CMS Releases Proposed 2014 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule
Bob Woodward Coming to ACC Legislative Conference 2013
ACC Weighs in on Medicare Inpatient Hospital Rule
AED Action
Heads Up on Preauthorization for UHC Commercial Plans
Changes Coming to CIGNA
Will Your Practice be Impacted?
Tools to Help you Navigate the Health Insurance Marketplace
CathPCI Physician Dashboard Launch
Vascular Medicine SAP Now Available
ACC’s Summer Products Sale Through July 12
Clinical Nuclear Cardiology and Cardiac CT MOD Available
House of Cardiology Takes Recommendations to Capitol Hill
Are You Ready for Sunshine?
Reimbursement Change on the Horizon
TAVR Data Collection Reminder
Attention Cardiovascular Administrators: CMS Guide Now Available
Reducing Readmissions and ACC Resources
Navigate PQRS Rules with ACC’s 2013 Primer
ACC Member Value Column: New ACC Research Funding Resources
CardioSmart at Track Walks
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

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CMS Releases Proposed 2014 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has released two proposed rules with important ramifications for cardiovascular professionals. These rules address Medicare payment and quality provisions for physicians and hospital outpatient services in 2014. The rules indicate that physicians will receive a more than 22 percent decrease in 2014 as a result of the legally mandated Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) and that hospitals will receive a 1.8 percent increase in payment. As in previous years, the ACC continues to fight to avoid the physician payment cut. Aside from the across-the-board cuts associated with the SGR, CMS estimates that the physician rule will increase payments by 2 percent to cardiologists between 2013 and 2014. This estimate is based on typical practice and can vary widely depending on the mix of services provided in a practice. Read some of the other most important proposals for cardiology contained in the rules in the July 8 issue of the Advocate here. More details will be posted on CardiSource.org as the Advocacy staff prepares to submit detailed comments later this summer.

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Bob Woodward Coming to ACC Legislative Conference 2013
Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Bob Woodward will kick off the ACC’s 2013 Legislative Conference on Sunday, Sept. 22 at 6:30 p.m. at the Fairmont Hotel in Washington, DC. Woodward will deliver the keynote remarks during the annual ACC Political Action Committee (PAC)-sponsored dinner. His speech, titled “Presidential Leadership and the Price of Politics,” will be the centerpiece of a fascinating and thought-provoking evening. Register for the conference by clicking here and reserve your dinner tickets by contacting Lucas Sanders at lsanders@acc.org.

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ACC Weighs in on Medicare Inpatient Hospital Rule
The ACC recently submitted comments to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) regarding the proposed Medicare Inpatient Hospital Rule that covers the payments and related provisions for fiscal year 2014. The ACC has long expressed concern about the arbitrary definition of outpatient versus inpatient since both groups of patients often receive the same services in the same building from the same staff. While there is still a ways to go, the College agrees with CMS’ increased clarity on this topic. However, the College does oppose CMS’ proposal to create a quality measure of resource use for a 30-day episode following admission for acute myocardial infarction (AMI) due to concerns that it would not measure costs appropriately and the lack of demonstrated variation. The College also urged CMS to proceed cautiously with a proposed technical change affecting payment for hospital stays that include imaging, cardiac catheterization, and involving implantable devices. This change will likely increase payments for hospital stays involving implantable device services and decrease payments for hospital stays with significant elements of CT or MR. Read the full letter.

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AED Action
The ACC and HRS submitted joint comments to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) regarding the effective date of requirement for premarket approval for automated external defibrillators (AED). The ACC expressed support for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) proposal to use its discretion in enforcing the requirement that manufacturers submit premarket approval applications within 90 days of the issuance of the final order. The letter also encouraged the FDA to collaborate with key stakeholders to minimize misperceptions about the reasons for this reclassification and reassure the public that the AED is a life-saving device. The ACC continues to work with HRS and other stakeholders to ensure these vital devices are readily available to the public.

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Heads Up on Preauthorization for UHC Commercial Plans
Starting July 1, UnitedHealthcare (UHC) will begin requiring preauthorization for their Commercial Plans for the following cardiovascular procedures: echocardiography, stress echocardiography, electrophysiologic implant devices, and diagnostic cardiac catheterization. UHC will also change its existing pre-notification obligation to pre-authorization on July 1. Get the details. If you and your practice are experiencing difficulties and inappropriate pre-authorization denials, contact ACC Advocacy for assistance.

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Changes Coming to CIGNA
CIGNA will no longer offer second-level appeals beginning July 1. The company will limit claim appeals thorough a single appeal review process and will complete appeals within 60 days. CIGNA reminds providers that all appeals should be initiated in writing within 180 calendar days of the date of the initial payment or denial decision. If the appeal relates to a payment that CIGNA adjusted, the appeal should be initiated within 180 calendar days of the date of the last payment adjustment. For additional information, click here.

