Find Your Heart a Home

DEHMER_BOT_2010This post was authored by Gregory J. Dehmer, MD, MACC, chair of the NCDR Public Reporting Advisory Group.

In this era of health care transparency, patients and their families want access to credible information about quality of care to help them make informed decisions. Recognizing this trend, the ACC spent several years developing a program to bring important information about the quality of care provided at NCDR hospitals to the public. In addition to empowering patients to take an active role in their care decisions, ACC’s public reporting program, which U.S. News and World Report called an “initial step towards transformational transparency,” incentivizes clinicians and health care organizations to improve quality of care. Continue reading

Congenital Heart Disease Awareness: Transitioning ACHD Patients Into Specialty Care

Marion Rae headshotThis article was authored by Marion McRae, ACNP-BC, a nurse practitioner in the Guerin Family Congenital Heart Program at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, CA.

Congenital heart disease (CHD) occurs in close to 1 percent of births with over 90 percent living to adulthood. There are now more adults living with CHD than children due to successful surgical and medical treatment over the last six decades. Unfortunately, many adults with CHD have fallen out of congenital heart care either because they were told they were surgically “fixed” or because they were never referred to adult congenital heart disease (AHCD) providers upon reaching adulthood.

It is now known from decades of follow-up that there can be life-long consequences of even the simplest congenital heart surgeries. In addition, we now know that many individuals with complex CHD repairs that have a single ventricle or a systemic right ventricle will experience early heart failure, arrhythmias, and far-reaching manifestations of surgical procedures, such as the Fontan operation, that subject the body to systemic venous hypertension leading to liver cirrhosis, pulmonary hypertension, esophageal varices, protein-losing enteropathy, plastic bronchitis, etc. Many of these individuals will go on to need a heart transplant or multi-organ transplantation in their second to fourth decade of life.  Continue reading

Leadership Forum Arms New and Emerging ACC Leaders With Tools For Success

richard_a_chazal_130x130_12_31_2014This post was authored by Richard A. Chazal, MD, FACC, president-elect of the ACC.

It was an honor to join my ACC leadership peers and colleagues in Washington, DC for the College’s Leadership Forum, which was kicked off Friday morning by ACC President Kim Allan Williams, MD, FACC. The annual event sets out to clarify the purpose, charge and expectation of being a member leader within the College and arms participants with practical tools to use to be a more effective leader in transforming cardiovascular care and improving heart health.

Key portions of the meeting were dedicated to helping ACC leaders understand ACC’s governance transformation underway. We heard talks clarifying why the College has decided to take on such a monumental task and shift in thinking, as well as expounding upon the specifics of organizational structure and decision-making. In morning sessions, I explained that as a College, we have evolved: our environment has changed; our membership has changed; and our activities have changed. The governance structure that served us so well for many years was built for a much smaller organization with more limited scope. As such, we need to be governed by a broad-based, strategic, competency driven structure that makes sense in this new landscape. Continue reading

American Heart Month: Making Informed Care Decisions

Williams HeadshotThis post was authored by Kim Allan Williams Sr. MD, FACC, president of the ACC.

At the beginning of each new year, we make resolutions to create healthier habits, typically we try new activities and engage more with friends and family. February is American Heart Month – a month dedicated to raising awareness of cardiovascular disease and the benefits of heart health – and is a great time to renew or continue these resolutions – especially those related to health – so they become lifelong habits.

This year the ACC is taking part in several activities to raise awareness for Heart Month, with a particular focus on patient engagement and making informed care decisions. The month will also focus on initiatives within the College and ACC’s CardioSmart, including calling attention to special awareness weeks for congenital heart disease (Feb. 7 – 13), cardiac rehabilitation (rehab) (Feb. 14 – 21) and heart failure (Feb. 14 – 21). Continue reading

ACC.16: Disrupt Your Thinking and Ignite Innovation

POPPAS_BOT_2010This post was authored by Athena Poppas, MD, FACC, chair of ACC’s Annual Scientific Session.

