco for March 9 – 11, 2013. Join thousands of colleagues and move from “discovery to delivery” during the three-day event of the year. The Call for Abstracts and Challenging Cases opens Oct. 1.
  • The Cardiovascular Summit: Solutions for Thriving in a Time of Change held Jan. 10 – 12, 2013 in Las Vegas is now open for registration. The event arms attendees with the knowledge, leadership skills and tools necessary to positively affect change in their practice environment.

Get Involved with Committee and Council Membership

The College will accept nominations and applications for committee and council membership through Oct. 31. All ACC Fellows (FACC/MACCs), Fellows-in-Training (FITs), Cardiac Care Associates (CCAs) and Cardiovascular Administrators are invited to nominate a colleague or apply for membership. ACC Committees represent issues that permeate all areas and specialties of cardiovascular care but align with one of the College’s core areas including advocacy, quality, education or membership. Councils are focused member groups that advise the Board of Trustees and focus on a broad range of issues within their specialty or clinical area. To get involved, apply online at services.acc.org/CommitteeNominations.

BOG and CCA Liaison Elections Coming This Fall

The chance to elect College and Chapter leaders is right around the corner. Board of Governors (BOG) and Cardiac Care Associate (CCA) Liaison elections open Oct. 16 and will close Nov. 13 at 5 p.m. EST. A new addition to the election cycle this year is the presence of guidelines for service as governor. The Governor Nominations Committees are equipped with these new guidelines for selection of the candidates for the position of governor to the domestic states, D.C., Puerto Rico to ensure that the elected official can fulfill his or her duties and uphold the ACC standards of leadership. CCA members can simultaneously place their vote for the next Cardiac Care Associate (CCA) Liaison in their state this fall. Visit CardioSource.org/Elections for more information and details on the election process, or contact National ACC Chapters staff at 202-375-5413.

Complex Office Visits Face Scrutiny

The ACC recently learned that Connolly, the Medicare Recovery Auditor (RAC) for Region C, has received approval to conduct in depth medical review on claims submitted for complex office visits, specifically those billed with CPT code 99215. Affected states include Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Because of the type of review being conducted, the RAC will be permitted to extrapolate their findings based on a statistical sample of such claims. It remains unclear as to whether Connolly will be auditing claims for problems with 99215 billing throughout the entire region or in a subset of the region. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) does expect to receive requests from other RACs to review for the same or similar code(s). The ACC, along with the larger physician community, raised concerns three years ago with respect to potential audits of E&M services. The College continues to raise these concerns and will work with the American Medical Association (AMA) and other physician groups to advocate on behalf of cardiologists. To learn about your region's RAC and the issues for which it has been given permission to audit, click here. Get additional information on the Medicare Recovery Auditor program.

Brush Up on Coding Requirements

The CPT book and the ACC/AMA Reference Guide for Cardiovascular Coding offer comprehensive guidance to proper coding. A key point to remember is that Outpatient Established Patient visits need two of three components and Outpatient New Patient visits need three of three components. For example, 99215 and 99205 require comprehensive history; comprehensive examination; and medical decision making of high complexity. Look out for the 2013 ACCF/AMA CPT Reference Guide for Cardiovascular Coding this fall.

Successful ACC 2012 Legislative Conference

More than 350 cardiovascular professionals descended on Capitol Hill to tackle issues facing cardiology from Sept. 9 to 11. The 21st Annual Legislative Conference kicked-off with a special dinner celebrating the 10th anniversary of ACC's Political Action Committee and remarks from Pulitzer Prize winner George Will. The conference featured a full-day of sessions that explored the state of cardiology and hot button issues in health care, followed by a day of face-to-face meetings with lawmakers. While on the Hill, attendees urged Congress to avoid further harmful health care spending cuts and reform the Medicare payment system. The College also sponsored a Congressional briefing on women's heart health in collaboration with WomenHeart. As we face another round of sustainable growth rate cuts, sequestration and potential imaging cuts, the relationships established this week will ensure the voice of cardiology is heard loud and clear in upcoming health care discussions. For full coverage of the conference, visit CardioSource and the ACC in Touch Blog.

Opportunity to Get Additional PQRS Bonus for MOC

The American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) recently announced that its Maintenance of Certification (MOC) program has been approved to give physicians who also successfully participate in the Medicare Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) an additional bonus. Physicians would be required to be successful participants in PQRS for 2012 and also complete MOC elements more frequently than required for the actual maintenance of the certification. Successful participants in PQRS in 2012 will receive a bonus equal to 0.5 percent of allowed charges — completing this program would double that bonus opportunity to 1 percent of allowed charges. The ABIM will submit information directly to CMS on successful participation in this program. Physicians still have the opportunity to participate successfully in PQRS in 2012 through the use of the PQRI Wizard. More details on the ABIM program requirements can be found here.

ACC Urges Congress on Sequestration Provision and SGR

The ACC in September signed-on to a joint letter urging Congress to nullify the Budget Control Act's sequestration provision and the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula. The letter reaffirms the medical community's commitment to high-quality, high-value, coordinated care and highlights the importance of providing a stable payment environment for health care professionals in order to propel medical innovation. Read more.

New Recommendations Expand Indications for CRT

New joint guidelines for device-based therapy of cardiac rhythm abnormalities were recently released by the ACC Foundation, American Heart Association and Heart Rhythm Society. Chief among the updates to the 2008 guidelines are expanded indications for cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) and device follow up. When it comes to CRT, the document clarifies and provides recommendations about which patients are most likely to benefit from the therapy based on recent clinical trials, such as the MADIT-CRT trial, RAFT trial, REVERSE trial and MIRACLE ICD II trial. Read more and check out the Cardiac Rhythm Management Community.

ICD Use in the Spotlight

According to press reports, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) is getting closer to wrapping up its two-year long investigation into claims for implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs). Hospitals around the country reportedly received e-mails yesterday asking them to conduct self-audits of their ICD cases and providing them with a model for resolution of the investigation. The penalties levied against each of the hospitals will vary, based on the severity of harm, prior knowledge of wrongdoing, existence of a compliance program and other such factors. To review the Medicare National Coverage Determination on ICDs, click here. Read more on CardioSource.

Readmissions Penalties Kick in Oct. 1

Hospitals will begin to have their payments adjusted based on readmission rates as of Oct. 1. This policy, implemented as part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2008, will reduce payments to hospitals by as much as 1 percent if they have particularly high readmission rates for patients with heart failure, acute myocardial infarction and pneumonia. The readmissions measures are based on performance between the middle of 2008 and the middle of 2011. Most hospitals will receive very small payment adjustments under this policy. Learn more about payment adjustments for hospitals regionally. Through the Hospital to Home program, the ACC is working to reduce unnecessary hospitalizations throughout the country. Learn more about the program here.

ICD-10 Date is Official

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) finalized a proposed one-year delay for ICD-10 compliance, officially setting the deadline to Oct. 1, 2014. HHS confirmed the deadline while announcing the establishment of a unique health plan identifier, a new health care standard that stems from the ACA. Find out what you need to know about ICD-10.

White Paper Guides CV Service Line Success

A new white paper from the ACC's Council on Clinical Practice describes the various aspects of developing and managing a successful cardiovascular (CV) Service Line. Currently, CV care accounts for a large percentage of overall health care costs. The transition from traditional fee-for-service payment models to value-based payment models has encouraged physicians and hospitals to work collaboratively to provide more efficient and less costly health care. The paper delves into the building blocks for a successful CV Service Line including, dynamic leadership, a strong but flexible organizational structure and a commitment to a physician/hospital partnership. Download the paper here.

Recap from ESC in Munich

The European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress 2012 wrapped at the end of August in Munich, Germany, and the ACC was on the scene covering the latest science. In addition to the release of the Third Universal Definition of Myocardial Infarction, hot trials included:

  • FAME 2: Fractional flow reserve-guided percutaneous coronary intervention versus optimal medical therapy in stable coronary artery disease
  • TRILOGY ACS: Prasugrel versus clopidogrel for patients with unstable angina/non-ST-elevation myocardial infarction but without revascularization
  • IABP-SHOCK II: Treatment with intra-aortic balloon counterpulsation (IABP) compared with no IABP among patients with acute myocardial infarction and cardiogenic shock
For full coverage from ESC 2012, visit the meeting coverage page on CardioSource.

Social Media Channels

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 the ACC.13 Annual Meeting @ACC_2013 as well as 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.

August 2012

BOG and CCA Liaison Elections Coming This Fall

The chance to elect College and Chapter leaders is right around the corner. Board of Governors (BOG) and Cardiac Care Associate (CCA) Liaison elections open Oct. 16 and will close Nov. 13 at 5 p.m. EST. A new addition to the election cycle this year is the presence of guidelines for service as governor. The Governor Nominations Committees are equipped with these new guidelines for selection of the candidates for the position of governor to the domestic states, D.C., Puerto Rico to ensure that the elected official can fulfill his or her duties and uphold the ACC standards of leadership. CCA members can simultaneously place their vote for the next Cardiac Care Associate (CCA) Liaison in their state this fall. Visit CardioSource.org/Elections for more information and details on the election process, or contact National ACC Chapters staff at 202-375-5413.

Cardiology Covers CV Innovation

The newest issue of Cardiology magazine is out and it focuses on the future and innovation in cardiovascular care. The cover story highlights biomarkers, robotics and stem cell therapy. The issue also highlights ACC’s commitment to quality improvement, insights on cardio-metabolic syndrome, background on appropriate use criteria and more. The online issue – also available for iPad and iPhone – features additional video and audio files.

Recent CardioSurve Research All in One Place

The July issue of the CardioSurve newsletter features data from ACC member responses to surveys on the Federal Electronic Health Record Incentive Program, clinical information channels and online resources for cardiovascular professionals, ACC’s Hospital to Home initiative, familial hypercholesterolemia and more. CardioSurve is a voluntary panel of more than 350 domestic cardiologists that respond to monthly surveys from the College.

