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

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

Cardiovascular Summit: Disruptive Solutions For the CV Care Team

ValentineThis post was authored by C. Michael Valentine, MD, FACC, incoming vice president of the ACC and course co-director of the 2016 Cardiovascular Summit.

As clinicians, we strive day in and day out to provide high-quality, patient-centered, cost-efficient care to our patients. In a time of rapid health care change, balancing all of this while also striving to achieve operational excellence and financial success is challenging to say the least.

Recognizing the need for solutions to help cardiovascular professionals thrive in this time of change, Howard T. Walpole, MD, MBA, FACC, Pamela S. Douglas, MD, MACC, and I started the Cardiovascular Summit several years back. Since then, the course has evolved to meet the current needs of entire the cardiovascular care team. 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

Advocating for Cardiology in the Nation’s Capital

The ACC’s 2015 Legislative Conference is in full swing in Washington, DC. The conference kicked off on Sunday night with a special ACC Political Action Committee-sponsored reception and dinner featuring remarks from Pulitzer Prize-winning syndicated columnist, political commentator and psychiatrist Charles Krauthammer, MD. In the midst of a unique congressional climate, Krauthammer shared an insider’s perspective into the state of politics in Washington and the 2016 presidential election.

Today, a full lineup of sessions armed more than 400 attendees with the information needed to effect change in their states and on Capitol Hill. While it’s important for attendees to understand the health policy landscape every year, it’s more important than ever in 2015. Recent developments, including repeal of the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) by enactment of the Medicare Access and CHIP Authorization Act of 2015, release of new Meaningful Use regulations and ICD-10 implementation, have significantly shifted how health care is delivered, resulting in novel challenges and opportunities. Continue reading

Population Health and Primary Prevention in the Spotlight

MartinThis post was authored by Gerard R. Martin, MD, FACC, chair of the ACC’s Population Health Policy and Health Promotion Committee.

We’re currently at a crossroads of health care delivery and health promotion. Up until now, we, as cardiovascular professionals, have been laser focused on secondary prevention, only scraping the surface of primary prevention. While technological and educational advances over the last few decades have resulted in a significant reduction of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in the U.S., the burden of CVD is set to increase 57 percent by 2020 worldwide.

To adjust to this new landscape, we must shift the paradigm from treatment to prevention and begin moving towards population health if we want to kick CVD off the list as the world’s #1 killer. This is no easy task. Population health – which is at a complex intersection between an increasingly diverse population, an evolving health care system, traditional public health and elaborate social policies – is not easy to define. I can guarantee that each and every one of us has a different perspective on the topic, making it difficult to come to a consensus on how best to move forward. Continue reading

ACC on Capitol Hill: Health Information Blocking is a Threat to Patients and Practices

MIrroThis post was authored by Michael J. Mirro, MD, FACC, a member of the ACC’s Informatics and Health Information Technology Task Force.

Today, I had the opportunity to testify on Capitol Hill about the important issue of health information blocking, unforeseen problems that have been created by electronic health records (EHRs), and possible solutions to help improve care during a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee hearing titled “Achieving the Promise of Health Information Technology: Information Blocking and Potential Solutions.”

This spring, Senate HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) announced their aim to accomplish five items related to interoperability of EHRs, including health information blocking, by the end of the year—whether through legislative means or an administrative fix. To accomplish this goal, the Senate HELP Committee has been hard at work soliciting feedback from stakeholder organizations, including the ACC, to help them pave a path forward. Continue reading

ACC President Celebrates SGR Repeal Victory at White House

Yesterday, ACC President Kim Allan Williams, Sr., MD, FACC, represented the College at the White House where President Barack Obama hosted a reception to celebrate passage of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA). Williams attended the Rose Garden ceremony along with Democrat and Republican Committee staff, House Speaker John Boehner, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, and Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Matthew Burwell.

The recently passed legislation, which permanently repeals the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR), establishes a framework for rewarding clinicians for value over volume, streamlines quality reporting programs into one system, and reauthorizes two years of funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, is a tremendous victory for the house of medicine and ends nearly two decades of uncertainty for providers, practices and patients. Continue reading

An Important Message From the ACC President on ABIM MOC and SGR Legislation

Dear ACC Members,

As you know, we are on the brink of a historic Senate vote that would permanently repeal the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) that has created well over a decade of instability for our patients and our practices. The bill to be considered, H.R. 2, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015, is a well-vetted piece of legislation that was developed in a bipartisan, bicameral manner and enjoys the support of ACC and virtually all of organized medicine. This consensus legislation passed the House two weeks ago with an overwhelming level of support- 392 members from across the political spectrum. We now must push the Senate to act.

We have issued multiple calls to action for you to contact your legislators. With over 6,000 messages to the Hill from members of the ACC alone, the response has been unprecedented and impressive. In recent days, we have seen speculation and misinformation that is a potentially damaging distraction from this critical effort.

The facts are clear. H.R. 2, supported by the ACC, does not require participation in maintenance of certification (MOC), nor does it establish ABMS, ABIM, or any specific entity to administer MOC. No one would be forced to participate in MOC. Continue reading