ACC Testifies on MitraClip
ACC Weighs in on FDA's Drug Shortage Plan
Were You in A Graduate or Fellowship Program Between 1995 and 2005?
May 1 Signals Changes to Ordering/Referring Process
Sequester Cuts Slated for April 1
New Research from CardioSurve on Patient-Centered Care
Wise Words, Many Thanks from ACC Leaders at ACC.13
ACC Member Value Column: A Focus on CardioSmart
New on the ACC in Touch Blog:
ACC.13 is Over – But the Science and News Remain!
Special ACC Partnership Helps You Save on Medical Liability Coverage
Stay In Touch with the ACC via Social Media



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.

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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.

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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 graduatemedical education to see if they qualify for the tax refund claim. Read more.

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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 ACCrecommendations and a sample letter for referral sources, visit CardioSource.org.

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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.

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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.

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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 saidto the new FACC and AACCs here.

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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:

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

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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, FACC shared 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.

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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.

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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 theTribute® 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.

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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 incardiovascular 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 mediachannels 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.

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