This Month on ACC in Touch

  • ACC President William Zoghbi, MD, FACC reiterates ACC’s commitment to quality and the need for appropriate use in an ACC in Touch Blog piece. The ACC’s message comes after a New York Times piece about overuse of testing and procedures in a Florida health system published on Aug. 6.
  • Joseph P. Drozda Jr., MD, FACC, chair of the ACC’s Clinical Quality Committee and a member of the ACC Board of Trustees provides an inside look at “ACC’s Health Policy Statements — One of our Many Faces to the World” as part of a new monthly blog series by the College’s science and quality leaders.
  • Medication adherence, or lack thereof, is front and center on the CardioSmart and ACC Facebook pages. Check out the new CardioSmart medication adherence app, as well as other ACC and partner organization resources for both patients and clinicians.
  • Weren’t able to go to London for the Olympic Games? < href="https://www.facebook.com/AmericanCollegeofCardiology" target="_blank">ACC’s Facebook page and ACC in Touch Blog ran Olympic-related news and discussions from CardioSource World News and the ACC’s Sport and Exercise Council members.

AHRQ Funding Under Fire in House

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) is de-funded under a spending bill approved on July 18 by the House Labor, Health and Human Services and Education (Labor-HHS) Appropriations Subcommittee. Under the spending bill, AHRQ is eliminated and any patient-centered outcomes research and all economic research within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is prohibited. At this time, the full House Appropriations Committee has not set a date to act on the bill, and it is uncertain how far it will advance in the House. In the Senate, the Senate Appropriations Committee on June 14 approved $364 million for AHRQ’s base budget.

The ACC has long supported AHRQ and participates in a coalition that advocates for AHRQ funding, the Friends of AHRQ. Earlier this year, the ACC testified before the House Labor-HHS Appropriations Subcommittee about the importance of AHRQ and health services research, among other federal programs. The College signed a Friends of AHRQ "a href="http://www.cardiosource.org/news-media/publications/cardiology-magazine/%257E/media/Files/Advocacy/Prevention%20and%20Research/AHRQ%20HLHHS.ashx" target="_blank">joint letter to the House Appropriations Committee urging them to reject the bill that de-funds AHRQ.

Congress must act on appropriations by the new federal fiscal year on Oct. 1 to continue funding federal agencies. The ACC predicts that Congress will once again resort to enacting a continuing resolution this fall to fund programs into the new year as they have in previous years. Stay tuned to the ACC Advocate enewsletter and CardioSource.org/Advocacy for more information.

ACCF and HRS Release Statement on Pacemaker Device and Mode Selection

A state-of-the-art expert consensus statement focused on pacemaker device and mode selection was recently released by the ACC Foundation and the Heart Rhythm Society. Adult patients with sinus node dysfunction (SND), atrioventricular (AV) conduction block and other less common indications for pacing are the main emphasis. Overall, the statement recommends that patients with SND may benefit from atrial or dual-chamber pacing compared with ventricular pacing in terms of reduced risk of atrial fibrillation (AF), stroke, pacemaker syndrome and improved quality of life. It also suggests that over the long term, dual-chamber pacing may be cost-effective – although at this time costs should not be a dominant factor in determining device and/or mode selection. In patients with AV block, the panel notes that dual-chamber pacing can reduce the incidence of pacemaker syndrome and improve some indexes of quality of life compared to ventricular pacing. Visit CardioSource.org for full coverage.

Complex Coronary Cases Live from Mount Sinai Medical Center

The ACC in July launched its new monthly live case series from Mount Sinai Medical Center’s catheterization lab in New York, NY. During each of the live cases, participants learn how to discuss the rationale for choice of access site in performing percutaneous coronary intervention; detail considerations for stent selection; discuss choice of antiplatelet therapy; and demonstrate the application of large, randomized drug-eluting stent clinical trials results within an interventional clinical practice. Tune into CardioSource.org on the third Tuesday of each month at 8 a.m. ET to watch the latest case live. The cases are also archived at CardioSource.org/MtSinaiCases.

Check Out These Meeting on DemandTM Programs from July

These and other Meeting on Demand programs are available at CardioSource.org/Meetings-on-Demand: • Championing Care for the Patient with Aortic Stenosis: The Role of Cardiologists and Primary Care from Recognition to Recovery. • Innovation in Translation: Acute Coronary Syndromes • First Line of Defense: Risk Factors and Prevention in the Cardiology Practice - A Master Class for the Community Cardiologist

ACC’s Annual Legislative Conference Just Around the Corner

The 21st Annual Legislative Conference is just around the corner and will kick off with the ACC Political Action Committee (PAC) dinner and remarks from renowned columnist and commentator George Will on Sunday, Sept. 9. Will's speech titled "The Political Argument Today" will be the centerpiece of a fascinating and thought-provoking evening. Monday's sessions will explore a variety of hot topics, including the state of cardiology, pressing legislative and regulatory issues, the 2012 election and the impact of the Supreme Court decision. Attendees will head to Capitol Hill on Tuesday to meet directly with congressional leaders and share ways the cardiovascular community is navigating through rapidly changing environments and striving to provide quality, cost-effective, evidence-based care. In collaboration with WomenHeart, a special congressional briefing on atrial fibrillation and stroke in women will also take place while attendees are on the Hill on Tuesday, Sept. 11.

August JACC President's Page Explains ACC’s Global Outreach

ACC leadership explain the strategy and reasoning behind the College’s heavy global focus in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC) President’s Page out this month. “The Heart of The Matter: Why the ACC Has an International Outreach,” co-authored by ACC President William A. Zoghbi, MD, FACC, Board of Governors Chair Dipti Itchhaporia, MD, FACC and Immediate Past Chair of International Governors Huon Gray, MD, FACC, answers common questions asked of the College’s global growth strategy. “As the world seems to shrink, there has never been a time of greater opportunity to forge stronger personal and professional relationships, and break down international barriers,” they write. Read the entire piece which also delves into ACC’s work in the areas of twinning, international chapters and global registries.

ACC Document Outlines Impact of Proposed Fee Schedule

The ACC has prepared a detailed document outlining the impacts of the proposed 2013 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule and its impacts on cardiology. In particular the document provides information on proposed cuts included in the rule as part of a new transitional care management code, multiple procedure reductions for cardiology and the fourth year phase-in of the PPIS practice expense survey. Other topics addressed include e-prescribing and Physician Quality Reporting System requirements, value-based purchasing, quality and research use reports and Physician Compare. The final rule will be released in late October.

House Hearing Highlights Registries

The House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee explored physician organization efforts to promote high quality patient care during a hearing in late July. The subcommittee has held a series of hearings examining Medicare physician payment reform ideas and has invited physician organizations at the epicenter of patient care to weigh in on payment approaches that reward quality, efficiency and patient outcomes. Registries were in the spotlight during the hearing and physician groups had the opportunity to demonstrate how data is being used to drive innovation. The ACC testified before the subcommittee on Feb. 7 on several of the exciting quality improvement collaborations underway in cardiology and what lessons can be applied across the health care system to simultaneously reduce unnecessary admissions, readmissions, complications, testing and ineffective spending. Read about where else the ACC has testified in recent weeks including testimony from Past President W. Douglas Weaver, MD, MACC of Michigan and Jerry D. Kennett, MD, FACC of Missouri.

ACC Partners to Promote Wise Care Choices

ACC President William Zoghbi, MD, FACC, was recently interviewed by MedScape about the College's role in the Choosing Wisely® campaign. The ACC, along with eight other specialty societies, are original partners of the campaign, which launched this past April and aims to promote wise choices by clinicians and patients in order to improve health care outcomes, provide patient-centered care that avoids unnecessary and even harmful interventions, and reduce the increasingly high cost of health care. Each participating organization, including the ACC, has released evidence-based lists of tests and procedures for patients and physicians to question. Zoghbi talks about the ACC list, in particular, and goes into more details on the College's five recommendations for consumers and providers to question in cardiology.

Partners Unite to Stop Fraud

A new public-private partnership comprised of the federal government, state officials, leading private payers and others aims to prevent health care fraud. Sharing information and best practices is at the core of the new collaborative which utilizes tools made available in the ACA to protect health care dollars. Engaging technology to analyze data and prevent fraud before it occurs is a key component of the initiative's long-range goals. "This partnership is a critical step forward in strengthening our nation's fight against health care fraud," said Attorney General Eric Holder in a statement. "Bringing additional health care industry leaders and experts into this work will allow us to act more quickly and effectively in identifying and stopping fraud schemes, seeking justice for victims, and safeguarding our health care system." View a list of partners and get the details.

New FDA Approvals

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in late July approved a new prescription fish oil formulation (Vascepa) for the treatment of high levels of triglycerides. The drug is indicated as an adjunct to diet in adult patients with severe hypertriglyceridemia who are at risk for stroke and heart attack. The drug's triglyceride-lowering efficacy has been studied in both the ANCHOR and MARINE studies. Read more. Also in July, the FDA approved an injection for use in magnetic resonance angiography (MultiHance®) to evaluate patients with renal or aorto-ilio-femoral occlusive vascular disease. The FDA approved a stent system for the treatment of iliac artery disease (Omnilink Elite Vascular Balloon-Expandable Stent System) in early August. To receive immediate FDA-approved cardiovascular drug alerts and related safety information, visit www.ACC.pdr.net.

July 2012

Decision Reached

The long-awaited U.S. Supreme Court ruling regarding provisions in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was released on June 28. In a majority decision, the Court ruled that most of the Affordable Care Act, including its individual mandate that virtually all Americans buy health insurance, is constitutional. "Now that the decision is behind us, we can continue down the path to health care reform," said ACC President William Zoghbi, MD, FACC. "The ACC favors provisions in the law that supports preventive care, access to care, elimination of waste, and a payment system that encourages quality. Hard work remains ahead before we arrive at a sustainable payment system that emphasizes value and a strong patient-doctor relationship. The ACC remains committed to quality patient care."

What does this mean?

