NEW! Mark Your Calendar
Overarching News
Top Science and Quality News
Top Advocacy and Health Policy News
Top Education and Career Growth News
Publications
Important Digital ACC Resources



NEW! Mark Your Calendar

Upcoming Large Scale ACC Campaigns/Mailings/Emails:
(Note: this campaign section is for Chapter Executive use only to guide communications and scheduling; please do not distribute to membership)

Upcoming Events and Deadlines:

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Overarching News

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

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

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Top Science and Quality News

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

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

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Top Advocacy and Health Policy News

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

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

EHR Reporting Deadline Extended to March 20
All eligible professionals (EPs) must attest to demonstrating meaningful use every year in order to receive incentive payments and avoid a Medicare payment adjustment. The deadline for attesting to meaningful use for the Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program 2014 reporting year has been extended to March 20, 2015, to allow providers extra time to submit their data.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Top Education and Career Growth News

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

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

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

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Publications

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

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

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Important Digital ACC Resources

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

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

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

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

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