ACC Names Shalom Jacobovitz as New CEO
ACC Helps Establish International Consortium of Cardiovascular Registries
President Releases Proposed 2014 Budget
Navigate Complexities of Self-Referral and Compliance with ACC Resources
ACC Takes AED Action
CMS Releases PQRS and eRx Program Performance Update
ACC Weighs in on Registries and Medicare PQRS
Ways to Overcome Health Care System Chaos in New CSWN Issue
Were You in A Graduate or Fellowship Program Between 1995 and 2005?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a Class I recall of Guardian II and Guardian II NC Hemostasis Valves
May 15 Marks First Webinar in ACC Series on Practice Improvement
ACC Member Value Column: Member Sections, Councils and Committees
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 Names Shalom Jacobovitz as New CEO
After a year-long search, the ACC named Shalom "Shal" Jacobovitz as the College's chief executive officer (CEO). Jacobovitz, who started at the College on April 29, comes to the ACC from Actelion Pharmaceuticals U.S., a biopharmaceutical company specializing in cardio-pulmonary therapies, where he served as president since 2004. At Actelion, Jacobovitz developed a strong patient- and customer-centered corporate strategy, which he implemented globally.

"Shal has a track record that demonstrates he is the right person to lead a strong organization like the ACC and to take it to the next level at a time when health care is undergoing massive changes," said ACC President John Gordon Harold, MD, MACC. "He is an innovative and proven leader as well as a successful mentor and team builder. Shal brings a unique perspective at a time when the College is ramping up to meet the evolving needs of cardiovascular professionals domestically and around the globe."

For more on ACC’s new CEO, visit the ACC in Touch Blog or CardioSource.org.

Back to top



ACC Helps Establish International Consortium of Cardiovascular Registries
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently brought together various stakeholders from across the globe to establish the International Consortium of Cardiovascular Registries (ICCR). The ground-breaking initiative, comprised of the ACC, the Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS), industry and others, aims to enhance the way device registries are used across the practice of cardiology and around the world.

Efforts to develop the ICCR follow the model of the International Consortium of Orthopedic Registries. While registries have become important tools for assessing the performance of cardiovascular procedures in real-world settings, limitations and variation across regions open doors for global collaboration. The effort will initially focus on registries that track the transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) procedure with plans to expand to additional cardiovascular registries in the future. The STS/ACC TVT Registry™, that has tracked patient safety and real-world outcomes for the TAVR procedure from the beginning, will be a core component of the Consortium’s efforts. Full coverage of the meeting is available on CardioSource.org.

Back to top



President Releases Proposed 2014 Budget
The Obama Administration's proposed budget for 2014, which contains a mix of programmatic activities for the year as well as legislative priorities, was released on April 10. While many of the items contained in the budget are unlikely to come to fruition due to the divided Congress and president, it does provide a glimpse at administration priorities for next year. ACC Advocacy staff members are reviewing the proposal in more detail, but some of the key highlights for cardiology are featured on CardioSource.org..

Back to top



Navigate Complexities of Self-Referral and Compliance with ACC Resources
One of the largest recent cases of violating the physician self-referral law (also called the Stark law) — which prevents physicians from financially benefiting from patient referrals — recently made headlines. Intermountain Healthcare, Utah's biggest health system, will pay more than $25 million as a result of the violations, which include tying doctors' bonuses to their patient referrals and compensating physicians without having written contracts. This case is a wake-up call of the importance of compliance. The ACC has developed resources to help members navigate this complex topic. Get up-to-speed on fraud and abuse, including the Stark law and other health care regulations. The full set of compliance resources is available here.

Back to top



ACC Takes AED Action
The ACC and 34 other member organizations of the Ad Hoc Coalition to Save Lives Through Public Access to Defibrillation sent a letter to Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) in early April, thanking him for his "exceptional leadership and commitment" to championing the Health Resources and Services Administration's Rural Access to Emergency Devices Program. It also urges him to include $8.927 million for the Rural and Community Access to Emergency Devices Program in the FY 2014 Labor-HHS-Education Appropriation bill, which would restore this life-saving program to its FY 2005 level when 47 states received funding under the rural component. The program enables rural areas and communities to obtain necessary equipment and training to save lives from cardiac arrest. However, in 2012, only 6 percent of applications for the program were accepted due to a lack of funding.

