Dr. Smith Goes to Washington

Picture1This post was authored by Annabelle S. Volgman, MD, FACC, a member of the Women in Cardiology (WIC) Section.

 Cardiologists on Capitol Hill? It turns out that a big part of taking care of patients is controlled by what happens in Congress! Lobbyists can have negative reputations, but there is nothing wrong with lobbying for your patients and your livelihood in order to improve the care of those patients.

As a naturalized American citizen, I found it fascinating to interact with representatives and senators about the day-to-day challenges and experiences of a cardiologist. They were actually interested in hearing what I had to say! I realized after decades of being a cardiologist that, if I really wanted to impact health care, I could do so by influencing the people who make the laws. I hope every cardiologist can have the experience of “going to the Hill” in order to advocate for cardiovascular clinicians and the care of our patients. Continue reading

Helping Congress Transform Cardiovascular Care

This post was authored by Michelle Hadley, DO, a fellow in training at St. Vincent Hospital in Worcester, MA.

I have always wanted to be impactful. In October, I attended ACC’s 2015 Legislative Conference in Washington, DC. We met with our representatives on the House side, as well as with our senators. Unfortunately at that time, my district congressman was not in DC. Therefore, I took it upon myself to schedule a meeting in Worcester, MA, to meet with him.

Rep. Jim McGovern’s (D-MA) office was a big, open floor plan. All the side doors were open and every turn seemed to be greeted with a smiling face. Before I had time to completely take off my coat, the congressman walked out to introduce himself and extended his hand with a pleasant smile.  Continue reading

The Path Forward to Health Equity

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

Throughout my ACC presidency, I focused on bringing attention to health disparities and finding solutions to ensure all patients receive the cardiovascular care they deserve. While my presidential term has come to a close, I am determined to continue advocating for the underserved.

As part of National Minority Health Month, I joined colleagues and lawmakers in Washington, DC, last week at the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center for the Democratic Forum on Achieving Health Equity: The Path Forward. I was honored to be invited by the House Energy and Commerce Committee Democrats in partnership with the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), Congressional Hispanic Caucus and Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (collectively known as the Congressional Tri-Caucus) to speak on a panel titled, “Examining Disparities Across the Continuum of Care through the Lens of Heart Disease.” Continue reading

Past ACC President Selected to Chair World Heart Federation Partners Council

This post was authored by John Gordon Harold, MD, MACC, past-president of the ACC.

I am honored to have been chosen as the chair of the World Heart Federation (WHF) Partners Council for 2016 on behalf of the ACC. In this new capacity representing the College, I led the first meeting of the WHF’s Partners Council in March 11 in London, England.

WHF President Salim Yusuf, MBBS, FACC, opened the meeting noting that the vision of the WHF is to work with members and the cardiovascular health community to hasten the day when cardiovascular health is no longer a privilege – but a right, and when cardiovascular disease is transformed from a life-threatening disease to one that can be prevented and managed in all populations. He added that the role of the WHF is to serve as the global facilitator, convener, trusted adviser and representative of cardiovascular disease stakeholders, driving the global cardiovascular health agenda by converting policy into action, through its members and a broader network of partners. Continue reading

Changing the Conversation: A Unique Approach to Legislative Practice Visits

This article was authored by Edward J. Toggart, MD, FACC, governor of the ACC Oregon Chapter.

Recently, I had the opportunity to meet with Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR), who is a veterinarian by trade and is in his 4th term in Congress. He currently serves on the House Health Subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee. He also previously served as a member of the non-partisan Congressional Arts Caucus and was heavily involved in the repeal of the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR).

I was contacted by ACC’s Grassroots Advocacy manager about an opportunity for Rep. Schrader to make a practice visit. After accepting the offer, I immediately began thinking about how to best approach the visit, including how to communicate the critical issues facing the cardiology community. Continue reading

Health IT Innovation Showcased at HIMSS16

Photo for Publication or Presentation Purposes 2015This post was authored by Tyler J. Gluckman, MD, FACC, a presenter at HIMSS16.

Just weeks after the ACC was in Las Vegas for the 2016 Cardiovascular Summit, thousands of health information technology (IT) experts came together in the same city for the 2016 Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society Conference (HIMSS16). The conference focused on how technology is being used to improve health and was a stage for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and other government agencies to announce policies that will shape the future of health IT.

At HIMSS16, the ACC took part in the HIMSS Interoperability Showcase, an area dedicated to innovations in interoperability. The ACC has been a longtime advocate for interoperability, which describes how effectively clinical data can move between different participants, both human and technological, in the care delivery chain. The College was able to highlight its work in this space – from Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise efforts to using NCDR registries to enable interoperability – during presentations by ACC members and staff in the Interoperability Showcase. 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

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

The Responsibility and Power of Advocacy

This post was authored by Ada Stefanescu, MD, a fellow in training and a member of ACC’s Adult Congenital Pediatric Cardiology (ACPC) Section.

“You all have no idea how powerful your message is, and how powerful you are.”

This was the statement from a professional political consultant to the attendees of the 2015 ACC Legislative Conference. The meeting brought over 400 ACC members together for three days in Washington, DC, to discuss issues on Capitol Hill that impact our patients and our practices. He was right: as advocates for our patients, we saw the power we have when we bring their stories and our perspective – from the trenches in the hospital, the clinic and the lab – to the table of the legislators and administrators. Continue reading

The Time is Ripe For a New Dialogue on Capitol Hill

As part of ACC’s 2015 Legislative Conference, more than 400 cardiovascular professionals were on Capitol Hill yesterday meeting with their congressional leaders. For the first time in many years, cardiology had a fresh message to take to Washington. Now that the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) is history, it’s time to focus on other issues that threaten the tremendous progress that has been made over the last several decades to reduce cardiovascular disease. Continue reading