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Global CVD in the Spotlight: World Heart Day
With the United Nations poised to debate and decide its Sustainable Development Goals for 2015 and beyond, the cardiovascular diseases community has a rare opportunity over the next few months to convince international bodies to devote appropriate resources to curb the rise of non-communicable diseases, including cardiovascular disease and stroke, according to a statement published recently from the Global Cardiovascular Disease Taskforce. The statement, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC), was released just before the cardiovascular community came together to build awareness of heart disease as part of World Heart Day. Given that the majority of cardiovascular disease is caused by food intake, physical activity levels and living environment, this year's World Heart Day was focused on promoting heart healthy environments where people live, work and play. See posts from the ACC on World Heart Day on ACC's Facebook page and Twitter feed.
Vote for Your State’s BOG and Cardiovascular Team State Liaison
Elections for the 2014 Board of Governors (BOG) and Cardiovascular Team State Liaisons will be held Oct. 22 – Nov. 17. Elected representatives will bring local needs to national attention, create new initiatives, develop quality, advocacy, and educational opportunities, and expand the value of membership. To learn which states will be holding elections and for more information about the election process, visit CardioSource.org/Elections. Official results will be announced after the Board of Trustees meeting on Dec. 8.
New NSTE-ACS Guideline
The ACC and AHA released the new 2014 Guideline for the Management of Patients With Non–ST-Elevation Acute Coronary Syndromes (NSTE-ACS). The guideline has a new name and new terminology that reflect current ways of thinking about this frequent and serious cardiac condition, and is the first full revision since the 2007 ACC/AHA Guideline or the Management of Patients with Unstable Angina and Non–ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarction (NSTEMI) and subsequent focused updates. Read more.
ACC Updates Choosing Wisely Heart Attack Recommendation
In response to new science showing that complete revascularization of all significantly blocked arteries leads to better outcomes in some heart attack patients, the ACC has withdrawn its Choosing Wisely recommendation that patients and caregivers examine whether this practice is truly necessary. As part of its American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation Choosing Wisely list of five things providers and patients should question released in April 2012, the ACC recommended questioning any intervention beyond unblocking just the "culprit" artery responsible for the heart attack in a hemodynamically stable patient. At the time the list was released, there were several nonrandomized studies demonstrating harm to patients when treating all significantly blocked arteries. However, over the past two years, new science has emerged showing potential improvements for some patients in their overall outcomes as a result of complete revascularization. Read more.
ACC/AHA Release Recommendations For Congenital and Genetic Heart Disease Screenings in Youth
Health care professionals should use a 14-element checklist when evaluating healthy, young individuals ages 12-25 for congenital and genetic heart disease vs. initial screening using electrocardiograms (ECGs), according to a new scientific statement released by the ACC and the American Heart Association and published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Read more about the recommendations on CardioSource.org.
State Advocacy in Action: California
California Governor Jerry Brown has signed into law S.B. 906, a measure strongly supported by the ACC's California Chapter. The law creates the Elective Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI) Program in the California Department of Public Health. It also authorizes certification of general acute care hospitals that provide urgent and emergent cardiac catheterization laboratory service. In order to be certified, a hospital must provide proof that it follows ACC, American Heart Association and Society for Cardiac Angiography and Interventions recommendations for performance of PCI without onsite cardiac surgery, and agree to participate in and provide timely data to the NCDR.
Pulse Oximetry Wins: Rhode Island, Mississippi, Washington
Three states are working toward joining the 40 that have mandated pulse oximetry screening for critical congenital heart disease (CCHD). The Rhode Island Department of Health has completed work on regulations that will become effective July 1, 2015. The Mississippi Department of Health has scheduled a vote on pulse oximetry regulations at its October meeting. According to Thad F. Waites, MD, FACC, a member of the ACC's Board of Trustees, the regulations will take effect immediately. Additionally, Washington State Rep. Dawn Morrell, a cardiac nurse, has written a letter to her state's department of health urging it to consider pulse oximetry regulations at its October meeting. Passing CCHD screening legislation is one of the College's state advocacy priorities and the ACC is continually working with local ACC Chapters, ACC's Adult Congenital and Pediatric Cardiology Section, and partners such as Mended Hearts and Mended Little Hearts to ensure the voice of CCHD patients and caregivers is heard on the state level as well as Capitol Hill.
