ACC Celebrates World Heart Day
This September the ACC celebrated the World Heart Federation’s World Heart Day with educational outreach and events. The College provided educational awareness of the global effect of heart disease, plus educational and social events for staff and a community outreach event focusing on the theme of women/children’s heart health. Some of the events included a special Heart Café for ACC staff at Heart House in Washington, DC; a special Twitter Chat focused on women’s heart health; and tie-ins to the local Houston community taking part in the first of four Spirit of the Heart events with the Association of Black Cardiologists this year An archive of the Twitter chat, which featured representatives from CardioSmart, the National Heart Lung and Blood Institutes, Million Hearts™ and Healthfinder.gov, is available on the ACC’s Facebook page. For more on Spirit of the Heart events, go to CardioSmart.org.

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AFib Awareness Month
As part of September’s Atrial Fibrillation (AFib) Awareness Month, the ACC launched an Atrial Fibrillation Toolkit to provide tools and strategies for the patient care team to support high-quality care for patients with AFib. In addition, the ACCinTouch Blog featured a series of blog posts highlighting AFib all month authored by ACC leaders like Richard Kovacs, MD, FACC and ACC President William Zoghbi, MD, FACC. Visit ACC's special AFib Facebook tab for a collection of AFib resources. For more on ACC’s AFib tools and resources, click here.

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Spirit of the Heart: A Community Call to Action to Prevent Heart Disease
CardioSmart and the Association of Black Cardiologists (ABC) are partnering to further both missions of patient-centered care and patient engagement, while also reaching out to local communities nationwide to promote cardiovascular health. This fall, ACC and ABC will hold several weekend Spirit of the Heart health events, which will target the nation’s minority and underserved communities, and will integrate social, economic, cultural and political dimensions specifically related to patient health. The events provide a variety of activities over a three day span, beginning with an invitation-only community leadership dinner; a health fair open to the public to include free health screenings and risk assessments; and visits by community leaders, health advocates and local ACC members to area churches to further the message of heart-healthy living. The kick off 2012 Spirit of the Heart event will be held in Houston, Texas, where ACC President William Zoghbi, MD, FACC, will deliver opening remarks during the welcome dinner. In addition, Keith Ferdinand, MD, FACC, will participate in the panel discussion. Events will also be held in Dallas where BOG Chair-Elect David C. May, MD, PhD, FACC will speak on the panel and Austin, Texas, Harlem, N.Y., and Oakland, Calif., to coincide with ACC.13 in San Francisco. For more information about the Spirit of the Heart events and to become involved, please contact Cherie Black.

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New Health Policy Statement Urges Global Action to Stop Preventable CV Deaths
The Global Cardiovascular Disease Taskforce, a group of experts representing the ACC Foundation (ACCF), World Heart Federation, American Heart Association, European Heart Network and European Society of Cardiology, jointly released a health policy statement urging timely global action to save preventable death from cardiovascular disease (CVD), including heart disease and stroke. On the one year anniversary of the United Nations High-level meeting on NCDs, the taskforce this month is calling on government and the cardiovascular community to accelerate the progress on the commitments made last year and support the ten evidence-based targets, including the top four exposure targets on physical activity, tobacco, dietary salt intake and hypertension/blood pressure. By focusing on these four key targets, the goal is to achieve a number of goals by 2025. In addition, the taskforce recommends the uptake of a set of interventions designed by the World Heart Organization, which includes cost-effective treatments that can be delivered regardless of the income level of a country. These include the widespread adoption of multidrug therapy regiment of aspirin, a statin, and blood pressure-lowering agents to prevent heart disease and stroke and to treat those with, or at high risk of, heart disease and stroke. Read more on CardioSource.org.

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Practice Census Reveals Continued Change in Landscape
A new ACC survey of more than 2,500 practices provides a comprehensive snapshot of the current state of cardiology. Respondents from all 50 U.S. states and Puerto Rico provide insight into the state of the cardiovascular practice today and the continuing trend towards hospital integration. According to the College’s 2012 Practice Census, while physicians remain the primary owner for the majority of cardiovascular practices, the number of physician-owned practices continues to decline, while hospital ownership is on the rise. Compared to 2007 when physicians owned 73 percent of practices and hospitals owned 8 percent, the new data show only 60 percent of practices are now physician-owned, while 24 percent are hospital-owned. Read more from the Census here.

