Upcoming Events and Deadlines
Top Science and Quality News
Top Advocacy and Health Policy News
Top Education and Career Growth News
Important Digital ACC Resources
- Deadline for Officer and Trustee nominations: July 31 (For details, click here.)
- ACC 2015 Legislative Conference: Oct. 18-20
Submit Recommendations for Vice President, President-Elect and Trustees
The ACC is accepting recommendations for the positions of Vice President, President-Elect and Trustees. The deadline to receive Officer and Trustee nominations is July 31, 2015. The Nominating Committee will meet this fall to consider all recommendations and will present a slate of nominations to the Board of Trustees for approval at the next annual business meeting in Chicago in April 2016.
For details, please refer to http://www.acc.org/BOTnominations to find the Call for Nominations and Guide for Submitting Nominations. Don’t miss this opportunity to participate in the process to select the College’s future leaders.
Professionalism and Self-Regulation in Medicine
Maintaining physician competence and professionalism is the overarching focus of the May 12 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). Leaders from the health care community, government and academia provide thoughtful perspectives on timely and important issues like reforming the continuing medical education system, the role of self-regulation, the function of maintenance of certification (MOC), state medical licensing and the future of undergraduate and graduate medical education funding. Cardiology and the practice of medicine as a whole are facing multiple challenges ranging from rapidly changing health care delivery and payment systems, to new parameters for relationships with industry, to calls for new levels of accountability. Most recently, new requirements for maintaining certification have sparked much-needed debate over self-regulation of the profession of medicine. The viewpoints presented in JAMA provide both an extensive and unique look at all of these issues through the lens of professionalism. Check out highlights from the issue and learn more about the ways professionalism is at the crux of the ACC's mission. Read more on ACC.org. For more MOC updates, check out the ACC in Touch Blog.
New and Recently Published Clinical Documents from the ACC
The ACC has released the following clinical documents, including guidelines and updated statements for the following:
PINNACLE Registry Successfully Completes 2014 PQRS Submission
Did you know that practices currently submitting data to the PINNACLE Registry® can successfully participate in the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) via the Qualified Clinical Data Registry method? Submission of 2014 PQRS reporting for 1,810 providers across 121 practice groups has come to a successful close. For those who successfully completed the 2014 program year submission, it will potentially yield up to a 0.5 percent incentive on 2014 claims and protection from an automatic -2 percent adjustment on 2016 claims. Submission also meets requirements for value-based payment modifier reporting, protecting against a further automatic -2 percent penalty. For the 2015 reporting year, those eligible will be subject to a -2 percent penalty in 2017 for unsuccessful reporting to PQRS. Physicians may also face additional penalties for unsuccessful PQRS reporting under the Value-Based Modifier. Your ACC encourages you to review the 2015 PQRS reporting requirements and take action to ensure that your practice is prepared. If you have any questions regarding PQRS or your PQRS status in PINNACLE, please contact the PINNACLE Registry Team at 800-257-4737 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
AUC Mandate and Licensing
In March 2014, Congress passed the Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014 (HR 4302) that includes a provision requiring ordering professionals to consult with AUC through a clinical decision support (CDS) mechanism for all Medicare patients receiving advanced imaging (cardiac nuclear, CT, MR) starting in January 2017. For a timeline, click here. This program will collect information about practice patterns but will not tie payment to the appropriate use score for individual cases. Over the next few years, Medicare will continue the shift to a pay for value system. Implementation of the AUC mandate is one of the first steps in this transition.
The first proposed regulations on this mandate are expected to be released early this summer as part of the proposed 2016 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule. In the meantime, the ACC is proactively working with CMS, other medical societies, and CDS vendors to ensure that cardiology specific AUC are available and used to determine appropriate use of cardiac imaging covered by this mandate. We will continue to engage these groups in conversation to ensure proper implementation of this mandate.
In an effort to help answer questions regarding the availability of ACC’s AUC through CDS tools, the College has developed an FAQ document available on the ACC’s FOCUS webpage. While we will have more clarity on CMS’ implementation with the release of the initial regulations this summer, this FAQ document is intended to help address any questions regarding the availability of ACC’s AUC content in the interim.
What You Need to Know About MACRA Legislation
Your ACC has developed a detailed summary to help you navigate the recently passed Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA), legislation that touches upon many areas across the health care spectrum.
