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)
- The new JACC (Clinical EP) Launch is April 20 – there will be associated direct mail and digital mailings going out around this launch as part of a large promotional campaign.
Upcoming Events and Deadlines:
- ACC’s ICD-10 Webinar: April 16 at 2 p.m. (Register today)
- Applications for Associate Editor of CardioSmart.org Due: April 30 (Apply here)
- Applications for Editor-in-Chief of New JACC: Basic Translational Research Due: May 1 (Apply here)
Call for Editor-in-Chief Applications for New JACC: Basic Translational Research
The ACC Publications Committee is seeking applications for editor-in-chief of a new journal, JACC: Basic Translational Research. The new editor’s term will begin in June 2015, and will run for five years, with the possibility of re-appointment for an additional five-year term. The deadline for applications is May 1. The new journal, which will begin publishing in fall 2015, will focus on the best original research and review articles pertaining to basic translational cardiovascular research. Applicants should submit a letter addressing their qualifications for the position, along with a brief statement of their vision for this new journal. Letters of application should be addressed to ACC Publications Committee, and sent via email to Kim Murphy, publishing director of ACC. Read more about the position on ACC.org.
Call For Applications: Associate Editor of CardioSmart.org
The ACC is now accepting applications for associate editor of CardioSmart.org. The new associate editor’s term will begin in July 2015 and continue for five years, with the possibility of re-appointment for an additional five-year term. The deadline for applications is April 30. Read more about the position on ACC.org.
New and Recently Published Clinical Documents from the ACC
Since mid-March, the ACC has released a number of clinical documents, including guidelines and updated statements for the following:
- ACC Releases Updated Core Cardiovascular Training Statement
- New Training Guidelines For Pediatric Cardiology Fellowship Programs Released
- New Statement Recommends tPVR as Less Invasive Option For RVOT Dysfunction in CHD Patients
- New Statement on the Treatment of Hypertension in Patients With CAD
- New Statement on Use of Percutaneous MCS Devices For HF Released
Tell Your Senators to Fix SGR Once and For All
In a historic vote on March 26, nearly 400 members of the House of Representatives voted for H.R. 2, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015, legislation that would permanently repeal the flawed Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula and extend funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). The bill, supported by virtually all of organized medicine, including nursing, hospital and health advocacy organizations, now awaits action by the Senate. We must urge the Senate to continue the SGR repeal momentum when they return to Washington on April 13. Tell your Senators to finish the job. Take 30 seconds to send a pre-populated letter to your Senators or call their offices at 800-833-6354 and tell them to take up and pass the provisions of H.R. 2. In addition to sending a message through the ACC's grassroots alert system, you are encouraged to request a meeting with your Senators. You can find each Senator's contact information through the ACC Advocacy Action mobile app or on your Senator's website. For help scheduling a meeting in your state, contact Elizabeth Shaw (firstname.lastname@example.org). A list of talking points is available on ACC.org.
Medicare Claim Payment Update
Because both chambers of Congress are in recess until April 13, Congress is officially unable to pass legislation to avert the 21 percent cut to Medicare payments that took effect on April 1. Under current law, electronic claims are not paid by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) sooner than 14 calendar days (29 days for paper claims). Although the cut took effect on April 1, this time frame could allow for the Senate to return from its two-week recess, take up H.R. 2 as soon as April 13, and potentially avoid any interruption in payments. What happens next remains unclear. The most recent announcement from CMS leaves the Agency with flexibility to determine the course it will take. At times in the past when congressional action has been anticipated shortly after a cut was scheduled to go into effect, CMS has held claims until the new law has taken effect and immediately paid them at the new rate. At other times, CMS has instructed its contractors to immediately begin paying claims at the reduced rate and then required reprocessing of those claims at the higher rate after congressional action has occurred. The ACC expects further information on or around April 11. Until we have more information, members should continue submitting Medicare claims per usual.