The ACA is the largest expansion of health care coverage since Medicare and Medicaid were initiated in the sixties. The Supreme Court decision means that efforts already underway to implement the law can and will continue. To that end, your ACC will continue to support the policies and provisions with the law that are in line with the College's overarching health care reform principles, including those that expand health care coverage, encourage preventive care, and foster innovative payment and delivery system models that reward quality and ensure value. At the same time, the College will also continue to work with Congress and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on ACA provisions that affect cardiovascular care, including the controversial Independent Payment Advisory Board and CMS implementation of the Physician Payments Sunshine Act. In addition, your ACC will also continue to advocate for fundamental payment and medical liability reforms that were not included in the ACA, but are critical for comprehensive health reform to be truly effective. There are also several regulatory proposals and legislative efforts expected in the coming months that will have major impacts on cardiology. Get the details.

FDA News

On Tuesday, the Senate voted to extend the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) User Fee Act in a vote of 92 to 4. It passed in the House last week by voice vote and is expected to head to the president's desk for his signature before the July 4 recess. "Quickly getting the latest devices and prescription drugs to patients who need them is critical to our nation's health," said Zoghbi, following the news. "Members of the House and Senate demonstrated that they can come together in a bipartisan way to approve a measure that will support innovation and safety in health care." Read the article.

The FDA also:

  • Recently followed an advisory panel recommendation and rejected rivaroxaban for treatment in patients with acute coronary syndrome. In May, concerns over the ATLAS ACS 2 TIMI trial, including its design and execution and missing data, were raised during a day-long meeting of the Cardiovascular and Renal Drugs Advisory Committee. Rivaroxaban was approved for the prevention of stroke in nonvalvular atrial fibrillation late last year and is also approved for preventing deep vein thrombosis after knee or hip replacement surgery. Learn more.
  • Requested additional information from the manufacturers of apixaban, a factor Xa inhibitor, for the prevention of stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation. The agency has not requested additional trials, but would like further clarification from the ARISTOTLE trial that investigated the efficacy of apixaban versus warfarin in these patients.
  • Approved the obesity drug lorcaserin, the first prescription weight-loss pill to be approved in the last decade. Earlier this year, an FDA advisory panel endorsed a similar drug (Qnexa) and a final FDA decision is expected around July 17.

Stay up-to-date on the latest FDA news on CardioSource.org or follow @Cardiology on Twitter.

FDA Hearing TAVR News

Last month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) Circulatory System Devices Panel of the Medical Devices Advisory Committee voted 11 -0 with one abstention in favor of expanding indications for use of the Edwards SAPIEN™ Transcatheter Heart Valve to include patients eligible but at high risk for aortic valve surgery and the transapical approach.

The Sapien system was previously approved last November for patients who are not considered surgical candidates for aortic valve replacement. The advisory panel’s decision follows a day-long hearing that included testimonies from representatives from the ACC, The Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS), Edwards Lifesciences, the FDA, patients and physicians.

John Carroll, MD, FACC, from the University of Colorado, Denver, and a member of STS/ACC Transcatheter Valve Therapy (TVT) Registry Steering Committee, testified on the College’s behalf. His testimony focused on how registries like the STS/ACC TVT Registry can be leveraged to evaluate patient selection, procedure indications, peri-procedural outcomes and longitudinal safety surveillance and patient outcomes. He also discussed the benefits to using a clinical registry for post-market surveillance and specifically using the recently created TVT Registry for post approval studies, which include:

  • Ability to focus on previously identified critical issues
  • Development of risk models tailored for the TVT population
  • Tracking of long-term and quality of life outcomes
  • Decision-making tools for patients, families, clinicians and regulators
  • Appropriateness of care
  • Potential expansion of indications for use

Carroll followed a presentation from Jeffrey Rich, MD, FACC, president of STS, on the collaboration of cardiologists and surgeons in bringing transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) to the American population.

It is now up to the FDA to make a final decision. View exclusive video coverage of the meeting. Read the ACC's complete written testimony here.

New Appropriate Use Criteria Released

The ACC, in partnership with 10 other leading professional societies, recently released new appropriate use criteria (AUC) focused on peripheral vascular ultrasound and physiological testing. This newest set of AUC focuses on a total of 255 indications (with the inclusion of surveillance timeframes) where ultrasound and physiological testing is frequently considered. In addition to looking at the reasons for ordering these tests, they also focus on how frequently repeat testing is needed in clinical practice in light of the need for ongoing surveillance in some patients. The AUC also outline key areas for research moving forward. A related report presenting AUC for vascular laboratory testing to evaluate venous circulation is expected to be released in late fall of this year. Share your thoughts on the newest criteria in the ACC in Touch Blog.

Weigh in…

CMS is requesting stakeholder review and public comment of the recently developed hospital quality measure of acute myocardial infarction (AMI) mortality for use with EHR data, a measure that was developed in partnership with Yale New Haven Health Services Corporation/Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation. CMS developed and has implemented an AMI 30-day risk-standardized mortality measure using CMS claims data since 2008. The measure, designed for potential use in public reporting in the EHR environment, has undergone eSpecification and its related testing will be completed later in 2012. Find out how to submit feedback ahead of the July 14 deadline.

What's appropriate in imaging after all?

Cardiovascular Imaging Strategies, a product of the ACC's Imaging in FOCUS initiative, is being used by two regional health plans and active discussions are underway with health plans and employers in 10 additional states. The product offers local ACC Chapters an opportunity to work with health plans on appropriate use, as a part of payment reform and/or an alternative to radiology benefit managers. Built upon ACC core competencies, Cardiovascular Imaging Strategies uses clinical decision support to assess the appropriateness of patient selection for cardiac imaging. These patterns are then used to engage practices and referring physicians in action planning and quality improvement. The product also offers QI credit for lab accreditation and MOC Part IV credit for physicians. This result is a performance-based, transparent and accountable solution to encourage appropriate imaging and understand exceptions to the standards. To date, AUC imaging standards exist for cardiac radionuclide imaging, cardiac computed tomography, cardiac magnetic resonance imaging, echocardiography and diagnostic cath. Learn more. Later this summer, a similar product will be made available directly to practices. Also, check out a special AUC series on the ACC in Touch Blog to browse through a variety of perspectives on appropriate use and leave a comment.

Cardiac Rhythm Management Clinical Community

The ACC, in partnership with the Heart Rhythm Society, has introduced a new clinical Community on CardioSource.org focused on topics that the general cardiologist needs to know about rhythm disturbances, including the appropriate use of devices in the management of rhythm issues. The community’s ultimate goals are to provide resources and information to help facilitate a dialogue in relevant patient cases and increase shared decision making effectiveness. Learn more.

June 2012

New AUC for Peripheral Vascular Ultrasound and Physiological Testing Released

The ACC Foundation (ACCF), in partnership with 10 other leading professional societies, released new appropriate use criteria (AUC) focused on peripheral vascular ultrasound and physiological testing on June 11.

“This is the first systematic and comprehensive evaluation looking at appropriate indications for vascular testing, such as ultrasound or functional testing,” said Emile R. Mohler III, MD, FACC, director of vascular medicine for the University of Pennsylvania Health System and chair of the writing committee.

This newest set of AUC focuses on 159 indications where ultrasound and physiological testing is frequently considered. In addition to looking at the reasons for ordering these tests, the work group also sought to determine how frequently repeat testing is needed in clinical practice in light of the need for ongoing surveillance in some patients. Of the 159 scenarios, 117 were rated as appropriate, 84 were rated as uncertain, and 54 were rated as inappropriate. The document also outlines key areas for research moving forward. A related report presenting AUC for vascular laboratory testing to evaluate venous circulation is expected to be released in late fall of this year.

ACC President to Represent ACC and CardioSmart in the Olympic Torch Relay

ACC President William Zoghbi, MD, FACC, was chosen by the Coca-Cola Company to represent the College and CardioSmart in the Olympic Torch Relay leading up to the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. The relay, which takes place over 70 days, began May 19 and will include 8,000 torch bearers who will run through more than 1,000 cities, towns and villages in the UK, leading up the Olympic Opening Ceremony on July 27. Zoghbi is one of 22 participants chosen to carry the Olympic Flame, which will take him through Bicester, England on July 9. Other participants chosen by Coca-Cola include leaders of national health organizations, former Olympians including Michelle Kwan and Summer Sanders, and young people representing charitable organizations. Participants were selected due to their commitment to live positively and make a difference in their communities. Said Zoghbi in an ACC In Touch Blog post: “It is truly an honor to be part of this historical event, which brings together people from around the world in the spirit of competition.” Read the full post.

Be and Insider with the ACC In Touch Blog

Each week on the ACC in Touch Blog, ACC President William Zoghbi, MD, FACC, BOG Chair Dipti Itchhaporia, MD, FACC, and other College leaders share their perspectives on the latest hot topics in cardiovascular care, health policy and more. New this year, in addition to providing a discussion forum on various issues facing cardiology, Zoghbi is also using the blog to provide members with a first-hand glimpse into the meetings, trips and other engagements that the ACC leadership team is undertaking on their behalf. Members can subscribe to receive e-mail updates when new posts are added directly from the ACC in Touch Blog site and/or add the RSS feed to your RSS reader.

ACC Testifies Before FDA on ASD Closure Devices

The ACC recently provided testimony, as well as a written statement, on the safety of atrial septal defect (ASD) closure devices before an FDA Circulatory Systems Devices panel meeting. ASDs, which can eventually contribute to significant morbidity and mortality if left untreated, currently represent approximately 10 percent of congenital heart defects. ACC representative John Moore, MD, FACC, a member of the IMPACT® Registry Steering Committee, urged the FDA to consider a prospective study of potential risk factors for erosion in relation to the implantation of ASD occlusion devices and that the NCDR® provide the infrastructure for that study. Furthermore, he advocated for an FDA-funded registry study to assess adverse events in patients with implanted devices after discharge to better ascertain if and when problems occur. Visit the FDA issue center on CardioSource.org to keep up-to-date on FDA updates and ACC action.