Most notably, MACRA permanently repeals the Sustainable Growth Rate formula and reauthorizes funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program for two years. Beginning July 1, clinicians will begin receiving a 0.5 percent increase to Medicare payments. This payment increase will continue annually until Dec. 31, 2018. Starting in 2019, clinicians will choose from one of two pathways: the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) or Alternative Payment Models. Eligible professionals who elect to participate in MIPS will receive annual payment increases or decreases based on their performance. MACRA also streamlines the three existing quality reporting programs – Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS), Meaningful Use and Value-Based Payment Modifier – into one system, eliminating three separate reporting deadlines. Read more about how provisions included in MACRA will impact you and your practice on ACC.org.
Deep Dive Into Meaningful Use Stage 3
Your ACC has created a detailed summary of the proposed rule for Stage 3 of the Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program, also called Meaningful Use (MU) Stage 3, which was released in March. The rule contains the proposed criteria that eligible professionals, eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals would need to meet in order to qualify for EHR incentive payments and avoid penalties for non-participation. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' (CMS) stated objectives for the proposed rule are to increase simplicity and flexibility in the program while driving interoperability and focusing on patient outcomes in the MU program. CMS also makes it clear in the rule that it intends for its proposal to apply beyond EHRs to other categories of health information technology (IT). Stage 3 is expected to be the final stage of MU and builds on the groundwork established in Stages 1 and 2. Given the continued effort to improve care and expand health IT functionality, there may be future changes to the objectives and measures of MU which could result in future rulemaking. The rule proposes that providers would have the option in 2017 of either participating in the previously prescribed stage, based on the year they entered the program, or participating in Stage 3, regardless of their first year of program participation. Beginning in 2018, all providers would report at the Stage 3 level regardless of prior participation. Learn more on ACC.org.
ACC Urges President to Finalize Tobacco "Deeming" Rule:
Over one year ago, the FDA proposed a new rule to extend its authority to cover e-cigarettes and additional unregulated tobacco products, such as cigars. In a letter of support for the proposed rule, the ACC joined numerous health care organizations to urge President Obama to take action immediately and finalize the regulation. The proposed rule would require manufacturers to submit new tobacco products for FDA review before marketing and would also add the following provisions to new products: minimum age and identification restrictions to prevent sales to underage youth; requirements to include health warnings; and prohibition of vending machine sales, unless in a facility that never admits youth. Read more on ACC.org.
2015 Cardiovascular Summit Meeting on DemandTM Program: Solutions for Thriving in a Time of Change
Help your practice thrive during these rapidly changing times with this new online program! The 2015 Cardiovascular Summit Meeting on DemandTM Program gives you tools to improve patient outcomes and experiences through the delivery of high quality, cost effective care. Learn about value-based care strategies and tactics, optimization of health care data, and effective leadership skills from the convenience of your home or office. Click here to learn more!
Review PCSK9 Inhibitors at This Pioneering Course
Time is running out! Join your colleagues at Bringing Science to Clinical Practice: Best of ACC 2015 in one of two locations — May 29 – 30 in Miami or June 12 – 13 in Chicago — to examine ACC.15 highlights from new guidelines, late-breaking clinical trials, state-of-the-art sessions and more! Attend the pre-conference session as faculty compare and contrast the newly emerging PCSK9 inhibitors. Register today to secure the best rates!
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.
First Issue of JACC: Clinical Electrophysiology Now Available
The much anticipated first issue of JACC: Clinical Electrophysiology is now available online. Led by Editor-in-Chief David J. Wilber, MD, FACC, the new bi-monthly journal encompasses all aspects of epidemiology, pathogenesis, diagnosis and treatment of cardiac arrhythmias. JACC: Clinical Electrophysiology is available online to all members, free of charge using your member login. All ACC Fellows practicing in the U.S. are entitled to receive the journal in print for free. Read the entire family of JACC journals using the JACC Journals App, available across iOS and Android devices. Learn more about subscribing to the new journal at ACC.org/JACCEP.
Is Your ACC Member Profile Up-To-Date?
The American College of Cardiology wants to make sure it's sending members only the most relevant information. To that end, we're encouraging all members to update their ACC profile, including contact information, specialty areas, clinical interest areas and practice information. Up-to-date information enables us not only to maintain regular contact and consistently deliver upon our membership benefits, but also allows us to provide easy access to the things you need the most, including the latest news, JACC, guidelines, education programs and products, advocacy and more. Update your profile online at ACC.org/MyProfile.
New FOCUS App
The ACC’s new FOCUS Mobile App is now available for iPad only in the Apple store. This decision support tool aids clinicians in improving the appropriate ordering of cardiovascular imaging and tests by providing decision algorithms for SPECT MPI, PET, stress echo and CTA. The app automatically calculates risk and pretest probability based on the patient’s age, gender and clinical risk factors to derive accurate AUC ratings. While this tool is offered for free, a subscription product is available for iPad users interested in patient tracking and reporting. Learn more 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 email@example.com.
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).