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Registration Now Open for Upcoming Meetings
Fall brings many things – cooler weather, football and open registration for some of the year’s most exciting ACC meetings:

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Get Involved with Committee and Council Membership
The College will accept nominations and applications for committee and council membership through Oct. 31. All ACC Fellows (FACC/MACCs), Fellows-in-Training (FITs), Cardiac Care Associates (CCAs) and Cardiovascular Administrators are invited to nominate a colleague or apply for membership. ACC Committees represent issues that permeate all areas and specialties of cardiovascular care but align with one of the College’s core areas including advocacy, quality, education or membership. Councils are focused member groups that advise the Board of Trustees and focus on a broad range of issues within their specialty or clinical area. To get involved, apply online at services.acc.org/CommitteeNominations.

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BOG and CCA Liaison Elections Coming This Fall
The chance to elect College and Chapter leaders is right around the corner. Board of Governors (BOG) and Cardiac Care Associate (CCA) Liaison elections open Oct. 16 and will close Nov. 13 at 5 p.m. EST. A new addition to the election cycle this year is the presence of guidelines for service as governor. The Governor Nominations Committees are equipped with these new guidelines for selection of the candidates for the position of governor to the domestic states, D.C., Puerto Rico to ensure that the elected official can fulfill his or her duties and uphold the ACC standards of leadership. CCA members can simultaneously place their vote for the next Cardiac Care Associate (CCA) Liaison in their state this fall. Visit CardioSource.org/Elections for more information and details on the election process, or contact National ACC Chapters staff at 202-375-5413.

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Complex Office Visits Face Scrutiny
The ACC recently learned that Connolly, the Medicare Recovery Auditor (RAC) for Region C, has received approval to conduct in depth medical review on claims submitted for complex office visits, specifically those billed with CPT code 99215. Affected states include Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Because of the type of review being conducted, the RAC will be permitted to extrapolate their findings based on a statistical sample of such claims. It remains unclear as to whether Connolly will be auditing claims for problems with 99215 billing throughout the entire region or in a subset of the region. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) does expect to receive requests from other RACs to review for the same or similar code(s). The ACC, along with the larger physician community, raised concerns three years ago with respect to potential audits of E&M services. The College continues to raise these concerns and will work with the American Medical Association (AMA) and other physician groups to advocate on behalf of cardiologists. To learn about your region's RAC and the issues for which it has been given permission to audit, click here. Get additional information on the Medicare Recovery Auditor program.

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Brush Up on Coding Requirements
The CPT book and the ACC/AMA Reference Guide for Cardiovascular Coding offer comprehensive guidance to proper coding. A key point to remember is that Outpatient Established Patient visits need two of three components and Outpatient New Patient visits need three of three components. For example, 99215 and 99205 require comprehensive history; comprehensive examination; and medical decision making of high complexity. Get the complete documentation guidelines (click on either the 1995 or 1997 guidelines) and look out for the 2013 ACCF/AMA CPT Reference Guide for Cardiovascular Coding this fall.

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Successful ACC 2012 Legislative Conference
More than 350 cardiovascular professionals descended on Capitol Hill to tackle issues facing cardiology from Sept. 9 to 11. The 21st Annual Legislative Conference kicked-off with a special dinner celebrating the 10th anniversary of ACC's Political Action Committee and remarks from Pulitzer Prize winner George Will. The conference featured a full-day of sessions that explored the state of cardiology and hot button issues in health care, followed by a day of face-to-face meetings with lawmakers. While on the Hill, attendees urged Congress to avoid further harmful health care spending cuts and reform the Medicare payment system. The College also sponsored a Congressional briefing on women's heart health in collaboration with WomenHeart. As we face another round of sustainable growth rate cuts, sequestration and potential imaging cuts, the relationships established this week will ensure the voice of cardiology is heard loud and clear in upcoming health care discussions. For full coverage of the conference, visit CardioSource and the ACC in Touch Blog and view photos on Facebook.