FDA User Fee Legislation Moving Through Congress

The House and Senate in late May passed overwhelmingly passed their respective bills (H.R. 5651 and S. 3187) to reauthorize user fees collected by the FDA from medical device and pharmaceutical companies to fund the approval process. Over the next month, Committee staff from both chambers will work together to iron out differences between the bills before voting on final legislation and sending to the president for his signature. "The ACC supports Congress's decision to reauthorize FDA's user fees for devices and prescription drugs. Appropriate funding allows the FDA to provide oversight and to review and approve new treatments in a timely manner," said ACC President William Zoghbi, MD, FACC, in a statement. Read the complete article.

Follow-up on TAVR NCD

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced approval of a National Coverage Determination (NCD) of transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR). Your ACC has put together two documents to help you understand the NCD. Read the ACC's summary and analysis and check out the TAVR coding guide. Meanwhile, the FDA will be considering expansion of the label indication for the Edwards Sapien Valve to include the transapical approach and high-risk surgical candidates on June 13. John Carroll, MD, FACC will present before the panel.

Payer Advocacy in Action

The ACC and the Heart Rhythm Society (HRS) met with Aetna and its pre-authorization vendors, Carecore and MedSolutions, to discuss concerns regarding the upcoming Cardiac Rhythm Implant Pre-Authorization program and their clinical criteria. Beginning June 1, Aetna will require all elective ICD, pacemaker, and CRT device implantations to be pre-authorized through Carecore (New York and New Jersey) or MedSolutions (all other Aetna markets). During the meeting, ACC and HRS highlighted the importance of following the ACC/HRS Practice Guidelines as well as reducing the level of administrative burden. Both vendors encouraged providers to utilize their web portals for entering requests and instant decisions. Contact advocate@acc.org for more information.

The Countdown Begins for E-Prescribing Participation

The beginning of June signals that the deadline for E-Prescribing Incentive Program hardship exemption applications is approaching. Those who were unable to electronically prescribe due to local, state, or federal law, or regulation; have or will prescribe fewer than 100 prescriptions during a six-month reporting period (Jan. 1 – June 30); practice in a rural area without sufficient high-speed Internet access; or practice in an area without sufficient available pharmacies for e-prescribing, may qualify. Hardship exemptions must be submitted through the Quality Reporting Communication Support Page no later than June 30. For those already participating in the program, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's recently released two new implementation toolsets for e-prescribing targeted at private practices and pharmacies.

Version 5010 Deadline June 30

As part of the transition to ICD-10 code sets, health care providers that electronically submit administrative transactions (such as checking a patient's eligibility, filing a claim, or receiving a remittance advice) either directly to a health insurance payer or through a clearinghouse, were required to switch to new HIPAA standards, called Version 5010, as of Jan. 1, 2012. Providers needed to have the necessary software and system changes in place by the deadline in order to continue sending and receiving HIPAA electronic transactions. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) earlier this year extended enforcement of this requirement until June 30. ACC members are strongly encouraged to ensure their systems are in compliance by this new date. To ensure unnecessary rejections of Version 5010 claims, don't forget to include a 9-digit ZIP code; a physical billing provider address (not a PO Box); and your National Provider Identifier (Tax IDs and Social Security Numbers will not be accepted).

A Look at Health Care Cost Control

During an Alliance for Health Reform event, ACC's Senior Vice President of Advocacy James Fasules, MD, FACC, sat on a panel of experts that examined the role of technology and chronic conditions on rising health care costs. Fasules took the opportunity to discuss how the ACC is striving for quality improvement and cost reduction through quality programs, including H2H, Imaging in FOCUS and PINNACLE; guidelines and appropriate use criteria; appropriate use of technology; and involvement in the Choosing Wisely Campaign.

Where Will You Be in September?

Registration for the 2012 Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C. is now open! This year is sure to be exciting with the impending Supreme Court decision on health care reform and the upcoming presidential election. The conference is a unique opportunity to hear first-hand from members of Congress, Capitol Hill staff and other policymakers who will provide an insider's view from the Hill. This is also a chance to meet one-on-one with congressional leaders to share how their decisions are impacting your practice. Get the details and register at CardioSource.org/LegislativeConference.

Cardiology Focuses on CHD

The new May/June issue of Cardiology magazine offers a focused look at congenital heart disease (CHD), from the ACC's Adult Congenital and Pediatric Cardiology Council and Section advocacy and Chapter efforts, to a closer look at the future needs of the rapidly growing adult CHD community. The issue also highlights the latest clinical documents, ACC activities around the world and important advocacy and practice management updates. The online issue – also available for the iPad and iPhone – features additional video and audio files. Readers can also listen to sample audio interviews from ACCEL, the ACC's audio journal about the diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease. Read the issue online or download the iPad app.

Member Center Integrated With “My CardioSource”

After a recent business system upgrade, the ACC is offering improved services from the Member Center, which is now fully integrated with “My CardioSource.” Members will now be able to easier access:

  • A more robust member database.
  • Information about your CME/CE/MOC status.
  • Purchasing products, registering for programs and paying dues.

Members can also track purchases and payments with a convenient shopping cart located in the upper right hand corner of the site. For those who previously bookmarked the old Member Center, visit CardioSource.org, scroll over “ACC” and select “Member Center” to access the new link. Or enter http://www.cardiosource.org/My-Cardiosource/My-Profile.aspx into your browser.

Contact the Resource Center with any questions at:

ACC Resource Center: Available Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. EST
Phone: (202) 375-6000, ext. 5603 or (800) 253-4636, ext. 5603
Fax: (202) 375-7000
E-mail: resource@acc.org

ACC, ACP Collaborate on New PINNACLE Registry Pilot for Primary Care

The ACC and the American College of Physicians (ACP) have announced plans to launch a pilot program, PINNACLE Primary Care, that will expand the PINNACLE Registry to assess performance measures for primary care practices. The new program, which will be known as PINNACLE-PC, will measure performance on breast and colon cancer screenings, influenza and pneumonia immunizations, lower back pain, diabetes, depression, weight management, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

“Registries are excellent quality improvement tools,” said ACC President Dr. William Zoghbi, MD, FACC. “Registry participants receive quick feedback that can help practices ensure that they are providing consistent, evidence-based care. Expanding the PINNACLE Registry to include primary care is a natural extension of this great resource, which will ultimately improve care.”

“We are very enthusiastic about our collaboration with ACC and this program to test the PINNACLE Registry in primary care internal medicine practices,” said ACP President David L. Bronson, MD, FACP.

Expanding PINNACLE to primary care has been a goal for the registry since its inception. The pilot will begin this summer with five to 10 internal medicine practices. Data from pilot practices will be collected through December 2012 and results will be analyzed in early 2013. If the pilot is successful, the PINNACLE Registry will be made available to ACP members.

The PINNACLE registry already assists practices in understanding and improving care through the production and distribution of quarterly performance reports for data-submitting practices and physicians. The reports cover all valid patient encounters and detail adherence to 25 cardiovascular clinical measures at the physician, location, and practice levels across the diagnoses of coronary artery disease, hypertension, heart failure, and atrial fibrillation. Thirteen additional performance measures will be added to PINNACLE to create PINNACLE-PC.

May 2012

Policy Statement Focuses on Patient-Centered Care

The concept of patient-centered care (PCC) is an increasingly hot topic in the ongoing discourse surrounding quality improvement. In an effort to shed light on the current state of PCC as it pertains to cardiovascular medicine, as well as provide a roadmap for future PCC efforts, the ACC Foundation (ACCF) released a special PCC-focused health policy statement on May 14. Developed by a writing committee made up of a wide range of representatives from general medicine, the cardiac care team, consumers, and advocacy, the new document is an outgrowth of the ACCF's commitment to develop a patient-centered approach to cardiovascular care, which began in 2009. The paper highlights the enhance elements that are key to PCC care including clinician/patient communications, health literacy, clinician-directed patient education and shared decision-making.

The document urges focused education and training around patient-clinician communications as part of medical school and continuing education curricula, as well as clinician access to (and knowledge of) patient education materials that meet a variety of cultural and/or learning needs and acknowledge patients as respected partners in their care. The statement also stresses the need to develop a patient-centered medical home for cardiovascular care that demonstrates the ability to manage patients with advanced cardiac disease across care settings, as well as the importance of accumulating and sharing information across all encounters of a single patient to the greatest extent possible, with the ultimate goal of improving chronic disease management. Looking to the future, the statement touches briefly on the increasing use of personalized medicine and the need for patients to have “clear and realistic understandings of therapeutic options” in order for it to be sustainable. It also calls for the empowerment of non-physician members of the care team to provide PCC and help manage the increasing demands of patients with chronic heart disease. Read the complete article, which includes additional ACC in Touch Blog post from President William Zoghbi, MD, FACC, and video coverage, on CardioSource.org.

New Appropriate Use Criteria for Diagnostic Catheterization Released; Update on Cath Lab Standards

The American College of Cardiology Foundation (ACCF) and the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions (SCAI) on May 9 released Appropriate Use Criteria (AUC) for Diagnostic Catheterization. The criteria, which look to help clinicians determine when cardiac catheterization is a reasonable option for the evaluation of patients for heart disease, are the newest addition to the growing list of AUC documents. The AUC for diagnostic catheterization were developed by a technical panel that identified 166 possible clinical scenarios when referral for diagnostic catheterization might be considered. The appropriateness of these scenarios, which were drawn from the medical literature and anticipated clinical applications, were then assessed and rated as either "appropriate," "inappropriate" or "uncertain." Read more about the criteria. Up next are Appropriate Use Criteria for Peripheral Vascular Ultrasound and Physiological Testing. “Part one” of the criteria will publish online in early June. Stay tuned to the “Appropriate Use Criteria” issue center under CardioSource.org/Advocacy.

ACCF, SCAI Publish New Standards Defining Best Practices for Modern Cardiac Cath Labs

The ACCF and SCAI have released an updated expert consensus document offering physicians guidance and also including specific recommendations on setting up, operating and maintaining the highest standards of quality in a contemporary cardiac catheterization laboratory. The document, which updates a similar document released in 2001, includes a shift in focus from diagnostic tests to catheter-based therapies, from coronary disease alone to include the treatment of valvular heart disease, congenital defects of the heart and arterial disease in the legs, brain, and other organs. An increasing number of medical centers are developing hybrid cath labs that combine all the features of a surgical suite with those of a cath lab. And pediatric cath labs—now devoted almost exclusively to therapy—apply minimally invasive catheter techniques to congenital disease that once required major heart surgery, with procedures now being performed on unborn fetuses and newborns, as well as older children. Learn more about the consensus statement.