Physicians and teaching hospitals can now review reports of the payments they received from industry in 2014 before the reports are made public. Under the Physician Payments Sunshine Act (Open Payments Program), payments to physicians and teaching hospitals must be reported by manufacturers and distributers of Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved products prescribed to patients and paid for by one of the federal health care programs. Physicians and teaching hospitals have 45 days to preview and dispute information contained within the reports. After the close of the 45-day period, there is an additional 15-day period that physicians and teaching hospitals can use to continue to work with industry to resolve disputes. To preview your report, you must first create an account through the CMS Enterprise Portal, a system designed to verify your identity. You must then register specifically with the Open Payments System. If you registered previously, your account should still be active; however, you should be prepared to reset your password because CMS requires that passwords be reset every 60 days. Learn more and get tips for successfully registering on ACC.org. Join CMS on April 15 at 2 p.m. ET for a call on how to review your reported data.
Meaningful Use Stage 3 Proposals
Last week, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released its proposed rule for Stage 3 of the Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program, also called Meaningful Use Stage 3. The rule contains the proposed criteria that eligible professionals (EPs), eligible hospitals, and critical access hospitals must meet in order to qualify for EHR incentive payments and avoid penalties for non-participation. According to CMS, the proposed rule would "continue to encourage electronic submission of clinical quality measure (CQM) data for all providers where feasible in 2017, propose to require the electronic submission of CQMs where feasible in 2018, and establish requirements to transition the program to a single stage for meaningful use." Of concern to the ACC is a proposal to require all providers, even first-time participants, to report for a full calendar year, as well as proposals to require all participants to immediately begin participation in Stage 3 starting in 2018, rather than allowing participants to proceed through the stages in a progressive fashion. The ACC is reviewing the rule and will submit comments by the May 29 deadline. CMS is considering additional changes to meaningful use for 2015 through separate rulemaking.
ICD-10 Webinar Ahead
With about six months until the Oct. 1, 2015, implementation date, this may be your last chance to prepare your office for the transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10. Join the ACC on April 16 at 2 p.m. ET for an ICD-10 webinar. Geared towards small physician practices and all supporting staff, this webinar will give you resources to help reduce the burden of implementing the ICD-10 codes. Experts will also touch on your clinical documentation and cover your practice and business contingency plans. Registration is free for members. If you are interested in taking part in CMS' July ICD-10 testing, volunteer forms are due April 17. Forms are available on your MAC website.
ACC Pushes for CDC Funding
The ACC and other members of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Coalition sent a letter to congressional leaders this week urging them to provide $7.8 billion for the CDC's programs in the fiscal year (FY) 2016 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Appropriations bill. President Obama's FY 2016 budget request would add $141 million in funding for CDC's programs over FY 2015, but the coalition doesn't think the request goes far enough. "While this additional funding provides some resources for new and important initiatives and increased funding for some programs, other important programs would be cut or are completely eliminated under the president's request," the letter noted. Pointing out that the CDC faces unprecedented challenges including chronic disease prevention and combatting tobacco and obesity, the coalition stressed that "...Congress should prioritize funding for all of the activities and programs supported by CDC that are essential to protect the health of the American people."
Good News for Medically Complex Children
The Senate has passed a budget resolution amendment that establishes "a deficit-neutral reserve fund to improve health outcomes and lower the costs of caring for medically complex children in Medicaid." The measure also allows for the creation of nationally designated networks in Medicaid to ensure these children have easier access to the care they need. In addition to sponsoring the amendment, Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) also co-sponsored the Advancing Care for Exceptional Kids Act (ACE Kids), legislation introduced to improve care for children with medical complexity on Medicaid while helping contain costs. The ACC supported the ACE Kids act.
Learn How to Register for the 2015 PQRS GPRO
Learn how to register for the Physician Quality Reporting System Group Practice Reporting Option (PQRS GPRO) for 2015 during a National Provider Call on April 16 from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. ET. The presentation will explain the criteria for reporting through the GPRO in 2015, as well as how to register via the PV-PQRS Registration System between April 1 and June 30. Registration for the call is now open. The GPRO is available to group practices of two or more eligible professionals that wish to report data collectively to PQRS at the taxpayer identification number level. Successful participation in PQRS in 2015 is required to avoid the application of payment penalties under the PQRS and Value-Based Modifier in 2017. Advance registration through the PV-PQRS Registration System is only required for those practices wishing to participate using the GPRO. Eligible professionals in group practices can still successfully report PQRS data as individuals via one of the individual reporting options.
- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the Impella 2.5 System for high-risk percutaneous coronary intervention procedures, such as balloon angioplasty and stenting. The system functions as a miniature blood pump that aids certain coronary artery disease patients in maintaining a stable heart function and circulation during these procedures. The FDA has also issued a warning against taking the antiarrhythmic drug amiodarone in combination with hepatitis C drug treatments and another direct acting antiviral due to the potential for symptomatic bradycardia.
- The FDA has expanded the approval of Medtronic's CoreValve System to include "valve-in-valve" replacement for patients in need of a second tissue aortic valve replacement after undergoing a previous one. This expanded approval is for patients who are at high or extreme risk of complications during traditional open heart surgery.
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.
JACC Leadership Page: The State of the States
In a recent Leadership Page in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, Michael Mansour, MD, FACC, immediate-past chair of the ACC’s Board of Governors, provides an in-depth look at the successes and challenges the College’s Chapters faced over the past year. “This year, many chapters sought out ways to involve early career professionals and fellows in training even more deeply in chapter activities,” writes Mansour. “[They] are also taking an active role in the promotion of tracking quality through wider adoption of NCDR registries.” As state health departments begin to rely more heavily on the ACC’s guidelines, appropriate use criteria and quality initiatives, Chapters have also played an increasing role in ensuring that “ACC documents are not codified into law, but rather used as a resource.” Read more about the state of ACC’s Chapters.
BOG and Chapters 101: How to Make the Most of Your ACC Membership
In his inaugural post on the ACC in Touch Blog, Robert Shor, MD, FACC, chair of the ACC’s Board of Governors (BOG), explores the value and opportunities ACC membership provides through Chapter involvement. "It is my mission to highlight and emphasize the integral value that ACC Chapters and their leaders provide to cardiovascular professionals across the U.S. and to ensure the goals of ACC’s state chapters also align with the College’s strategic plan. To begin, we must start at the very beginning – what are ACC Chapters? Who leads them? What do these leaders do?” he writes. “The BOG represents YOU the ACC’s members. As representatives, BOG members are responsible for bidirectional communication – providing information both to members and back to the College as a whole – about relevant state and national issues impacting patients and/or the ability to provide cost-effective and appropriate cardiovascular care.” Read more on the ACC in Touch Blog. Shor’s message also appeared in JACC; read the piece here.
Latest Issue of CardioSource WorldNews Explores Congenital Heart Disease Through the Ages
The cover story of the latest issue of CardioSource WorldNews explores the challenges of caring for the growing adult congenital heart disease (ACHD) patient population. The article discusses a growing emphasis on a team approach for the care of ACHD patients, the impact of the ACC’s IMPACT Registry, ACHD in pregnancy and sports, and the shortage of cardiac surgeons specializing in ACHD. In the Editor’s Corner, Alfred Bove, MD, MACC, discusses the rewards and challenges associated with treating this important patient population. “As adult cardiologists, we can all participate in the care of these patients, but we need the support of experts and must connect with a center of excellent for ACHD to provide the best possible team-based, patient-centered care,” he writes. In the issue’s straight talk column, Carl J. Lavie, MD, FACC, discusses how the 2013 guidelines for cholesterol and hypertension guidelines have been met with both support and controversy. While “these new prevention guidelines certainly provide the potential to improve the health of many of our patients … strict adherence to the ‘letter of the law’ may lead to less aggressive treatment for many of our high risk patients, with potentially less than ideally anticipated results,” he concludes. Read the full issue at ACC.org/CSWN.
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.
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).
JACC Audio Podcasts Now Available on iTunes
Stay up-to-date on the latest science on-the-go! In an effort to provide easily accessible, user-friendly content in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC), audio podcasts of Editor-in-Chief Valentin Fuster, MD, PhD, MACC’s comments are now available through iTunes. Subscribers are able to download the files and listen to descriptions of the overall message of each JACC issue. Search for “ JACC Audio Podcasts” in your iTunes store to download the files, or check out the RSS feed.
Get the Updated JACC Journals App
The latest research and clinical practice updates in cardiology are at your fingertips with the JACC Journals app. Now you can read the entire family of journals from the ACC in a single app, across all IOS and Android devices. You can browse new issues, jump to featured articles, interact with multimedia content, personalize your experience with My Reading List, save articles for offline reading, share articles via social media (Use #JACC to join the conversation), email useful content, and much more. Download the app in the Apple iTunes and Google Play stores. Also check out a complete list of ACC’s mobile resources at ACC.org/Apps.