Hot Topics and Overarching News
Digital ACC Resources News: Find It on CardioSource.org
Top Science and Quality News:
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Top Education and Career Growth News:
Webinars, Events, Deadlines and More: Mark Your Calendar
Tools and Tips
First Clinical Diabetes Registry to Provide Seamless View of Diabetes Patients Across Specialties
The ACC, in partnership with the American Diabetes Association, the American College of Physicians and Joslin Diabetes Center, has announced the launch of the Diabetes Collaborative Registry, the first clinical registry aimed at tracking and improving the quality of diabetes and cardiometabolic care across the primary and specialty care continuum. The Diabetes Collaborative Registry is made possible through support from founding sponsor AstraZeneca. Additional partners are expected to join the registry in the coming months. Learn more here.
Two ACC Chapters Receive CMMI Awards Grant for Innovative Health Care Delivery Pilot
The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) on May 22 announced the award of a $15.8 million grant to support SMARTCare pilot projects designed by the ACC's Florida and Wisconsin chapters. The innovative pilots aim to reduce health care costs by providing tools to help doctors and patients communicate about options for their care while helping physicians apply the latest guidelines to the decision-making process. The tools include the ACC's FOCUS program to support imaging decisions, shared decision-making resources, PRISM individualized patient consent for stent procedures, INDIGO individualized patient cardiac risk profile and the ACC's hospital-based CathPCI Registry and outpatient-based PINNACLE Registry. Read more on CardioSource.org.
ACC Response to ABIM's MOC Requirements
As part of the ACC's ongoing efforts to address the American Board of Internal Medicine's new Maintenance of Certification requirements, the ACC has developed a response that takes into account member feedback over the last several months and outlines the College's commitment to improving the process moving forward. As stated in the document, the ACC's commitment to its members and their patients remains steadfast. Advocating for our members to assist them in the provision of professional, knowledgeable and compassionate care, coupled with demonstration of ongoing competence, will continue to guide our actions and fulfill our obligations to society.
Nominate Your Next ACC Leaders
Submit your recommendations for the slate of Officers and Trustees for the ACC by July 31, 2014. Recommendations are invited for the positions of Vice President, President-Elect, and Trustees. The Vice President will serve a one-year term and traditionally advances to the office of President-Elect. Each Trustee will serve a five-year term. Officers and Trustees can serve in both organizations for the duration of their terms. The elections will take place at the Annual Business Meeting in March 2015 in San Diego. To learn more about nomination guidelines and see who is on the Nominating committee, head to CardioSource.org/Leadership. Questions? Contact Carissa Maguire at 202-375-6246.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Latest Issue of Cardiology Looks at Globally Transforming Cardiovascular Care
The latest issue of Cardiology magazine explores the College’s global reach and how the College is thinking globally to transform cardiovascular care. Read about the ACC’s efforts to improve population health in China, building programs to increase purposeful education in India, expanding data information and knowledge globally, and more. Get to know ACC leaders including Michael Mansour, MD, FACC, chair of the Board of Governors, and learn more about a ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) Initiative in Louisiana. Catch up on the latest issue at CardioSource.org/Cardiology.
JACC President’s Page: Letting Data Do the Talking
Over the last several years, the subject of how best to measure outcomes, improve care and lower health care costs has engendered much debate and discussion in the health care community as well as among consumers, industry, and state and local lawmakers. In a recent President’s Page in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, ACC President Patrick T. O’Gara, MD, FACC, along with John S. Rumsfeld, MD, PhD, FACC, and Frederick A. Masoudi, MD, MSPH, FACC, write about the ways “clinical data registries – like those that fall under the umbrella of the NCDR – are an important part of these discussions.” In particular, they note that registries can track and assess the quality of care and outcomes, perform cutting-edge research, identify gaps in care and uncover areas where the profession can continue to improve. “An overarching strategic goal of the ACC is to be the preeminent source of cardiovascular clinical data that can help physicians and hospitals deliver high-quality and affordable patient care. The challenge lies in continuing to engage physicians, nurses, administrators, hospitals and other stakeholders in the registry programs in a manner that ensures the highest level of data quality, broader use and interpretation of data reports, and ongoing commitments to improving the delivery of care,” they write. Read more in the latest President’s Page column.