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Will Your Practice be Impacted?
Universal Health Care Insurance Co., a Medicare replacement plan based St. Petersburg, FL, has been forced into receivership by the federal government. Members under this plan were automatically removed by CMS and were enrolled in the regular Medicare program effective May 1, 2013. If your practice has any of these plans, don’t forget to update the insurance information for any patients still showing Universal Health care as their primary insurance. Patients may call Medicare at 1-800-633-4227 if they have any questions regarding their coverage.

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Tools to Help you Navigate the Health Insurance Marketplace
The Obama administration kicked off the Health Insurance Marketplace education effort with a new, consumer-focused HealthCare.gov website and the 24-hours-a-day consumer call center to help people prepare for open enrollment and ultimately sign up for private health insurance. The new tools will help Americans understand their choices and select the coverage that best suits their needs when open enrollment in the new Health Insurance Marketplace begins Oct. 1.

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CathPCI Physician Dashboard Launch
The NCDR in late June launched a new confidential Physician Dashboard for ACC members who practice at CathPCI Registry hospitals. The CathPCI Physician Dashboard is new benefit for members of the ACC and includes over 40 physician-level metrics generated from CathPCI Registry data.

The dashboard is available to physicians through a secure log-on to Cardiosource.org and will provide selected metrics with comparisons to national benchmarks. The dashboard can be used to support quality improvement, volume tracking and as a data source for Maintenance of Certification (MOC) Part IV projects. The ACC is encouraging members to evaluate their data to ensure its accuracy.

For more information about the Physician Dashboard, click here.

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Vascular Medicine SAP Now Available
The ACC in late June launched the new Vascular Medicine Self-Assessment Program (SAP). This interactive program is designed to help physicians understand all aspects aortic disease, peripheral arterial disease, stroke, extra-cranial carotid disease and venous thromboembolic disease. Users will receive:

Click here to learn more and get your copy.

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ACC’s Summer Products Sale Through July 12
The ACC’s summer products sale is ongoing through July 12 and includes sales of 15 percent on Self-Assessment and Meeting on Demand™ Programs. Click here to learn more about the College’s Self-Assessment and Meeting on Demand™ Programs. Call the ACC Resource Center and mention code SUMMER2013 at 202-375-6000, ext. 5603

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Clinical Nuclear Cardiology and Cardiac CT MOD Available
The ACC’s new 2013 Recent Advances in Clinical Nuclear Cardiology and Cardiac CT Meeting on Demand™ Program is now available. You can enhance your knowledge and ultimately increase your competency with this stimulating and interactive online program that provides up-to-date developments in nuclear cardiology and cardiac CT. You will also receive guidance on navigating this complex maze of technological advances, patient and physician needs, appropriate use criteria, and health care reform and the impact on cardiac imaging decisions. This MOD allows users to obtain all 15 nuclear relevant CME hours required by ICANL. If you're sitting for the December 2013 Nuclear Cardiology Boards, this offer gives you all the CME you need to qualify for the exam. To purchase or learn more, visit CardioSource.org/NuclearCardiologyMOD.

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House of Cardiology Takes Recommendations to Capitol Hill
In June, ACC leaders took part in a two-day "Fly-In" with several other cardiovascular societies and their leadership aimed at underscoring the need for Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) repeal and a value-driven system that better aligns payment with performance of evidence-based medicine. The ACC, along with representatives from the Association of Black Cardiologists, American Society of Echocardiography, American Society of Nuclear Cardiology, Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions, Society of Thoracic Surgeons and Heart Failure Society of America, met with nearly 20 congressional offices, including that of Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA). These meetings come at a crucial time, with several House and Senate committees deliberating final versions of their plans to fix the flawed SGR formula and reform the Medicare physician payment system, and helped strengthen relationships with lawmakers. Get a glimpse of ACC's day on the Hill in an ACC in Touch Blog post by Advocacy Steering Committee and Political Action Committee Chair Eugene Sherman, MD, FACC.

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Are You Ready for Sunshine?
Implementation of the Physician Payments Sunshine Act (also known as the Open Payments program) begins on Aug. 1. To help you navigate the new rules, the ACC recently hosted a webinar on June 27 that provided an overview of the law, explained how it will affect interactions between physicians and industry. Once it is available, you can view the archived webinar here.

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Reimbursement Change on the Horizon
Starting on July 1, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) now require claims including CPT codes for transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) (0256T, 0257T, 0258T, 0259T, 33361, 33362, 33363, 33364, 33365 and 0318T) to contain the following before they will issue reimbursement:

For more information, click here.

