Hot Topics
Overarching News
Digital ACC Resources News: Find It on
Top Science and Quality News
Top Advocacy and Health Policy News
Top Education and Career Growth News
Webinars, Events, Deadlines and More: Mark Your Calendar

Hot Topics

Grassroots Efforts Help Protect Patient Access
California Senate Bill 1215 (S.B 1215), which sought to remove the in-office ancillary exception for advanced modality imaging (including PET, CT and MRI) and many other services performed outside cardiology, was successfully defeated on April 28 when a Senate committee voted against advancing the legislation. Through a CA-ACC grassroots campaign, chapter members met face-to-face with lawmakers to educate them on the bill’s consequences. During the committee hearing, Norman E. Lepor, MD, FACC, governor-elect of the CA-ACC (Southern), and one of his patients underscored how this legislation would diminish patient care by limiting access to life-saving cardiovascular services and raise the cost to Medicare and patients. Because California lawmakers were convinced that S.B. 1215 could negatively impact access to cardiovascular services in California, other states do not have the legislative precedent or political momentum to justify similar proposals. Nevertheless, ACC and its chapters will remain vigilant in tracking such proposals and educating state lawmakers on why cardiac imaging is a cost-efficient, life-saving procedure. Grassroots efforts such as these are imperative to ensuring that lawmakers understand how their decisions impact the cardiovascular community and patients. Get involved in ACC’s Advocacy efforts by inviting state and congressional legislators to tour your office or meeting with them in their home offices. Contact Elizabeth Shaw at to set up a visit. Also, be sure to mark your calendar for ACC’s annual Legislative Conference, Sept. 14-16, 2014 in Washington, DC.

CMS Releases Physician Payment Data
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has released data on the health care services delivered by individual physicians in 2012 and how much Medicare paid for these services. As of April 9, Medicare Part B Fee-For-Service data are available on more than 880,000 health care professionals across all 50 states and will include 6,000 types of services and procedures. Data is available in Excel by provider last name here.

ACC Launches New PVI Registry
The ACC’s suite of data registries has been expanded to provide data collection and reporting on lower extremity peripheral arterial catheter-based procedures. Part of the ACC’s NCDR, the new Peripheral Vascular Intervention (PVI) Registry was created to address the need for more information on the use and outcomes of interventional procedures for the treatment of peripheral vascular patients. Like other ACC registries, the PVI Registry provides physicians and hospitals with quarterly risk-adjusted benchmark reports and executive summary dashboards that allow for detailed comparisons. Data can be used to assess guideline adherence, for performance improvement efforts, and to meet new ABIM Maintenance of Certification Part IV requirements. Learn more on

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Overarching News

In Memoriam: Past California Governor George Smith, Jr., MD, FACC
The ACC family mourns the loss of Past California Governor George Smith, Jr., MD, FACC. Smith was active in the ACC, serving as Chair of the ACC Political Action Committee for a time, and served as a member of the College’s Ethics and Discipline Committee. Learn more about the incredible life of Dr. Smith in his hometown newspaper, The Press Democrat.

ACC’s Strategic Plan Goes to Implementation Phase
ACC staff and member leaders are now in the implementation phase of the College’s five-year Strategic Plan, as drawn out over the last year and was approved at the December ACC Board of Trustees meeting. The Strategic Plan is intended to direct the College’s activities and ensure the ACC’s strategic priorities are mission-focused. Learn more about the direction of the ACC online here.

CardioSmart at Upcoming Chapter Meetings
Keep your eyes peeled for representatives from ACC’s CardioSmart patient initiative at your upcoming Chapter meetings. Designed to be an extension of you and your cardiac care team, CardioSmart delivers a network of tools and resources intended to engage, inform and empower your patients and their caregivers. Be a CardioSmart practice by using any of these tools and resources that work best for your practice, including our new CardioSmart Infographic Poster on Finding Your Energy Balance or our electronic Clinician/Patient Toolkit. Already a CardioSmart Practice? Share your story at

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Digital ACC Resources News: Find It on

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

New Medical Mobile App Reviews Help You Enhance Patient Care
With a plethora of medical mobile apps on the market, it can often be challenging to know which ones to implement in clinical practice. To solve this problem, the ACC’s Informatics Task Force has developed a series of Mobile App Reviews to help providers adopt tools that optimize patient care. Current categories include Patient Education apps, Manuscript Writing Assistance apps, Protected Health Information Sharing and HIPAA Compliance apps, and Recording Patient Data for Patients apps. Read the reviews to decide which apps are the right fit for you and be sure to check back often for updates. Do you have an app to recommend? Please email to submit a review.