Back to top



CMS Releases PQRS and eRx Program Performance Update
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has released the 2011 Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) and E-Prescribing (eRx) Incentive Program Experience Report, shedding light on the reporting experience of eligible professionals in these programs in 2011. According to the report, participation across all reporting options has increased each year. In 2011, 280,229 professionals participated in PQRS, totaling $261,733,236 in incentive payments. The eRx Incentive Program saw a 116 percent increase over 2010, with 282,382 professionals participating in 2011, totaling $285,049,103 in incentive payments. The report showed that 33 percent of cardiologists received a PQRS bonus in 2011 with a median payment of $3,158. For eRx, 43 percent of cardiologists received a bonus for 2011 for a similar median payment of $3,133. The report also revealed that 6,000 cardiologists were subject to a payment reduction in 2012 for not reporting the use of eRx or qualifying for an exemption in 2011. View the full report.

Back to top



ACC Weighs in on Registries and Medicare PQRS
The ACC recently offered expertise on the implementation of recently passed legislation that would allow successful participants in clinical registries to be considered successful participants in the Medicare PQRS. The letter also addresses the overall role for registries in quality reporting and improvement programs. "CMS has great latitude in implementation and we hope that CMS uses this opportunity to establish a strong foundation that can be built upon for future expansion of the use of clinical registries for quality measurement and improvement," the letter notes. A second letter addresses a proposed rule for Medicare and Medicaid regulatory provisions. While there are concerns with changes made to the governance system for hospitals, the College expressed support for a CMS proposal to change the supervision requirements for the preparation of radiopharmaceuticals and a clarifying change to the ordering of outpatient services within a hospital. "We appreciate the efforts of CMS to attempt to reduce regulatory burdens if they do not contribute to safety or quality," writes the College.

Back to top



Ways to Overcome Health Care System Chaos in New CSWN Issue
The American health care system has never been at a more dramatic crossroads, according to an article in the latest issue of CardioSource WorldNews. According to the Physicians Foundation, the top issues doctors are concerned about are: 1) uncertainty about the Affordable Care Act, 2) practice consolidation, 3) the impact of 30 million newly insured patients, 4) a decline in physician autonomy, and 5) rising administrative burdens. "This change is mammoth, it is historic, and it affects everyone's life involved in health care," said Immediate Past President William Zoghbi, MD, MACC. Read more about these and suggestions to overcome the turmoil in the health care system.

Back to top



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

Back to top



The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a Class I recall of Guardian II and Guardian II NC Hemostasis Valves
(Model Numbers 8210, 8211, 8215, 8216) manufactured by Vascular Solutions Inc. The Agency notified health care professionals that serious adverse health consequences, including death, could occur due to the potential for an air embolism. Products that were manufactured and distributed between February 2012 and February 2013 are affected. Ahead of the FDA recall, Vascular Solutions sent an "Urgent Medical Device Recall" notice to its customers warning about the risk. Read the FDA alert. To receive immediate FDA-approved cardiovascular drug alerts and related safety information, visit www.ACC.pdr.net. Registration is free for ACC members. Follow @Cardiology on Twitter to stay up-to-date.

Back to top



May 15 Marks First Webinar in ACC Series on Practice Improvement
With the onslaught of public reporting, it is incumbent on providers to not only understand what data is publicly reported but where to find, analyze and challenge it. While private payer report cards have been around for a while, the introduction of CMS’ Quality and Resource Use Report leaves many unanswered questions. Learn how to identify the sources of public reporting, make sense of the data presented and identify mechanisms to challenge their data during an upcoming webinar on “Preparing Your Practice for Public Reporting and Transparency” hosted by the ACC’s Council on Clinical Practice. The first webinar in the three-part series will be held May 15 at 2 p.m. ET. Register now.

Back to top



ACC Member Value Column: Member Sections, Councils and Committees
ACC members have the unique opportunity to connect with peers in specific member groups focused on the stage of their career or area of specialty. Sections focused on topics like Sports and Exercise Cardiology, Geriatric Cardiology or Women in Cardiology allow ACC members to create a smaller network within the large association. ACC Member Sections continue to grow and thrive, hitting a new high this year with over 16,000 paid section members, and nine member sections, plus more coming soon!

Back to top



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. Stay tuned to the Blog in the coming weeks for a new look and more great content. Here are some of the hottest posts from the last month:

Joseph G. Cacchione, MD, FACC, in an April 16 post, discussed physician reimbursement challenges.

BOG Chair David May, MD, FACC writes about the release of the 2014 budget by President Obama in an April 12 post, and comments on his views of a single payer health care system as a Republican in an April 23 post.

Oklahoma Governor Michael Scherlag, MD, FACC gives his take on the future of renal denervation in an April 9 post.

Andrew Freeman, MD, FACC writes about the “ultimate patient-centered care” mobile application – the ACC’s CardioSmart Explorer App in his April 4 post.

Back to top



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 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.

Back to top



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 the Tribute® 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.

Back to top



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. Look for the ACCinTouch logo for the official ACC presence on these social media channels 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.

Back to top