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

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

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

ACC Approves Transformational Changes to Its Governance Structure

Williams HeadshotBy Kim Allan Williams Sr., MD, FACC, ACC President

Leadership.  It’s not for the faint of heart.

In a well-known Harvard Business Review article, author and psychiatrist Daniel Goleman wrote that the best leaders have five key traits: 1) self-awareness; 2) self-regulation; 3) motivation; 4) empathy; and 5) social skill. Dr. Goleman noted that leaders with these traits are trustworthy, open to change, have a strong drive to achieve, maintain optimism in the face of failure, and reflect an unwavering commitment to his/her organization, profession, and/or an issue at hand. Each of these traits was on full display last weekend during the Board of Trustees’ meeting when members approved substantial – and largely unprecedented – changes to the College’s governance structure that will make us more nimble, strategic, accountable, and more reflective of the diversity and breadth within the global cardiovascular community. Continue reading

Diabetes Awareness: Everyone Has a Role

Williams HeadshotThis post was authored by ACC President Kim Allan Williams Sr., MD, FACC.

When it comes to diabetes education and support everyone has a role! As November kicks off Diabetes Awareness Month, it’s a good time to be mindful of the ACC tools and resources available to help you, as clinicians do your part to prevent and treat this disease that affects more than 30 million children and adults in the U.S. alone.

The Diabetes Collaborative Registry is one of the most exciting and ambitious new initiatives the College is involved in. In partnership with the Joslin Diabetes Center, American Diabetes Association, American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists and the American College of Physicians, our goal is to change the way diabetes is understood and treated. We feel strongly that by uniting primary care physicians, endocrinologists, cardiologists and other diabetes care providers we can make significant improvements in diabetes care and patient outcomes. Anyone can join the Diabetes Collaborative Registry for free. For practices already participating in the ACC’s PINNACLE Registry, the process is even easier and uses the same registry interface. Continue reading

Roundtable Discusses Periprocedural Management of Anticoagulation and Management of Bleeding

Williams HeadshotThis post was authored by ACC President Kim Allan Williams Sr., MD, FACC.

Anticoagulation management is a rapidly-evolving field, presenting challenges to clinicians across a broad range of specialties. With new reversal agents on the horizon, there is a critical need for guidance. In an effort to better guide clinicians to address the evolving challenges of anticoagulation care, the ACC brought together a number of stakeholders across the health care spectrum for its third Anticoagulation Consortium Roundtable this past weekend. Continue reading

Response to NEJM Article on Role of Bioprosthetic Aortic Valves

From the American College of Cardiology and The Society of Thoracic Surgeons

Bioprosthetic aortic valves play a central role in the treatment of patients with severe aortic valve disease. They increasingly are used in patients undergoing surgical aortic valve replacement (SAVR), as well as more recently in patients undergoing transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR). In both groups, there are abundant data regarding safety and effectiveness. In SAVR there has been an extensive long-term experience with these tissue prostheses, while TAVR has been studied in randomized clinical trials and registries more closely than any other therapeutic valvular procedure. In both sets of data, patients have been found to receive overall benefit from the bioprosthetic valve, and adverse events related specifically to the valves have been infrequent. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has reviewed the available data and has clearly stated that “the benefits of using these devices for the currently approved indications continue to outweigh the risks.”  Continue reading

ACC Advocacy Is Shaping the Future of Cardiology

Williams HeadshotThis post was authored by ACC President Kim Allan Williams Sr., MD, FACC.

Starting today, over 400 cardiovascular professionals are gathering in Washington, DC, for the ACC’s 2015 Legislative Conference. The purpose of this annual event is to tell lawmakers about the difference ACC members make in the lives of patients and share the College’s vision for continuing the advancement of cardiovascular care. Even if you aren’t attending Legislative Conference, it’s important to stay abreast of issues facing cardiology and get involved with ACC’s advocacy efforts to ensure decisions made in Washington and in the states are in the best interest of patients, providers and practices. Continue reading

Defining Optimal Governance: A Key Priority for ACC’s BOT

The ACC has experienced significant growth and change over the last decade. Much of this growth has come in response to changes in the health care environment, as well as changes to member demographics. Currently the College’s membership stands at 49,000 domestic and international members, with more than 80 state and international chapters, in addition to more than 420 staff and an over $120 million dollar annual operating budget. Further, the trend toward hospital integration for a majority of ACC’s members has required us to change and tailor our products and services to meet the different needs of members in these institutional environments.   Continue reading

ACC Board Issues Guidance on Next Steps in MOC Effort

This post was authored by ACC President Kim Allan Williams Sr., MD, FACC.

Each August the ACC’s Board of Trustees comes together for a mid-year check-in on College activities and progress towards strategic goals. This meeting is also an important time for College leaders to make decisions relating to hot issues that have emerged since the last meeting in March.

This year’s meeting was no different, with ACC leaders and staff presenting on efforts to date around the College’s four strategic themes of population health, transformation of care, purposeful education, and member value and engagement. However, one of the hottest topics at this year’s meeting was the American Board of Internal Medicine’s (ABIM) controversial Maintenance of Certification (MOC) policies and how to move forward in a manner that best meets the needs of internal medicine physicians and the patients they serve. Continue reading