ACC Archived Webinars
Did you know that you can find archived webinars from throughout the years from the ACC on As a member, you have access to this wealth of information here. To access them, you must have a 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

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Top Science and Quality News:

NCDR Study Looks at Trends of Clopidogrel vs. Prasugrel in STEMI and NSTEMI Patients
Based on current guidelines by the ACC and the American Heart Association, administering dual antiplatelet therapy as soon as possible for all eligible myocardial infarction (MI) is a recommended course of action regardless of a physician's impending revascularization strategy. Multiple randomized trials have shown that a P2Y12 antagonist, alongside aspirin, can significantly improve cardiovascular outcomes in ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) and non-STEMI (NSTEMI) patients. Most of this data however, is based on the P2Y12 antagonist clopidogrel. Meanwhile, second-generation antagonists, such as prasugrel, have demonstrated a more rapid, potent and consistent antiplatelet effect than clopidogrel. In a study published April 14 in Journal of the American Heart Association, Matthew Sherwood, MD, Duke Clinical Research Institute, and his colleagues sought to understand the appropriateness of using either of these drugs and assess changes in antiplatelet management practices. They found that prasugrel use increased significantly from 2009-2012, jumping from three percent to 18 percent (five percent to 30 percent in STEMI and two to 10 percent in NSTEMI), as well as "concerning evidence of inappropriate use of prasugrel, and inadequate targeting of this more potent therapy to maximize the benefit/risk ratio." Read more on the study that used data from the ACTION Registry-GWTG on

NCDR Study Examines First Medical Contact to PCI Time in STEMI Patients
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), 250,000 people in the U.S. suffer from a ST segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) every year. For these patients, a lack of timely access from first medical contact (FMC) to percutaneous coronary intervention (FMC2B) is associated with an increased risk of morbidity and mortality. Current guidelines from the ACC and AHA recommend that STEMI patients are treated in 90 minutes or less from FMC, but unfortunately only a minority of patients meet this goal. In a study published April 7 in the American Heart Journal, a team led by Bryn E. Mumma, MD, MAS, sought to better understand the relationship between the use of prehospital electrocardiograms (ECG) and patient home distance from the percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) center on reperfusion time in STEMI patients. The authors established that patients with a prehospital ECG had a 10 minute reduction in their FMC2B time, however, "patient home distance from a PCI center does not substantially change this association." Read more on the study that used data from the ACTION Registry-GWTG on

FDA Approves Expanded Uses of Dabigatran
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the anticoagulant dabigatran (Pradaxa) "for the treatment of deep venous thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE) in patients who have been treated with a parenteral anticoagulant for five to 10 days, and to reduce the risk of recurrent DVT and PE in patients who have been previously treated," according to a press release from Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Read more.

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Top Advocacy and Health Policy News:

ICD-10 Delayed: What to do Next?
In addition to delaying the Sustainable Growth Rate formula for 12 months, the Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014 set back the ICD-10 implementation date until at least Oct. 1, 2015. While the revised implementation date has yet to be set, the ACC urges members to continue cultivating their ICD-10 program. If your practice has not taken actions to implement ICD-10, you now have time to get your office ready for the new implementation date. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the American Health Information Management Association, and the American Medical Association have checklists that can help you prepare your office for the change. If your practice is ready for implementation, ACC advises you to keep up the impressive strides you have already taken. Don't forget to verify that your vendors are ready or will be on-time getting their systems in order. If you have already trained your staff and coders, have your coders start to review charts to see if your documentation satisfies the requirements of the ICD-10 code set. You're encouraged to use this delay as a reminder that the switchover is coming soon and use the time to pursue your implementation goals.