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Opportunity to Get Additional PQRS Bonus for MOC
The American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) recently announced that its Maintenance of Certification (MOC) program has been approved to give physicians who also successfully participate in the Medicare Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) an additional bonus. Physicians would be required to be successful participants in PQRS for 2012 and also complete MOC elements more frequently than required for the actual maintenance of the certification. Successful participants in PQRS in 2012 will receive a bonus equal to 0.5 percent of allowed charges — completing this program would double that bonus opportunity to 1 percent of allowed charges. The ABIM will submit information directly to CMS on successful participation in this program. Physicians still have the opportunity to participate successfully in PQRS in 2012 through the use of the PQRI Wizard. More details on the ABIM program requirements can be found here.

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ACC Urges Congress on Sequestration Provision and SGR
The ACC in September signed-on to a joint letter urging Congress to nullify the Budget Control Act's sequestration provision and the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula. The letter reaffirms the medical community's commitment to high-quality, high-value, coordinated care and highlights the importance of providing a stable payment environment for health care professionals in order to propel medical innovation. Read more.

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New Recommendations Expand Indications for CRT
New joint guidelines for device-based therapy of cardiac rhythm abnormalities were recently released by the ACC Foundation, American Heart Association and Heart Rhythm Society. Chief among the updates to the 2008 guidelines are expanded indications for cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) and device follow up. When it comes to CRT, the document clarifies and provides recommendations about which patients are most likely to benefit from the therapy based on recent clinical trials, such as the MADIT-CRT trial, RAFT trial, REVERSE trial and MIRACLE ICD II trial. Read more and check out the Cardiac Rhythm Management Community.

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ICD Use in the Spotlight
According to press reports, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) is getting closer to wrapping up its two-year long investigation into claims for implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs). Hospitals around the country reportedly received e-mails yesterday asking them to conduct self-audits of their ICD cases and providing them with a model for resolution of the investigation. The penalties levied against each of the hospitals will vary, based on the severity of harm, prior knowledge of wrongdoing, existence of a compliance program and other such factors. To review the Medicare National Coverage Determination on ICDs, click here. Read more on CardioSource.

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Readmissions Penalties Kick in Oct. 1
Hospitals will begin to have their payments adjusted based on readmission rates as of Oct. 1. This policy, implemented as part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2008, will reduce payments to hospitals by as much as 1 percent if they have particularly high readmission rates for patients with heart failure, acute myocardial infarction and pneumonia. The readmissions measures are based on performance between the middle of 2008 and the middle of 2011. Most hospitals will receive very small payment adjustments under this policy. Learn more about payment adjustments for hospitals regionally. Through the Hospital to Home program, the ACC is working to reduce unnecessary hospitalizations throughout the country. Learn more about the program here.

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ICD-10 Date is Official
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) finalized a proposed one-year delay for ICD-10 compliance, officially setting the deadline to Oct. 1, 2014. HHS confirmed the deadline while announcing the establishment of a unique health plan identifier, a new health care standard that stems from the ACA. Find out what you need to know about ICD-10.

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White Paper Guides CV Service Line Success
A new white paper from the ACC's Council on Clinical Practice describes the various aspects of developing and managing a successful cardiovascular (CV) Service Line. Currently, CV care accounts for a large percentage of overall health care costs. The transition from traditional fee-for-service payment models to value-based payment models has encouraged physicians and hospitals to work collaboratively to provide more efficient and less costly health care. The paper delves into the building blocks for a successful CV Service Line including, dynamic leadership, a strong but flexible organizational structure and a commitment to a physician/hospital partnership.
Download the paper here.

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Recap from ESC in Munich
The European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress 2012 wrapped at the end of August in Munich, Germany, and the ACC was on the scene covering the latest science. In addition to the release of the Third Universal Definition of Myocardial Infarction, hot trials included:

For full coverage from ESC 2012, visit the meeting coverage page on CardioSource.

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Social Media Channels
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 the ACC.13 Annual Meeting @ACC_2013 as well as 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.

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