CMS Releases Official National Coverage Determination of TAVR

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) on May 1 finalized its National Coverage Determination (NCD) for Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement Therapy (TAVR). Under the final NCD, TAVR will be covered when performed with an FDA-approved device consistent with labeled indications and any other FDA requirements. The determination also states that Medicare will only cover facilities meeting certain requirements and that all patients must be included in a national TAVR registry. The ACC/STS TVT Registry, which has been designed to meet the NCD's registry participation requirement, is up and running and enrolling TAVR facilities now. Non-FDA-approved indications will receive Medicare coverage when performed in a CMS-approved clinical study. "The ACC hopes this NCD proves to be a successful model for providing rapid access to promising new technologies for Medicare beneficiaries while focusing on patient safety, quality care and outcome," said ACC President William Zoghbi, MD, FACC. Read more about what is covered in the NCD and explore the TVT Resource Center for the latest news and clinical documents on this transformative technology. You can also read learn more about TAVR with a new ACC Foundation Meeting on Demand program.

E-Prescribing deadline is June 30!

CMS has developed a support page to help providers with Medicare e-prescribing payment adjustment hardship exemption requests. Medicare Part B Physician Fee Schedule payment adjustments are underway for those eligible professionals who did not initiate e-prescribing in 2011. Penalties of one percent kicked-in Jan.1 and will increase to two percent by the end of 2014 for providers who fail to comply. However, if you did not e-prescribe in 2011 and qualify for a hardship exemption, you can avoid the 2013 payment adjustment by meeting a set of reporting requirements by June 30. Visit the Health IT Issue Center on CardioSource.org for additional information. Also be sure to check the ACC in Touch Blog every Thursday throughout the month of May for tips "from the field" and expert advice on how to avoid health IT-related penalties and benefit from both the e-prescribing and electronic health record incentive programs.

Hospital payment rates likely to increase

Under the recently released 2013 Hospital Inpatient Prospective Payment System proposed rule, which covers payment and quality issues for services provided to patients admitted into the hospital, payment rates to hospitals will increase by 2.3 percent. The rule states that the introduction of surgical site infections following cardiac implantable device procedures will be classified as a "hospital-acquired condition" and the hospital will not be eligible for higher payments resulting from the complication in conditions. As part of the Affordable Care Act, the rule establishes penalties for hospitals with high readmission rates for patients with acute myocardial infarction, heart failure and pneumonia. A performance measure for statins prescribed at discharge has also been added as part of the hospital value based payment program that adjusts payment based on the quality of care provided in the hospital setting. Stay tuned for ACC's comments on the proposal after additional analysis is completed.

Provider Enrollment Update

Under CMS' recent final provider enrollment rule, specialists are exempt from recent changes to provider enrollment standards. The rule calls for providers and suppliers to include their National Provider Identifier (NPI) on all Medicare and Medicaid enrollment applications, but exempts specialists since Medicare beneficiaries are not required to have a referral to see a specialist. Additionally, the rule says that residents can enroll in Medicare in states where they are licensed to practice and order treatments; however, teaching physicians will be required to include an NPI in states where residents are not licensed. To learn more about the changes, click here. Meanwhile, to accommodate the new requirements for tracking NPIs of referring and ordering physicians, the ACC anticipates changes to the CMS-1500 form within the next year. The College is monitoring these developments, but urges providers to consult with their practice management system vendors to ensure systems are up-to-date. Also of important note, the Internet-based PECOS (Provider Enrollment, Chain, and Ownership System) now allows providers to sign Medicare enrollment applications electronically. Once an application is submitted, providers will receive an email from "customerservice-donotreply@cms.hhs.gov" with additional instructions.

New Heart Failure (HF) Performance Measures Released

Updated performance measures for adults with HF were recently released by the ACC, in collaboration with the American Heart Association and the American Medical Association-Physician Consortium for Performance Improvement. The updated 2011 measures, which include care provided in both inpatient and outpatient settings, emphasize the need to measure quality of care over time and across providers, while also focusing on functional outcomes. Of note is the expansion of the beta-blocker measure to the inpatient, as well as the conversion of the measure on patient education to a quality metric, which should be used for internal quality improvement purposes only, not public reporting. Find out what other updates are included and take advantage of ACC resources, including the Heart Failure Practice Solutions Toolkit, that are designed to help put HF guidelines and performance measures into practice. In addition, the Hospital to Home (H2H) Initiative led by the ACC and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement is another important resource for hospitals and cardiovascular care providers interested in improving transitions from hospital to “home,” and more importantly avoiding any federal penalties associated with high readmissions rates.

ICD-10 Deadline Fast Approaching

The deadline for upgrading to Version 5010 is June 30 and CMS is urging all HIPPA covered entities to complete the transition as soon as possible to avoid any issues that may arise with claims processing or payment. If you are still working to implement Version 5010, this CMS fact sheet is helpful for troubleshooting common difficulties. For additional information on the upgrade, visit CardioSource.org/ICD10.

The ACC weighs in on "Meaningful Use" Stage 2

Formal comments on the proposed rule for Stage 2 of the Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program were submitted to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in early May. From the ACC's standpoint, the Stage 2 requirements "set the bar for success too high" and there is concern that providers and vendors may not be able to address the requirements before 2014. According to the comment letter, "The Meaningful Use criteria should encourage the appropriate, purposeful and accurate use of EHR solutions, rather than mandate completion of tasks based on a particular timeline." Find out what else the College included in its comments and read an ACC in Touch Blog post by ACC BOG Chair Dipti Itchhaporia, MD, FACC, on the subject. The ACC in Touch Blog is featuring a special series on health IT every Thursday throughout the month of May.

Physician Payments Sunshine Act Delay

Drug and medical device companies will not have to start collecting data on their payments to physicians until 2013. According to CMS, the implementation date was pushed back "in order to provide time for organizations to prepare for data submission and to sufficiently address the important input we received during the rulemaking process." A proposed rule for the act, part of the Affordable Care Act, was issued in December and a final rule is expected later in 2012. Read more about the ACC's initial input on the regulations and comments on the proposed rule.

ACC Voices Concern on FDA Action

The ACC recently voiced its concern on the FDA's proposal to remove prescription requirements from cardiovascular-related conditions, such as hyperlipidemia and hypertension. In a formal comment letter, the ACC noted that removing these requirements makes it difficult to monitor patients and ensure their safety and stressed that physicians be involved in these care decisions. The College also submitted comments to the Circulatory System Devices Panel of Medical Devices Advisory Committee regarding the safety of atrial septal defect (ASD) occlusion devices. Given the insufficient data on the potential risk factors for erosion and frequency of adverse events associated with the devices, the ACC recommended using the National Cardiovascular Data Registry (NCDR) to study the potential risk factors. The letter also suggested an FDA-funded study that tracks patients with implanted devices after discharge to assess adverse events. A public meeting on the subject is taking place on May 24 and John Moore, MD, FACC, will be speaking on the College's behalf. Read more FDA updates in the FDA Issues Center.

New Clinical Community Addresses Cardiac Rhythm Management

The ACC, in partnership with the Heart Rhythm Society, has introduced a new clinical community on CardioSource focused on Cardiac Rhythm Management. The community addresses topics that the general cardiologist needs to know about rhythm disturbances, including the appropriate use of devices in the management of rhythm issues, as well as other rhythm-related issues. The ultimate goals are to provide resources and information to help facilitate a dialogue in relevant patient cases and increase shared decision making effectiveness. Learn more at: http://crm.cardiosource.org.

April 2012

Zoghbi to Focus on Patient-Centered Care During His Presidential Year
The ACC's 61st Annual Convocation welcomed more than 250 new Fellows and more than 20 new Associates on the last night of ACC.12 in Chicago. The evening also brought with it the installation of William Zoghbi, MD, FACC, as the new ACC president. Zoghbi, a leader in the field of cardiovascular imaging and echocardiography, is the William L. Winters endowed Chair of Cardiovascular Imaging at The Methodist DeBakey Heart and Vascular Center and director of the Cardiovascular Imaging Institute at the Methodist Hospital in Houston, Texas. During his acceptance address, Zoghbi told new Fellows and AACC's that they are being inducted at a time when the field of Cardiology is exciting, yet challenging. "Our capacity to diagnose and treat heart disease has never been greater. Yet, the sobering fact is that heart and vascular disease remain the leading cause of death around the globe," he said. "Equally sobering," he added, "the current American health care system is not sustainable. As a result of these factors, Zogbhi said, the thematic focus of his presidential year will be patient-centered care, a style of care that emphasizes educating and involving patients in medical decision making; integrating medical care, and applying principles of disease prevention and behavioral change. Read a CardioSourceNews interview with Zoghbi, here.  For complete news from ACC.12, click here.

Earn Additional CME with iScience MOD
ACC.12 and ACC-i2 with TCT are not over just because attendees have left Chicago. The digital presentation library of iScience includes more than 400 hours of meeting on demand (MOD) educational content presented during the meeting, including synchronized audio and presentation slides. Users can begin earning up to 100 additional CME credits within 24 hours of purchase with online access. iScience features downloadable audio files and streaming content for iPad and iPhone. Offline users can access the same content available online with the portable, compact drive. Meeting attendees can order iScience with their registration badge number or the promo code “ACC.12 Flyer” atwww.CMEonCall.com/ACC

Campaign Seeks To Reduce Unnecessary Medical Procedures
The ACC has released a list of "Five Things Physicians and Patients Should Question" in cardiology as part of the Choosing Wisely campaign, led by the ABIM Foundation with eight other medical specialty societies. The list identifies five targeted, evidence-based recommendations to support physicians and patients in making wise choices about their care. The ACC's list was developed over the last several months, with the College asking its standing clinical councils to recommend between three and five procedures that should not be performed or should be performed more rarely and only in specific circumstances. ACC staff took the councils' recommendations and compared them to the ACC's existing appropriate use criteria (AUC) and guidelines, choosing items for the five things list that had the tightest inappropriate score in the AUCs and were Class III recommendations in the guidelines. The ACC's Advocacy Steering Committee and Clinical Quality Committee each then reviewed the five items before sending it to the ACC Executive Committee for final review and approval. Read more, including the ACC’s recommendations, in an ACC in Touch Blog post. Also learn more about Choosing Wisely and read the lists at www.ChoosingWisely.org.