PCSK9: Blockbuster or Sideshow?
The cover story in the latest issue of CardioSource WorldNews highlights the PCSK9 inhibitor studies presented at ACC.14 and notes that evolocumab (formerly called AMG 145; Amgen) garnered the most attention with five phase III studies presented – including two Late-Breaking Clinical Trials. Other highlights from the issue include a straight talk column with Spencer B. King, III, MD, MACC, editor-in-chief of JACC Cardiovascular Interventions, who compares the Good Samaritan parable to hospitals who face severe financial problems, a clinical innovators interview with Devi Shetty, MD, FACC, on making cardiac surgery affordable, and more. Check out the full issue at CardioSource.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 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.
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 email@example.com to submit a review.
ACC Archived Webinars
Did you know that you can find archived webinars from throughout the years from the ACC on CardioSource.org? As a member, you have access to this wealth of information here. To access them, you must have a CardioSource.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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
NQF Opens Public Comment Period for Cardiovascular Measures
The National Quality Forum (NQF) is seeking public comments between now and June 25 at 6 p.m. ET on 12 cardiovascular measures submitted by the ACC for endorsement. Many of these 12 measures were developed through the joint ACC/American Heart Association (AHA) Task Force on Performance Measures. The public comment period provides an opportunity for the cardiovascular community and other stakeholders to play an active role in the development of performance measures that could potentially have a direct impact on hospitals and facilities. ACC has committed significant resources over the years in both developing and testing cardiovascular measures. The measures submitted meet key attributes of measurement and can be found here. Following the comment period, the NQF expert panel will review the comments and make their final recommendations to the NQF Board. Official endorsement from NQF would better ensure ACC and AHA developed measures would be included in key national public reporting and payment programs. While this process is lengthy, your support and comments are critical to ensuring ACC’s continued success at NQF. To this end we encourage you to submit comments via the NQF website by June 25. In order to comment on the measures, you must have an NQF log on. If you do not have one, you can set one up here.
ACC President Offers Perspective on Recent Release of Physician Payment Data
On April 9, then Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced the release of privacy-protected data on services provided to Medicare Fee-For-Service beneficiaries in 2012 by individual physicians and other healthcare professionals. In the latest issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, ACC President Patrick T. O’Gara, MD, FACC provides a perspective on this unprecedented release.
ACC/HRS/AHA Statement on ICDs in Patients Not Included or Well Represented in Clinical Trials
The ACC, the Heart Rhythm Society (HRS) and the American Heart Association (AHA) have released an expert consensus statement on the use of implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) in patients who are not included or not well represented in clinical trials. The statement, released during Heart Rhythm 2014, and simultaneously published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, provides a first-of-its-kind direction on ICD therapy since the patient populations are not specifically included in existing guidelines. The statement includes a series of recommendations, providing an explanation of the reasoning and research used to make each one. Key among these recommendations are situations for which ICD therapy might be beneficial in selected populations: in patients with an abnormal troponin that is not due to a myocardial infarction, within 40 days after a myocardial infarction, within the first 90 days after revascularization, and in the first nine months after initial diagnosis of nonischemic cardiomyopathy. In addition to these new treatment guidelines, the statement also evaluates the utility of an atrial lead in a patient requiring ICD therapy without cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT), providing recommendations for specific scenarios where CRT is not indicated or not desired and a physician must choose between a single or dual-chamber ICD. Meanwhile, ACC coverage of select trials being presented at Heart Rhythm 2014 will be posted on CardioSource.
CMS Assigns Interventional Cardiology Specialty Designation
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) developed a new specialty code in interventional cardiology to reflect its distinction from other specialties. Your ACC supported a request from the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions to obtain the new designation, which allows CMS to distinguish an interventional cardiologist from a clinical cardiologist when billing for Medicare services. Previously, no mechanism existed for CMS to accurately report on this category of physician and some local Medicare carriers have denied claims, citing duplicate billing, when a cardiologist and an interventionalist from the same group practice have billed for patient evaluation services. The new code allows for the reporting of the involvement of two specialty physicians providing distinct services to an individual patient. Members can change the designation through updated enrollment using the Medicare Provider Enrollment, Chain and Ownership System.
