Upcoming Events and Deadlines
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Overarching ACC News
Top Science and Quality News
Top Advocacy and Health Policy News
Top Education and Career Growth News
Top Membership News
Digital ACC Resources



Upcoming Events and Deadlines:

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Sample Tweets

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Overarching ACC News

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

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

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

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

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

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Top Science and Quality News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Top Advocacy and Health Policy News

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

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

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

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

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Top Education and Career Growth News

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

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

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Top Membership News

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

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Digital ACC Resources

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

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

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

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

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