VIDEO: April ACC Update Looks Back at ACC.12
The April edition of the ACC Update features an interview with new ACC Board of Governors Chair Dipti Itchhaporia, MD, FACC, where she discusses what her focus for the College will be during her upcoming year. The update also highlights the recent ACC.12 and ACC-i2 with TCT meeting in Chicago, including coverage of the inauguration of new ACC President, William Zoghbi, MD, FACC, who said one of his main goals will be to enhance the College’s focus on patient-centered care. View the entire update.

Quality Improvement Ad Series Launched
This month the College launched a series of three print advertisements that will appear in ACC publications including Cardiology magazine. The series was created with the hopes of reinforcing the unparalleled work and advancements that cardiologists and cardiovascular professionals have made in the last few decades. The ads focus on the reduction of morbidity and mortality, readmissions and door-to-balloon time. View the series here.

New Expert Consensus Document Addresses Operator and Institutional Requirements for TAVR
On March 1 the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions (SCAI), the American College of Cardiology (ACC), the American Association for Thoracic Surgery (AATS), and the Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS), released a Multisociety Expert Consensus Statement for Operator and Institutional requirements for Transcatheter Valve Repair and Replacement.

The recommendations in the statement classify operating requirements for both existing TAVR centers and those that intend to develop a TAVR program, credentialing requirements for cardiac surgeons and interventional cardiologists who perform the procedure, and guidance for maintaining approval to perform TAVR.  Requirements include:

  • Annual heart (aortic valve) surgery and interventional procedural volume requirements for institutions
  • Board certification and procedural requirements for both surgeons and interventional cardiologists
  • Participation in FDA-approved clinical trials post-approval studies
  • Monitoring of complication rates and institutional follow up
  • Participation in national databases for continued tracking of outcomes
  • Commitment to a heart team concept that is led by the surgeon and interventional cardiologist and made up of a formal collaborative effort among all medical team members. In all aortic procedures, the interventional cardiologist and surgeon must both be present during the entire procedure ensuring joint participation and optimal patient-centered care.

FDA Alert! The FDA has approved safety label changes for statins, which include eliminating the requirement for routine monitoring of liver enzymes from the drug labels and adding information about the potential for generally non-serious and reversible cognitive side effects and reports of increased blood sugar and HbA1c levels. Also, the label for lovastatin has been updated with new contraindications and dose limitations when it is taken with certain medicines that can increase the risk for muscle injury. Health care professionals should follow the recommendations in the lovastatin label regarding drugs that may increase the risk of myopathy/rhabdomyolysis when used with lovastatin. The FDA continues to recommend health care professionals perform liver enzyme tests before initiating statin therapy in patients and as clinically indicated thereafter. Read more.

New FDA Partnership
The ACC is partnering with the FDA on a new pilot program, the Network of Experts. In an effort to draw upon the breadth and depth of expertise of outside experts, the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH) is developing relationships with organizations such as the ACC that have access to individuals with a wide range of expertise. Through these relationships, ACC members will be able to assist FDA personnel reviewing applications submitted by device manufacturers. How it works: The FDA will notify ACC when reviewers have questions for outside experts and the general topic of those questions. At that time, the ACC will contact individuals who have agreed to participate in the Network of Experts and alert them, based on their areas of expertise, of the request. Individuals will have a short window of time in which to let ACC know of their availability to assist the FDA and to complete a short conflict of interest form. If you are interested in joining the Network of Experts, click here to notify ACC of your interest and to answer a few additional questions that will assist ACC in properly directing FDA inquiries at the appropriate time.

Next up for Health IT
CMS has issued its long-awaited proposed rule outlining the criteria necessary for providers to meet Stage 2 of the federal Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program. The rule makes minor changes to Stage 1 requirements for those who begin participating in the program in 2013 and delays Stage 2 implementation until 2014. It also would increase the number of core objectives practitioners must meet from 10 to 17 and require practitioners to meet three out of five menu objectives. In addition, it would allow for the electronic reporting of clinical quality measure data and set the requirements for avoiding the statutorily-mandated penalties beginning in 2015. It was also encouraging to see that CMS has included reporting to specialized registries as one of the proposed menu-set objectives. The College will submit formal comments within the 60-day comment period window. The College is preparing detailed comments for submission within the 60-day comment period. Read more. For ACC resources on health IT go to CardioSource.org/HealthIT. Also, check out the following page for special health IT sessions and activities at ACC.12.

ICD-10 Update
The Department of Health and Human Services has issued a proposed rule delaying the Oct. 1, 2013 ICD-10 transition deadline for one year. The transition will require a move from 17,000 diagnosis and procedure codes to more than 155,000 and providers, along with several medical specialty societies, have expressed concerns about accomplishing all of the system upgrades and testing under the current timeline. The ACC urges members to continue to prepare for the transition. In particular, if you have not completed the upgrade to Version 5010 this needs to be completed as soon as possible. The deadline for Version 5010 upgrades was extended from Jan. 1 to June 30. Visit CardioSource.org/ICD10 for ACC resources and links to CMS tools.

Medicare enrollment changes
CMS has announced improvements to its web-based provider enrollment system, known as PECOS, in an effort to reduce the administrative burden on physicians and other practitioners who provide services to Medicare patients. One of the biggest improvements is the addition of electronic signatures, which eliminates the need to mail a separate signature page to Medicare contractors in addition to filling out the online enrollment application. Other beneficial changes include the ability to access additional information, such as whether a request for revalidation has been sent to you by your contractor and previously used address information. Also, applications returned for correction can be easily corrected and resubmitted promptly. For those unfamiliar with Internet-based PECOS, visit the CMS website to learn more. If you prefer to use the paper enrollment applications, be certain that you are using the most recent version of the forms.

Health Reform “Springs” Into Spotlight
With March 23 marking the two-year anniversary of the Accountable Care Act (ACA), the House of Representatives vote to repeal the controversial Independent Payment Advisory Board provision in the ACA, the ongoing divisive budget discussions that all plan to drastically cut Medicare and Medicaid spending, and the Supreme Court hearing six hours of oral arguments on the constitutionality of the law from March 26-28, health care reform continues to be in the spotlight. No matter what happens with Congressional politics and the Supreme Court, the American College of Cardiology (ACC) continues to be committed to setting a new standard for health care delivery in a way that is centered on increasing the quality of care and ensuring greater patient value. Read more on the ACA and the ACC’s health reform agenda here.

 

November 2011

FDA Approves SAPIEN Transcatheter Heart Valve
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced approval of the Edwards Lifesciences SAPIEN Transcatheter Heart Valve. This is one of several devices in development for use in the emerging field of transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR). In announcing the decision, the FDA also noted that Edwards Lifescience will continue to evaluate the outcomes of the SAPIEN transcatheter heart valve through a national Transcatheter Valve Therapy (TVT) Registry that will track patient safety and real world outcomes related to emerging TAVR procedures. The American College of Cardiology and the Society of Thoracic Surgeons have been working with the FDA and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in the development of this new registry, called the TVT RegistryTM, which is scheduled to launch in late 2011. It will be the first national program to evaluate safety and efficacy of a TAVR option for patients who are otherwise considered to be high-risk or non-operable for conventional valve replacement surgery. For more on the announcement and what this means for TAVR, click here.

2012 Physician Fee Schedule Final Rule Released
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released the final 2012 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule on Nov. 1.  This final rule, which sets payment levels and other associated policies for next year, includes a number of issues important to cardiology. On a broad scale, the rule cuts payments to cardiologists by an average of 2 percent depending on the mix of services provided. It also includes the mandated 27.4 percent cut in overall Medicare payments as a result of the sustainable growth rate formula, or SGR. This cut will take effect on Jan. 1, 2012without congressional action. Other payment adjustments of note: a 29 percent reduction in payment rates for the replacement of pulse generators on pacemakers and ICDs, as well as a 25 percent reduction in payment rates for the professional component of advanced imaging services  provided by the same physician on the same day. CMS had initially proposed slashing the imaging payment rates by 50 percent, but changes its mind as a result of advocacy efforts by the ACC and others.  Learn more information about the Final Rule, including policy implications relating to e-prescribing and the physician quality reporting system.  A special webinar to discuss the coding changes included in the final rule is scheduled for Nov. 30. Registration is open at CardioSource.org/webinars. In addition, providers can also pre-order the 2012 CPT Reference Guide for Cardiovascular Coding and save 10 percent.

Don’t Ignore RUC Surveys!
Annual updates to the physician work relative values are based on recommendations from a committee involving the AMA and national medical specialty societies—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 reimbursement. This November, surveys will be distributed related to percutaneous coronary intervention, ablation, and extremity artery/vein ultrasound. If you are randomly selected and receive a survey, please take 15-20 minutes to thoughtfully complete it. Contact James Vavricek at the ACC at 202-375-6421 or jvavricek@acc.org if you have questions or would like to receive a survey.

Final Rule on Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) Released
CMS recently issued its final rule on ACOs, which make it easier for doctors and hospitals to participate by cutting in half the number of performance measurements, removing the electronic health records requirement and eliminating financial risks for some groups.  Theca supported many facets of the proposed rule that was released earlier this year but expressed concerns that the requirement for ACOs to take on financial risk would make it difficult if not impossible for physicians to form together with hospitals to form an accountable care organization.  While the ACC is supportive of the focus on quality of care and the particular focus on cardiovascular care within the final rule, there must be continued flexibility for physicians and other providers to improve care.