Using Social Media to Reach Lawmakers
Throughout the year, [Your State] Chapter members take part in grassroots efforts such as legislator practice visits, the annual ACC Legislative Conference, fundraisers and more to ensure that lawmakers understand how their decisions impact the cardiovascular community and patients. Meeting face-to-face with legislators is crucial to ensuring the voice of cardiology is heard and using social media as an extension of the meeting can amplify the message. Currently, all 100 members of the Senate and nearly all members of the House of Representatives are on Twitter, as are many state lawmakers. Never before has it been so easy to reach decision makers. If you’re meeting with state or federal representatives, engaging with them via Twitter before and after the meeting is an easy way to reinforce your key points and thank them for their time. Be sure to share pictures and tweets about your meetings with ACC by tagging @Cardiology and using the hashtag #ACCGrassroots. Here are some sample messages:

Not on Twitter yet? Here’s a helpful guide to help you get started.

Together, we can help shape health policy in [Your State] and beyond.

Study Examines the Evidentiary Rationales of Choosing Wisely’s Top 5 Lists
Choosing Wisely is an initiative of the ABIM Foundation to help physicians and patients engage in conversations to reduce overuse of tests and procedures, and support physician efforts to help patients make smart and effective care choices. As of August 2013, 25 participating specialty societies, including the ACC, had produced one or more Top 5 lists containing a total of 135 services. A new research letter published in the Journal of the American Medical Association evaluates the evidentiary rationales used by specialty societies to create the lists. Learn more about the results of this evaluation here. Head to ACC in Touch Blog to read a post by William A. Zoghbi, MD, MACC, Joseph P. Drozda, Jr., MD, FACC, Joseph M. Allen, MA, and William J. Oetgen, MD, MBA, is in response to the JAMA perspective piece on Choosing Wisely. The ACC continues to work with Choosing Wisely to develop patient and provider tools that help facilitate discussions about appropriate tests and procedures. Already, physician/patient communication modules and patient fact sheets have been developed. Learn more at For more an ACC’s appropriate use tools and clinical documents go to

AMA Releases Coding Update
The American Medical Association has released its Category III CPT coding update. These updated codes have an effective date of Jan. 1, 2014 although they are not in the 2014 HCPCS book. Cardiovascular codes to note are the Category III codes for Transcatheter Mitral Valve Repair Percutaneous. Read more on the AMA website.

PQRS Group Registration Now Open
As of April 1, group practices can self-nominate and select the Group Practice Reporting Option (GPRO) web interface, registry reporting mechanism, or the CMS-calculated administrative claims reporting method for the 2014 PQRS reporting period. Practices already submitting data to the ACC's PINNACLE Registry can learn more about PQRS opportunities, here.

EHR Deadline Ahead
In order to avoid a penalty in 2015, physicians must begin participating in the Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program by July 1, 2014 and must attest to 2014 participation by Oct. 1, 2014. Physicians struggling to meet the requirements for the program must submit hardship exception applications by July 1, 2014 at midnight (ET). View a newly expanded list of exceptions. Navigate the EHR Incentive Program based on your level of participation.

CMS’ ‘Two Midnight’ Rule Reminder
CMS has notified hospitals that Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs) have been conducting prepayment patient status probe reviews on a sample of 10 claims for the majority of hospitals (25 claims for large hospitals) with admission dates on or after Oct. 1, 2013 as part of the "two midnight" rule. While the education component of the process has begun, MACs have been directed to wait 45 days before requesting additional documentation from providers.

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Top Education and Career Growth News:

Everything You Need to Know About ABIM’s MOC Changes
The ACC supports Maintenance of Certification (MOC). We believe that it engages physicians in lifelong learning and continued performance improvement. However, we are acutely aware of our members’ misunderstanding of and dissatisfaction and frustration with the American Board of Internal Medicine’s (ABIM) new MOC process. We are working with ABIM and the larger internal medicine community to 1) educate cardiovascular professionals about the new requirements; 2) provide tools and resources to help physicians meet the requirements in the most efficient way possible; and 3) provide feedback to ABIM on ways to evolve and refine and program so that it is more transparent, involves greater integration with medical societies, and minimizes the impacts of monetary costs and physician time necessary to meet the requirements – particularly for those physicians with multiple board certifications.

In response to these requirement changes, the ACC’s Education Quality Review Board (EQRB) released a special report in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC) outlining the changes and EQRB efforts to help ACC members both understand and meet the new requirements. The new MOC requirements, which became effective on Jan. 1, apply to all certified physicians and require specific proactive steps on the part of physicians between now and the end of March, as well as over the next two years. Also, be sure to take a look at JACC commentary by Steven Lloyd, MD, PhD, FACC and ACC President Patrick O’Gara, MD, FACC, which illustrates ACC’s promise and plan on mastering MOC changes. For more MOC resources from the ACC, visit these:

ACC’s International Exchange Database: Building a Resource with Your Help
The ACC Early Career Section Leadership Council’s International Working Group is building a network of international exchange programs. The goal is to provide a resource for ACC members interested in gaining new knowledge and skills in cardiovascular disease that could not be done locally. If you’ve participated in an observership, mini-sabbatical, or similar international opportunity, please take a moment to help us generate this resource by answering a few quick questions here.