Success in the States on CPR/AED Graduation Requirements
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and Illinois Governor Pat Quinn recently signed similar pieces of legislation requiring all students to complete instruction in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and the use of an automated external defibrillator in order to graduate from a public high school. Both laws will be effective for the 2014-2015 school year. The ACC State Team is working closely with the American Heart Association to support the passage of these laws in the states. Now 18 states have laws that require CPR training for high school graduation and 16 states have similar bills pending.
ACC Advocates MOC Changes at AMA Meeting
Representatives from the ACC were at the American Medical Association's (AMA's) annual House of Delegates meeting in Chicago this week advocating for a number of policies, including maintenance of certification changes and increased involvement of younger physicians in the AMA. ACC's delegates joined the House of Medicine in commending CVS/Caremark for taking tobacco off shelves and urged others to implement similar policies. Additionally, ACC delegates expressed support for public health initiatives regarding scholastic athlete safety and the prevention of sudden cardiac arrest. Other hot topics included clinical registries and the Choosing Wisely program; tobacco regulation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and nutritional labeling and education; and the appropriate use criteria mandate included in the Sustainable Growth Rate patch.
Are You Ready for the Sunshine Act?
The ACC strongly encourages physicians to register to preview reports of industry payments made to them before the reports are made public on Sept. 30 as required by the Physician Payments Sunshine Act. The registration system opened on June 1 and is now available at portal.cms.gov. Tips for successfully registering:
- Review these slides for step-by-step instructions (starting on slide 14)
- Physicians must register themselves – staff will not be able to register for you
- Have a copy of your credit report next to you while registering
- Designate a member of your staff to be given access to your report during the preview period
- You do not need to create a new CMS Enterprise Identity Management system (EIDM) account if you use the Health Insurance Oversight System, the Medicaid and CHIP Program System or other CMS systems
- PECOS, the National Provider Identifier enumeration system and the Surrogate User Program are not connected to the EIDM system, so you cannot use existing accounts on those systems for Sunshine Act purposes
- Contact email@example.com with any problems with registration
- Contact Experian Proofing Support Services for assistance with identity proofing concerns
Last Chance to Avoid EHR Incentive Program Penalties
Physicians and hospitals that have not implemented electronic health records (EHRs) and did not participate in the EHR Incentive Program in 2013 have until July 1, 2014, to begin participating in the program in order to avoid a penalty in 2015. This deadline for avoiding the penalty is unaffected by the proposed delay of Stage 2 implementation. Previous program participants who do not participate in 2014 face a penalty in 2016. For those who face participation difficulties as a result of vendor issues, there is a pertinent hardship exemption that is available. Applications for hardship exemptions must be submitted by July 1, 2014, to avoid the 2015 payment penalty.
New Data Sets Released
Following the release of Medicare physician payment data in May 2014, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released the new data sets recently, including 2012 Medicare hospital charge data, Medicare chronic conditions data and geographic variation data. Additionally, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) launched its new open data initiative, openFDA. As part of its first data release, the FDA has made available data on drug adverse events and medication errors submitted to the FDA from 2004 to 2013. Also released was a research cohort estimate tool that will help researchers estimate the number of Medicare beneficiaries with certain demographic profiles or health conditions. The release of the Medicare hospital charge data is described as the first annual update of hospital inpatient and outpatient data. The first release of hospital data was last spring. Data include information comparing the average charges for services that may be provided in connection with the 100 most common Medicare inpatient stays in all 50 states and Washington, DC. HHS is encouraging application developers to create tools to help patients, physicians and researchers make decisions regarding health care choices and for other purposes by sponsoring various challenges to developers.