ACC’s 65th Annual Scientific Session will feature sessions and lectures designed to disrupt your thinking and ignite innovation. Members of the cardiovascular care team from around the world will join together at this intersection of science and change in Chicago, IL from April 2 – 4.

The program committee – comprised of some of the best and brightest in their respective fields – is committed to providing the most valuable and up-to-date content at ACC.16. Once again, the meeting will feature “more learning, less lecturing” in order to give attendees as much practical training, education and networking as possible in our dynamic three-day format. We know you’ll want to get back to your patients and everyday lives quickly – refreshed and ready to apply what you’ve learned in Chicago. Continue reading

Grassroots Advocate in the Spotlight: Anita Arnold, DO, FACC

arnold#2 jpeg copyThis post was authored by Anita Arnold, DO, FACC, a member of ACC’s Health Affairs Committee and a grassroots advocate.

I had never thought about meeting with a member of Congress on behalf of the ACC, but when I moved to Florida, Allen Seals, MD, FACC, was the advocacy chair, and he quickly recruited me to the cause. I was under the mistaken impression that congressional members were very much aware of the issues, and would not want to talk with me about them. But as it turns out, if health care is not a priority of theirs, they know very little and are interested in dialoguing with a representative of an important group such as the ACC. Continue reading

Fitness For the FIT: Practicing What You Preach

Nicholas Ierovante_Cardiology_PGY-4This post was authored by Nick Ierovante, DO, a fellow in training (FIT) at the Wright Center For Graduate Medical Education.

As I sat in the office discussing Mr. R’s recent hospitalization, I felt fine discussing his cath findings, percutaneous coronary intervention and new medications. Though soon after, I noticed a familiar apprehensiveness coming from myself. As I was discussing his statin regimen, the little voice in my head started quietly whispering. As I started to discuss his cardiac rehab and diet modifications, it grew louder. By the time I was discussing daily activity recommendations, my inner monologue was screaming “HYPOCRITE!!!”   Continue reading

The Stethoscope Lives

Williams HeadshotThis post was authored by Kim Allan Williams Sr., MD, FACC, president of the ACC.

A recently published Washington Post article, “Heart doctors are listening for clues to the future of their stethoscopes,” highlights important issues in cardiology, claiming that the stethoscope “is having a crossroads moment.”

The stethoscope is certainly not dead. Recent digital technology has upgraded the functionality of stethoscopes.  They now allow volume accentuation and frequency selection, as well as digital file transfer for teaching on rounds, competence testing, or audio file archival for comparison with prior or future recordings. Continue reading

The Journey to Value-Based Payment Continues

Dr Paul CasaleThis post was authored by Paul Casale, MD, MPH, FACC, a member of ACC’s Board of Trustees and chair of the Partners in Quality Subcommittee.

Health care is undergoing a transformation in regard to how we, as physicians, are paid for our services. Over the last decade, the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement and Modernization Act, the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, the Tax Relief and Health Care Act of 2006, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2008, and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 have gradually moved the needle on quality reporting. While we’ve been on the journey from fee-for-service to pay-for-value for years, 2015 was a pivotal year for the transition to value-based payment.

Last year introduced the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA), legislation that permanently repeals the Sustainable Growth Rate, establishes a framework for rewarding clinicians for value over volume and streamlines quality reporting programs into one system. MACRA also established two new payment pathways for clinicians that will start in 2019: the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and Alternative Payment Models (APMs). Continue reading

Stakeholder Collaboration Key to Evolving Valve Management Strategies

Ogara_PatThis post was authored by ACC Immediate Past President Patrick T. O’Gara, MD, MACC.

The epidemiology of valvular heart disease (VHD) has changed dramatically over the past 50 years. In the U.S. alone, up to 1.5 million people have moderate or severe aortic stenosis (AS) and approximately 4 million people have significant mitral regurgitation (MR). Clinicians face several challenges in identifying and treating patients with valvular heart disease, particularly AS and MR.

To help better address these challenges, the College recently hosted a two-day Evolving Heart Valve Management Strategies Roundtable that brought together experts from 28 organizations representing a wide variety of medical specialties, industry, patients, integrated health systems and other stakeholder groups, as well as representatives from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Continue reading