Senate Finance Committee Examines CHIP Expiration
The Senate Finance Health Subcommittee recently held a hearing titled, "The Children's Health Insurance Program: Protecting America's Children and Families," which focused primarily on the pending expiration of the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Although the program is authorized through 2019, funding for CHIP expires in 2015. A lapse in funding for this crucial program could lead to significant disruption for state governments, private health plans, hospitals and numerous other stakeholders in addition to the families whose children are enrolled in the program. Panelists at the hearing cited difficulty with planning state budgets for 2016 because of uncertainty that the program would exist beyond its expiration date. Other panelists noted the challenge of a straight reauthorization of the program in a new regulatory environment, particularly those related to the Affordable Care Act. Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), one of the original architects of the program, and Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) have introduced legislation which would extend the program for four additional years, through 2019. In its June report to Congress, the Medicaid and CHIP Payment Access Commission called for the program to be extended for only two additional years.
Words of Wisdom from Legislative Conference
Fellow-in-training Howard Julien, MD, and Nicolas W. Shammas, MD, FACC, interviewed Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) last week while on Capitol Hill during ACC's Legislative Conference. Grassley weighed in on funding for graduate medical education and research, practice stability, Sustainable Growth Rate repeal, and the In-Office Ancillary Services Exception, and encouraged cardiovascular professionals to engage with lawmakers year round. "We would profit considerably by having more doctors being politically active... in the process of government," said Grassley. Visit the FITs on the Go video blog for additional coverage of Legislative Conference.
Voicing Support for Medicaid Payment Parity
The ACC joined with twenty other medical societies to send a letter of support to Sens. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) for introducing the Ensuring Access to Primary Care for Women and Children Act (S. 2694). This legislation would extend current-law payment rates under Medicaid for certain services to at least the level of Medicare through 2016. The bill ensures that physicians practicing in the specialties of family medicine, pediatrics, and internal medicine as well as related internal medicine and pediatric subspecialists continue to receive Medicare-level reimbursement rates for providing primary care and related subspecialty services to patients enrolled in Medicaid. A House version of the bill has been introduced by Rep. John Lewis (D-GA).
Addressing Impending Medical Isotope Shortage
The ACC signed-on to a coalition letter of support to the Department of Energy (DOE) to address the impending shortage of molybdenum 99 (Mo-99), a critical medical isotope used in over 20 million nuclear medicine procedures per year in the U.S. to help diagnose heart disease and cancer. We are currently two years away from a patient access crisis due to a scheduled stop in the production of Mo-99 at Canada's National Research Universal reactor in October 2016. With a shelf-life of only 66 hours, Mo-99 cannot be stockpiled, and therefore reliable production is considered critical medical infrastructure. New U.S.-based technologies have demonstrated strong progress toward filling the supply gap, while solving nuclear proliferation issues, but additional support is still needed to get these technologies to the market. The American Medical Isotope Production Act of 2012 calls for the DOE to support commercialization of a reliable domestic source of Mo-99 as soon as possible. The DOE has an existing program with funding to do so and at this point, no new funding or legislation is required. However, changes to how the DOE is operating the current program are necessary to reduce the time it takes for any of the current promising initiatives to reach the commercialization stage and begin to put Mo-99 into the market. Those who signed the letter include organizations of patients, health care providers, medical imaging companies, radiopharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors.
Investing in the Future of Cardiology with ACCPAC
ACC must have a seat at the table as Congress continues to debate and potentially enact laws affecting the practice of cardiovascular medicine. Through the bipartisan ACC Political Action Committee (ACCPAC), ranked among the top 10 medical specialty PACs in the U.S., the College is able to support members of Congress and candidates who are supporters of the cardiovascular community. Becoming a member of ACCPAC by making a contribution is a direct investment in the future and preservation of our profession. No contribution is too small to further ACCPAC's efforts. You can make a single contribution or sign-up for a periodic contribution on a monthly, quarterly, semi-annual or annual basis by visiting ACCPACweb.org.