January Deadlines Approaching
As of Jan 1, 2012, suppliers who furnish the technical component of Advanced Diagnostic Imaging (ADI) must be accredited in order to bill Medicare for these services.  For dates of service on or after Jan. 1, MACs will begin denying claims by non- accredited suppliers.  More information about Accreditation process, including a list of accrediting organizations and details of the accreditation process, is available on the CMS website and on CardioSource.org. Also, as of Jan. 2012, providers must be transitioned to Version 5010. There are certain steps that providers should be taking this fall to ensure a smooth transition. Specifically, providers should be continuing with external testing and making any system revisions. Daily transactions, such as claims and eligibility determinations, should be undergoing testing as well. More information on the transition is available on the CMS website and on CardioSource.org.

State Agency takes ACTION for Better Outcomes
The American College of Cardiology Foundation has signed an agreement with Washington State’s Clinical Outcomes Assessment Program (COAP), whose mission is to improve the quality of care for patients with heart disease who receive cardiac interventions, to use the ACTION Registry-GWTG to expand the state’s focus on care coordinate issues. This agreement is the first formal engagement for the ACTION Registry GWTG® working directly for a state agency. Washington state hospitals that perform PCIs already can use their Cath PCI Registry data to meet the COAP data submission requirements. COAP will assist NCDR in disseminating targeted marketing materials to streamline sites enrolling in the registry. Learn more about the ACTION Registry GWTG.

ACC In Touch Blog: Opening Doors for CHD Patients
The lack of continuous care for congenital heart disease (CHD) patients who are transitioning from the pediatric to adult care settings has been a concern for adult cardiology practices. Enhancing collaboration between a coordinated care team, to include congenital heart specialists, and CHD patients would open the doors to consistent and efficient treatment. In an ACC In Touch Blog post, Michael Mansour, MD, FACC, Mississippi governor and member of the Coding Task Force shares what he thinks is the essential information patients should easily be able to provide their cardiologists upon an initial visit, which includesinitial diagnosis, operations chronologically with institution and surgeon, all operative notes and most recent diagnostic studies and results. He points to the ACC’s Adult Congenital and Pediatric Cardiology (ACPC) Section and the NCDR’s IMPACT Registry (IMproving Pediatric and Adult Congenital Treatment) as advocates for improved treatment in CHD patients. Read the full blog and look for the Nov./Dec. issue of Cardiology magazine for an article on ACHD.

 

Significant Downward Trend in Hospitalization for Medicare Beneficiaries With HF
Overall heart failure (HF) hospitalization rates among Medicare patients has declined significantly since 1998, with the overall one-year mortality rate also declining slightly over the past decade, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). Considered the largest study to date examining trends in HF hospitalization rates across the United States, it showed heart failure hospitalizations dropped nearly 30 percent between 1998 and 2008. The study authors attributed the decline to fewer individual patients being hospitalized with HF rather than a reduction in the frequency of HF hospitalizations. Other findings included: black men had the lowest rate of decline for HF hospitalization among those studied; despite the decline over the past decade the one-year mortality rate remains high – 31.7 percent in 1999 and 29.6 percent in 2008; one-year mortality rates declined significantly in four states but increased in five states. This study comes on the heels of a paper published earlier this year showing significant improvements in D2B times. To learn more about this study and to access a link to the full article, read the CardioSource journal scan.

NCDR® Debuts New Cath PCI Registry® Dashboard
The CathPCI Registry Dashboard provides users with a new look for viewing their quarterly outcomes reports and enhanced functionality that allows them to drill down, create unique comparison groups and identify gaps in care – all designed to help improve patient care. The Dashboard gives cardiologists, administrators and health care professionals another tool they can use to meet the coming demands of value-based purchasing and increased public transparency. The NCDR expects to release the Dashboard functionality for its other registries in the near future. Learn more about NCDR and the new CathPCI Dashboard.

American College of Cardiology Launches PINNACLE-AF
The American College of Cardiology (ACC) is expanding the PINNACLE Registry, with a new platform focusing on atrial fibrillation and including the next generation of anticoagulants. The new platform, PINNACLE-AF, will operate within the existing PINNACLE Registry, the largest cardiovascular outpatient database in the U.S., and part of the ACC’s National Cardiovascular Data Registry (NCDR). NCDR is the most comprehensive, outcomes-based cardiovascular patient data registry for quality improvement in the United States. PINNACLE currently has 2.1 million patient records representing valid patient encounters from hundreds of outpatient practices nationwide. Of those patients, over 100,000 have atrial fibrillation. Participation in the Registry is free to all cardiology practices. For more information about the PINNACLE Registry and PINNACLE-AF, visit www.PINNACLEregistry.org.

PINNACLE Network/Paragon Health Webinar Series to Focus on Advancing the Business of CV Care
The ACC’s PINNACLE Network is partnering with Paragon Health to present a six-part webinar series focused on "Advancing the Business of Cardiovascular Care." The webinars, all of which will take place from 4-5 p.m. (ET), are free to ACC members and will feature key health care and/or physician leaders addressing hot topics related to the evolving models of cardiovascular practice. The final two webinars on Nov. 8 and Nov. 29 will focus on optimizing revenue cycle management and aligning incentives through co-management models, respectively. Archives of the four earlier webinars are also available. Learn more at CardioSource.org/PINNACLE Network.

November ACC Update Looks at TAVR, Mended Hearts and More!
The November ACC Update video looks at a new program founded by an ACC member that helps patients live a better heart healthy lifestyle and the landmark summit on non-communicable diseases held recently in New York and attended by ACC leaders including president-elect William Zoghbi.  The update also highlights a new industry training program for medical and device representatives to learn more about cardiovascular care.  There is also an interview with ACC senior vice president Kevin Fitzpatrick who discusses the collaboration between the College and the patient-centered organization, Mended Hearts. Watch the video.

October 2011

ACC Submits Comments on Proposed 2012 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule
The ACC submitted formal comments to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on its proposed 2012 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule. The letter addresses coding of certain services; expansion of the multiple procedure payment reduction policy; physician quality reporting (including future payment adjustments under the Physician Quality Reporting System); Maintenance of Certification program incentives; e-prescribing; and the Physician Compare website. Read the full letter. The final rule is expected in late October.

VIDEO: October ACC Update Looks at Reduced D2B Times, Payment Innovations and More
The latest edition of ACC Update focuses on the stunning improvements in door-to-balloon (D2B) times for patients undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention following an acute myocardial infarction. In addition, ACC CEO Jack Lewin, MD, and health care economist Len Nichols, PhD, discuss payment innovations in health care, including the ACC’s new Community on Payment Innovation led by Nichols. The video also looks at the future of lifelong learning and membership opportunities. Watch the complete video.

New Online Community Focuses on Payment Innovations
The American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the American Journal of Managed Care (AJMC) have launched a new online “Community on Payment Innovations,” funded by Johnson & Johnson, with the goal of bringing together a unique combination of key stakeholders to advance the payment reform debate, encourage innovation and collaboration, and share best practices and lessons learned. This group, led by health care economist Len Nichols, PhD, will discuss new and innovative payment models to improve the health care system by bending the cost curve, with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act as the backdrop. The cardiovascular community, physicians, providers, practice administrators, health policy professionals, health care economists, federal and state governments, early innovators, payers and other health care stakeholders are encouraged to participate in the discussions.

Cardiologists on the EMR incentive uptake
Fifty-five percent of cardiologists who responded to an American College of Cardiology (ACC) survey are either participating or plan to participate in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Electronich Heatlh Record (EHR) Incentive Program. Thirty-four percent have already registered, according to the survey published in the College’s Cardiology magazine. CMS reported that in July, cardiology was the third highest specialty to participate in EHRs. The ACC's July survey of a 152 randomly selected panel of members found that 34 percent of participants reported that they have registered for the EHR Incentive Program, and about half of that group—18 percent of total respondents—have met the requirements for the program and have attested to doing so. Read more about this topic in Cardiovascular Business and in Cardiology magazine.

HHS Approves Plan to Screen All Newborns for Congenital Heart Defects
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius approved the Secretary's Advisory Committee for Heritable Disorders in Newborns and Children recommendation to add a screening for critical congenital heart defects to the recommended universal screening panel. This means that all children born in the U.S. will be screened for congenital heart defects within the first 48 hours of life using pulse oximetry. The American College of Cardiology, along with other members of the congenital heart disease community, played an important role in making this a reality.

ACC IN TOUCH BLOG: Next Steps for Reducing PAD Prevalence
The American College of Cardiology Foundation (ACCF) and the American Heart Association (AHA) released updated guidelines for the diagnosis and management of peripheral artery disease (PAD). The updated document provides agreed-upon approaches and treatments for PAD that clinicians can apply to help improve patient care. The guidelines include expanded criteria for using the ankle-brachial index (ABI) for earlier diagnosis; increased efforts to ensure all patients have access to smoking cessation services, improved use of clot-preventing medications, as well as a more focused definition of effective interventions for avoiding limb amputations and treating aortic aneurysms. In an ACC In Touch blog post, Thom Rooke, MD, FACC, and Alan T. Hirsch, MD, FACC, chair and vice chair of the PAD Guidelines Writing Committee, respectively, called the guidelines a road map to greater prevention opportunities, which will be necessary if we are to reduce the number of people needlessly affected by PAD. Read more on the ACC In Touch blog.

PINNACLE Network/Paragon Health Webinar Series to Focus on Advancing the Business of CV Care
The ACC’s PINNACLE Network is partnering with Paragon Health to present a six-part webinar series focused on "Advancing the Business of Cardiovascular Care." The webinars, all of which will take place from 4-5 p.m. (ET), are free to ACC members and feature key health care and/or physician leaders addressing hot topics related to the evolving models of cardiovascular practice. Registration is open for the three remaining webinars. In addition, archives of the previous webinars are also available. Register today at CardioSource.org/Webinars!

