Overarching News
Top Science and Quality News
Top Advocacy and Health Policy News
Top Education and Career Growth News
Important Digital ACC Resources

Overarching News

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

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

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

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Top Science and Quality News

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

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

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Top Advocacy and Health Policy News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Top Education and Career Growth News

Note: See Overarching News for MOC Update from ABIM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Important Digital ACC Resources

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

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

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

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

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