ACC’s MOC Hub
The American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) implemented changes to its Maintenance of Certification (MOC) program for board-certified internists on January 1, 2014. The ACC and other members of the internal medicine community received a letter from the ABIM Board of Directors responding to a number of the concerns previously outlined by ACC and other professional organizations regarding the revised requirements for the ABIM Maintenance of Certification (MOC) Program. In this letter ABIM committed to further to changes in the MOC process to address these concerns — read the ACC in Touch blog to learn more. The College is continuing our efforts to educate our members about the new requirements and provide them the tools and resources necessary to help them meet these requirements as efficiently as possible. The ACC has created an MOC Hub with details about ABIM's current MOC program to inform and help ACC members navigate the changes. Learn more here.
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.
The Department of Health and Human Services issued a rule finalizing Oct. 1, 2015, as the new compliance date for the conversion from ICD-9 to ICD-10. Will your practice be ready? Join the ACC on Oct. 1 at 4 p.m. ET, one year ahead of implementation, for a webinar that will go over updated timelines and cardiology specific ICD-10 information to ensure your practice is prepared. The webinar will delve into guideline changes and discuss how your office should be preparing for modifications that will begin on Oct. 1, 2015. Register now. The webinar will be archived here for those unable to attend. To ensure that the transition to ICD-10 is running smoothly, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will be conducting end-to-end testing Jan. 26-30, 2015. Providers who are interested in participating in the testing should complete a volunteer form, available through their Medicare Administrative Contractor, by Oct. 3.
For Your Patients: I Am CardioSmart Contest
CardioSmart is in search of six inspiring individuals who are living well with one of these conditions Heart Attack, High Blood Pressure, Heart Failure, Atrial Fibrillation, Congenital Heart Defect, or Coronary Artery Disease. Share your story with us. If your story is selected, you'll be featured on our website to inspire others like you to partner with their care team and take charge of their heart health. You'll also win a $100 Amazon gift card. Excerpts from the winning stories will be posted to CardioSmart's Facebook page. CardioSmart’s Facebook friends (and yours!) will vote on who will win the grand prize—a trip for two to San Diego, CA in March 2015. Contest entry deadline is October 31, 2014 at 11:59 p.m. See Official Contest Rules for details.
ACC Chapters Key to Achieving College's Strategic Goals
"ACC chapters offer a uniquely personal touch point for members," writes ACC CEO Shalom Jacobovitz in a recent Leadership Page in JACC. The piece provides specific examples of ways ACC Chapters are providing rich member experiences from residency to retirement, whether its tailored educational programming, unique, local networking opportunities, or on-the-ground advocacy efforts. Jacobovitz notes that the continued success of ACC chapters is paramount to the success of the College. "It is by harnessing the power of these local organizations to advocate for and engage members and to strive for action-oriented, results-driven performance in the states that the ACC can make a difference," he says. "I look forward to seeing big things in the states over the coming year."
Snake Eyes: Even Smart Science Doesn’t Always Win
The cover story in the latest issue of CardioSource WorldNews discusses some of the highlights from the 2014 meeting of the European Society of Cardiology including the CONFIRM-HF trail, SOLID-TIMI 52 trail, PARADIGM-HF trail, and more. The article explains that “results do not always unfold as expected and can sometimes seem like the a roll of the dice, which makes clinical trials necessary and investigators essential to the news cycle of any major meeting.” Other highlights from the issue include a straight talk column on coronary vasospasm, a health teach column on a new tool for cardiologists, 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. 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 CardioSource.org/ACCinTouch.
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.
Download ACC’s New Advocacy Action Mobile App
Be sure to download the new 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).
ACC Launches Public Hospital Profiles and Hospital Search Tool
The ACC has launched a public-facing hospital database and search tool that enables patients to find and compare hospitals in their area based on the cardiac services they provide and important information related to the care they give. Now, all hospitals participating in the NCDR have a Hospital Profile on CardioSmart.org, the ACC’s patient education and empowerment website. Through these profiles, patients, caregivers and other stakeholders are able to search hospitals based on specific criteria (location, hospital name, services provided) and learn about every participating hospital's quality measurement efforts through the NCDR. The establishment of Hospital Profiles ensures that patients receive credible information about hospitals participating in the NCDR. For more information about this effort, visit NCDR.com. To find your hospital’s profile, visit CardioSmart.org/FindaHospital.