  • Cardiovascular Service Line: Building a Foundation for Success - Understand the key elements for achieving alignment across the hospital and practice to bridge siloes and transform from a product line to a CV enterprise. (Oct. 18)
  • Private Practice Success Strategies: How to Optimize Revenue Cycle Management - Focus on the best practices necessary for developing a meaningful revenue cycle management function within physician practices and learn what common pitfalls to avoid. (Nov. 8)
  • Aligning Incentives Through Co-Management Models - Understand the key elements of clinical co-management structures through case study presentations and expert commentary. (Nov. 29)

Early Bird Registration is Now Open for ACC.12
The American College of Cardiology’s 61st Annual Scientific Session & Expo reflects the College’s passion for science, education and peer-to-peer networking. ACC.12 in Chicago will highlight the ACC’s focus on lifelong learning and practice improvement, and will feature a new learning pathway structure to better address the needs of cardiovascular professionals round the globe. New this year: ACC.12 will officially kick off with the opening session at 8 a.m. on Saturday, March 24, and will close on Tuesday, March 27, at noon with a brand new ACC.12 Innovators session featuring the top leaders in cardiology. Register by November 8 for special early bird registration rates and the best availability of hotels. For more information visit www.accscientificsession.org.

New Spanish Language Patient Education Video on Cardiac Rehab
In collaboration with CardioSmart, the Coalition to Reduce Disparities in Cardiovascular Outcomes (credo) has released a Spanish-language patient education video extolling the benefits of cardiac rehabilitation. Endorsed by the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation, the National Alliance for Hispanic Health, the National Hispanic Cardiology Leadership Network and the Preventive Cardiovascular Nursing Association, the video highlights barriers to enrollment and completion of cardiac rehab and how patients overcome such barriers through vignettes of three cardiac rehabilitation program enrollees. Email credo@acc.org to request a free DVD copy.

August 2011

New Study Using NCDR Data Looks at Appropriate Use of PCI
A new study based on NCDR® data titled “Appropriateness of Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI),” shows that although the majority of patients are appropriately selected for PCI procedures, there are opportunities for improvement, especially in the non-emergency setting. Published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers useddata from the CathPCI Registry® the vast majority of PCIs performed in acute settings (98.6 percent) were classified as appropriate. For non-acute indications, however, 11.6 percent were classified as inappropriate, with substantial variation noted across hospitals. Studies like these are extremely beneficial to patients and to the entire field of medicine. They highlight the important role registries can play in identifying opportunities for individual hospitals and practices to monitor their performance and adopt or develop quality improvement initiatives to optimize the care they deliver. For more information on the study, click here. You can also learn more about the College's ongoing efforts related to appropriate use of PCI and other therapies and procedures in the "Appropriate Use" issue center on CardioSource.org.

ACC Testifies at FDA Advisory Committee Hearing on SAPIEN Transcatheter Heart Valve
American College of Cardiology (ACC) President David Holmes, Jr, MD, FACC, represented the College at an FDA Advisory Committee meeting in July regarding pre-market approval of Edwards Lifesciences SAPIEN Transcatheter Heart Valve. Leaders from the Society for Thoracic Surgery (STS) and the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions (SCAI) also spoke. The ACC is working closely with STS, SCAI and others to align efforts to ensure the physician community is prepared to appropriately use this new technology and techniques. The panel voted on three main questions following the hearing, in general agreeing to recommend approval of the device. The panel – for the first time ever – also recommended that Edwards be required to have all users of the device participate in a professional society registry like NCDR®. The next step is FDA approval. The ACC has posted a detailed summary in the FDA Issues center on CardioSource.org that includes links to the official statements, more information on the specific committee questions, and background information on the PARTNER trial and ACC/STS efforts related to TVT. A video with Holmes and STS President Michael Mack, MD, FACC, is also available.

FDA Approves Ticagrelor
The Food and Drug Administration has approved the anti-platelet drug ticagrelor for patients with acute coronary syndromes (ACS). A boxed warning to health care professionals and patients warns that aspirin doses above 100 milligrams per day decrease the effectiveness of the medication. It also notes that, like other anti-platelet agents, ticagrelor increases the rate of bleeding and can cause significant, sometimes fatal, bleeding. The ACC will be working with the American Heart Association and Heart Rhythm Society to incorporate ticagrelor into future guidelines. Learn more about the decision.

Call for Innovative Payment Models!
The ACC, in partnership with the American Journal of Managed Care (AJMC) and with sponsorship from Johnson & Johnson, is creating a first-of-its-kind "Community on Payment Innovations" with the goal of providing an interactive, online venue where cardiovascular professionals and others can engage in meaningful dialogue to advance current and innovative payment models. The community will feature, among other things, case studies, videos, webinars and hot topic discussions. While an editorial panel of experts is already in place and developing venerable content and identifying discussion topics, the College is also seeking expert advice from members currently involved with testing and/or implementing new payment models. The goal is to use these "case studies" as the basis for discussion when the community launches in September. Submissions should be sent to advocate@acc.org with "Payment Models" in the subject line.

Registration Deadline Extended: Don’t Miss the 2011 Legislative Conference!
The registration deadline for this year’s Legislative Conference taking place Sept. 11-13 in Washington, DC, has been extended to August 14. The agenda is shaping up to include key congressional members, their staff and health policy leaders speaking to hot topics like health reform implementation, payment innovation and regulatory trends. General Stanley McChrystal also will address participants on the subject of leadership during the Sunday night's dinner to benefit the ACC Political Action Committee (PAC). Tickets are required for the dinner. General admission is $250 per person ($50 for FITs, CCAs and Practice Administrators). VIP admission, which includes preferred seating and a meet-and-greet reception with the general prior to the dinner, is $1,000 per person ($250 for FITs, CCAs and Practice Administrators). As always, participants will head to Capitol Hill on Tuesday to meet directly with their congressional delegation. More information is available at CardioSource.org/LegislativeConference.

Read the July/August Issue of Cardiology
The latest issue of Cardiology magazine has arrived! Don’t miss great articles on medication adherence, sleep apnea and the latest NCDR research. In addition, the magazine includes a feature on the Puerto Rico Chapter’s efforts to engage FITs and patients, as well as an overview of the state-level advocacy issues facing chapters across the country. Read the latest issue at CardioSource.org/CardiologyMagazine. Also look for extended coverage on credo and breaking news items throughout the month of August. In addition, the Cardiology online site includes a special discussion forum and options to download the new Cardiology app for your iPad or iPhone.

PINNACLE Network/Paragon Health Webinar Series to Focus on Advancing the Business of CV Care
The ACC’s PINNACLE Network is partnering with Paragon Health to present a six-part webinar series focused on "Advancing the Business of Cardiovascular Care." The webinars, all of which will take place from 4-5 p.m. (ET), are free to ACC members and will feature key health care and/or physician leaders addressing hot topics related to the evolving models of cardiovascular practice. Whether you are staying in private practice, or are fully or partially integrated with a hospital system, this series is for you. Register today at CardioSource.org/Webinars!

  • Physician-Hospital Alignment: The Fundamentals of Integration - Learn about current integration models and trends and hear from experts on the elements necessary for a successful integration. (Sept. 7)
  • Integration is not Alignment: Constructing Sustainable Models - Hear from experts on the common obstacles to sustaining integration and alignment and gain insight into best practices. (Sept. 22)
  • Effective Governance: Best Practices in Decision Making - Learn more about the basic tenets of sound practice in both private and integrated settings and hear from leaders on the challenges and best practices associated with transitioning from private to integrated models. (Oct. 4)
  • Cardiovascular Service Line: Building a Foundation for Success - Understand the key elements for achieving alignment across the hospital and practice to bridge silos and transform from a product line to a CV enterprise. (Oct. 18)
  • Private Practice Success Strategies: How to Optimize Revenue Cycle Management - Focus on the best practices necessary for developing a meaningful revenue cycle management function within physician practices and learn what common pitfalls to avoid. (Nov. 8)
  • Aligning Incentives Through Co-Management Models - Understand the key elements of clinical co-management structures through case study presentations and expert commentary. (Nov. 29)

Prepare for Jan. 1 HIPAA compliance with new AMA toolkit
If physician practices or vendors submit claims electronically, they must adhere to the Jan. 1, 2012 compliance deadline for using Version 5010 of the HIPAA electronic standard transactions. Noncompliance puts physician practices at risk for rejected claims and cash flow interruptions. Learn the steps needed to comply with the new 5010 toolkit from the American Medical Association (AMA). The toolkit explains the differences in Version 5010, how to test readiness for the Version 5010 transactions, and steps to take to prevent interruptions to cash flow. Access the toolkit and additional resources. Also visit the “Coding and Billing” section of CardioSource.org/Practice-Management for ACC resources on this issue.

Introducing the newest Meeting on Demand ™ Program: Recent Advances in Clinical Nuclear Cardiology and Cardiac CT
Physicians can now explore the “Recent Advances in Clinical Nuclear Cardiology and Cardiac CT” live program anytime with the ACC’s most recent Meeting on Demand™ Program. The program will survey the various imaging modalities and cutting edge technologies and offer healthcare professionals the opportunity to listen to lectures from the experts with slides synched to audio covering developments in the field.

ICACTL Hosts Webinar Accreditation Series
The Intersocietal Commission for the Accreditation of Computed Tomography Laboratories (ICACTL) is hosting two free webinars on August 16 on accreditation and the ICACTL process. The webinars will focus on the key elements of submitting a successful application for accreditation. Mary Lally, MS, RT(R) (MR), IAC Director of Accreditation-MR/CT/Carotid Stenting will discuss the website, online application and the most common reasons for delayed accreditation. A live question and answer session at the end of the presentation will be available. The American College of Cardiology (ACC) is a sponsoring organization.
Register for the August 16 webinar at 10:30 a.m. ET
Register for the August 16 webinar at 5 p.m. ET

Find best practices for appropriate use of imaging in the FOCUS Innovation Community
The FOCUS Innovation Community provides an online forum for members to exchange ideas and experiences on the appropriate use of cardiac imaging. This online environment complements the FOCUS performance improvement module and offers educational and networking opportunities for those interested in appropriate use criteria. Join the FOCUS Innovation Community.

 

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.