ACC Responds to ABIM’s MOC Requirements
As part of the College’s ongoing efforts to address the American Board of Internal Medicine’s (ABIM’s) new Maintenance of Certification (MOC) requirements, the ACC has developed the following response that takes into account member feedback over the last several months and outlines the College’s commitment to improving the process moving forward. This response was unanimously approved by the ACC’s Executive Committee and Board of Trustees. As stated in the document, the ACC’s commitment to its members and their patients remains steadfast. Advocating for our members to assist them in the provision of professional, knowledgeable and compassionate care, coupled with demonstration of ongoing competence, will continue to guide our actions and fulfill our obligations to society. Read ACC’s response on the ACC in Touch Blog here. 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:
- Understanding Maintenance of Certification Requirements (CardioSource.org Hub)
- MOC Tracker
- ACC’s MOC Educational Activities
- ACCF’s Maintenance of Certification Modules
- A Three-Pronged Strategy to New MOC Requirements (Cardiology, Fall 2013)
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 CardioSource.org/Mentoring.
ACC’s June Journal Club Date Change
The ACC will hold its next Journal Club web-based session at 8 p.m. ET on June 25. The new online educational series is hosted by Dipti Itchhaporia, MD, FACC, Robert Harrington, MD, FACC, and Harlan Krumholz, MD, SM, FACC, and features live webinars on CardioSource.org. 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. Also, take part in the Journal Club discussion page and tweet using #ACCJournalClub.
Be Heard on the Hill: ACC’s Legislative Conference
You're invited to attend the ACC's 2014 Legislative Conference that will take place Sept. 14-16 in Washington, DC. This year's conference will provide the inside scoop on regulatory changes, legislative action and the state of cardiology to empower members to become effective advocates for patients and cardiovascular professionals. Don't miss the opportunity to hear first-hand from members of Congress, Capitol Hill staff and other policymakers who will provide an insider's view of Washington. Attendees will also have the opportunity to meet directly with congressional leaders to ensure the voice of cardiology is heard on the Hill. Reserve your spot now.
ACCPAC Presents an Evening With James Carville and Mary Matalin
ACC Political Action Committee (PAC) is pleased to announce that political power couple, James Carville and Mary Matalin, will headline the annual ACCPAC dinner to kick off the 2014 Legislative Conference. Carville, America's best-known political consultant, and Matalin, one of the foremost conservative voices in America, will be the centerpiece of a fascinating and thought-provoking evening you don't want to miss. This headline event is open to all ACC members and will sell out. To reserve your tickets, contact ACCPAC Manager Kendra Adams at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How to be a Resource to Local and State Media: A Guide for ACC Chapter Governors
Here are some top tips from ACC’s Media Relations staff on how to serve as a resource for media in your state. Questions? Contact Stephanie Abraham, ACC Media Relations Associate at email@example.com or 202-375-6296.
- Follow health issues in the local media and become familiar with the work of state and local health reporters.
- Begin developing relationships with those reporters by sending personal positive comments to the individual journalists and offering comment when cardiovascular issues are in the news.
- ACC Media Relations staff can help you find contact information for specific journalists.
- When you see something written in a local paper that you are interested in and could benefit from ACC perspective, contact the ACC media relations office for advice.
- Act quickly and try to anticipate cardiovascular issues in the news.
- We can assist you with drafting letters to the editor and review your drafts.
- Also feel empowered to write positive comments on the story itself.
- Work with the ACC media relations team to develop key messages that could be used for an interview on the topic at hand.
- ACC media relations can help you evaluate and manage challenging interview requests.
- Consider leading heart healthy events like “Walk with a Doc” and participating in health fairs.
- Offer to be the on-site expert.
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:
- Showed [@Legislator’s Twitter account] around [your practice/hospital name] today [photo]. @Cardiology #ACCGrassroots
- Had a productive discussion about [issues discussed] w/ [@Legislator’s Twitter account] today. @Cardiology #ACCGrassroots
- Thanks [@Legislator’s Twitter account] for visiting [your practice/hospital name] & hearing about how we’re advancing patient care. @Cardiology
- Thanks [@Legislator’s Twitter account] for taking the time to see to how policies decided on the Hill impact physicians & patients @Cardiology
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.