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TAVR Data Collection Reminder
With the growing prevalence of TAVR procedures, it is important that physicians and STS/ACC TVT Registry™ team members be aware of the importance of capturing complete and accurate data for all registry patients. One of the conditions included in CMS' National Coverage Determination for TAVR procedures is participation in the STS/ACC TVT Registry™ with 100 percent of all TVT Registry data captured for each patient. Among the data required is the Kansas City Cardiomyopathy Questionnaire (KCCQ) for all patients at baseline, 30-day and 1-year follow up. CMS has expressed concerns that some sites have not consistently captured all TVT Registry data, especially the KCCQ required fields. Sites that need assistance implementing the KCCQ are encouraged to contact the TVT Registry at (800) 257-4737 or tvtregistry@tvtregistry.org for support.

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Attention Cardiovascular Administrators: CMS Guide Now Available
The "Medicare Learning Network® Suite of Products and Resources for Compliance Officers" Educational Web Guide is now available to download. This resource is designed to provide education on the many compliance issues facing health care professionals today. It includes direct links to information arranged by specialty to address the detailed compliance issues distinctive to individual provider types to assist in accurate claims review and submission. Download the guide.

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Reducing Readmissions and ACC Resources
Hospital readmission rates for Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries significantly declined in 2012, according to new research released by CMS. Results showed from 2007-2011, the 30-day, all-cause, hospital readmission rates were consistently 19 percent, however, during 2012, the monthly readmission rate dropped to a low of 18 percent in October, and averaged to 18.4 percent for the year. While overall readmissions are down, nearly one in five patients hospitalized with heart attack and one in four patients hospitalized with heart failure are readmitted within 30 days of discharge. To help combat this problem, the ACC has launched a new program with support from founding sponsor AstraZeneca to provide personalized services to heart disease patients and help avoid a quick return to the hospital. Learn about the Patient Navigator Program. In related news, a new model to risk-standardize hospital rates of survival for in-hospital cardiac arrest could help hospitals improve quality by allowing them to benchmark their risk-adjusted performance against other hospitals, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Get full coverage.

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Navigate PQRS Rules with ACC’s 2013 Primer
In 2015, CMS will penalize physicians who do not participate in the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) in 2013. It's time for cardiologists to make an informed decision about how best to begin participating or make some changes to how they participate in PQRS in 2013 and beyond. Navigate new PQRS rules with ACC's 2013 PQRS Primer. Questions? Contact vbp@acc.org.

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ACC Member Value Column: New ACC Research Funding Resources
Spend less time searching and more time doing. Powered by InfoEd SPIN search technology, ACC’s NEW Research Funding Resources make it easy to find — and manage — cardiovascular research funding. This new member benefit provides a web-based, easy search of more than 40,000 research opportunities from over 10,000 sponsors worldwide. You’ll no longer have to spend hours searching multiple databases and websites to find funding for your cardiovascular research initiatives, so you can spend more time making an impact on cardiovascular care. These new resources also help institutions efficiently manage funding received and save up to thousands of dollars. With InfoEd’s collection of software applications, institutions will not only realize savings, but also improve data integrity, streamline administration processes and accelerate compliance. This new member benefit was made possible by the cross-collaboration and contributions of the Early Career, Academic, CVT and FIT Section Leadership Councils and the Cardiology Training and Workforce Committee. Find funding for your next research opportunity today at CardioSource.org/ResearchFunding.

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CardioSmart at Track Walks
Did you know that ACC’s CardioSmart program proudly participates in the Coca-Cola Family Track Walks? CardioSmart promotes heart health and the benefits of leading an active, healthy lifestyle at the events. Take a look at what goes on at the events in this new video and learn how the ACC is promoting wellness and heart healthiness.

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New on the ACC in Touch Blog
Check out the newly revamped ACC in TouchBlog at blog.cardiosource.org for multiple posts each week on hot topics. Here are some of the hottest posts from the end of last month – although there are many more from earlier in the month:

  • A June 27 post by Mary Norine Walsh, MD, FACC focuses on accreditation of advanced heart failure and transplantation cardiology.
  • A June 17 post by BOG Chair David May, MD, FACC explores the much needed relationship and collaboration within the house of cardiology.
  • A June 13 post by ACC President John G. Harold, MD, MACC gives a peek into the ACC’s happenings across the pond in the United Kingdom.
  • A June 12 post announces the leadership for ACC Annual Scientific Sessions for 2015 and beyond.
There are many more posts available on the blog – check them out here.

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ACC.13 is Over – But the Science and News Remain!
It’s been a few months 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.

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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.

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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 incardiovascular 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 mediachannels 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-centeredcardiovascular news available through Facebook, Twitter @CardioSmart, and YouTube. For more information about ACC’s social media channels, visit CardioSource.org/ACCinTouch.

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