Find a Mentor, Be a Mentor: Register for ACC’s New Mentoring Program
The College’s new 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

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Webinars, Events, Deadlines and More: Mark Your Calendar

ACC Journal Club Dates Announced
The ACC will hold web-based sessions at 8 p.m. EST on May 21 and June 18 for its innovative new monthly Journal Club series hosted by Dipti Itchhaporia, MD, FACC, Robert Harrington, MD, FACC, and Harlan Krumholz, MD, SM, FACC. The new online educational series, which debuted at ACC.14, features live webinars on ACC members signed up for the webinar presentations have the opportunity to interact with the speakers and fellow audience members, and post questions and comments to a discussion board. For those unable to join online, the option to call-in and listen to an audio version is also available. A unique feature of the Journal Club program is the opportunity for Maintenance of Certification (MOC) Part II points. At the end of each monthly Journal Club, participants have the opportunity to answer three MOC questions, earning up to a total of 30 points by the end of the year. This opportunity will be available for archived Journal Club articles as well. Learn more about the Journal Club.

Practice Management Webinar Series Begins May 15
Attend a webinar series focused on helping you best manage your practice! The first webinar on May 15, Public Reporting: What You Need to Know, focuses on helping you identify key sources for publicly reported data. Upcoming webinars will also focus on integrating quality programs into your service line, preparing your practice for an audit, compensation models and more. Register for Public Reporting: What You Need to Know at today.

ACC.14 Continues Beyond Washington, DC!
Want more from ACC.14? Couldn’t make it to DC? Best of ACC.14: Take Home Messages for the Clinician is your solution! Join world-class faculty in one of two locations — Los Angeles from April 25 – 26 or Chicago from May 9 – 10 — and get all the highlights presented at ACC.14. Learn how to implement new recommendations from the latest guidelines and late-breaking clinical trials into your practice! Examine hot topics from ACC.14 with leading experts in the field and leave with a fresh perspective and new ideas that will prepare you to provide even better care for your patients. Space is limited! Learn more and register today to join us in Los Angeles or Chicago!

ACC Product and Membership Savings for Nurses in May
NOTE: This language is targeted specifically to your care team members
The American College of Cardiology would like to take this opportunity to say Thank You for all that you do, and recognize you for your contributions to the cardiovascular team.

The ACC feels that you deserve the utmost appreciation for your membership loyalty and commitment to the highest standards of cardiovascular care. We are grateful to have you as a part of the American College of Cardiology.

To celebrate, the ACC will be offering specials for our care team colleagues throughout the month, including a special 15% savings offer on educational products purchased during May using code NURSESAVE. Stay tuned to special news, profiles and discounts honoring our nurse colleagues throughout the month.

NOTE: This language is targeted specifically to your physician members
May is nurse appreciation month at ACC! With all the contributions they bring to the cardiovascular team, our nurse colleagues deserve the utmost gratitude and appreciation.

Be sure to say ‘Thank You’ to your nurse colleagues this month, as the ACC says thank you in our own way. We’ll be releasing special news, member profiles and special discounts throughout the month of May. Now, we’re offering a special 15% savings offer for nurse members purchasing educational products using code NURSESAVE.

And for your colleagues who aren’t ACC members, there’s no better way to recognize them for their contributions to the cardiovascular team than by offering them benefits of membership! From May 1 – May 31, we’re offering $50 off the price of membership. Your nurse colleagues can experience all the benefits of membership for just $75 using code LOVENURSES!

Stay tuned to for the latest.

Finishing CV Training This Year? Apply to Become an FACC for Free
Completing your cardiovascular training this year? Apply for Fellowship in the ACC (FACC) now—for FREE—even before passing your Board exams. The ACC is waiving the $150 application fee for all applications received before June 15 – which means you’ll owe nothing when you apply. Advancing now still means you’ll receive your year of reduced dues for 2015. Find out more about taking this next step in your career here.

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