A FIT Perspective of Legislative Conference 2013

This post was authored by Stephanie Siehr, MD, chair of the FIT Section Leadership Council and a fellow of Pediatric Cardiology at Stanford University.

I had the pleasure of attending the ACC’s annual Legislative Conference this past week in Washington, DC, and was joined by numerous fellows in training (FITs) from across the country who all traveled to our nation’s capital to learn about health policy from ACC leaders and to communicate directly with members of Congress to promote cardiovascular care in the changing landscape of health care reform.

The first day included learning about the strategic plan for the future of ACC from Shal Jacobovitz, CEO of ACC, as well as an address from John Gordon Harold, MD, FACC, president of the ACC.  They set the groundwork for an exciting day consisting of ACC member panelists discussing the transformation of health care to members of the Senate Finance Committee giving us an inside look into bipartisan efforts in payment reform.  ACCPAC held a reception that evening where all the FITs met with leaders within the community. Continue reading

Uniting to Shape the Future of Health Care

“We in America do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who participate.” – Thomas Jefferson

BallroomThis quote is on my mind this week as hundreds of cardiovascular professionals from across the country stepped up to the plate to help shape the future of the nation’s health care during the 2013 ACC Legislative Conference in Washington, DC. Having the entire cardiac care team unite to tackle the looming health care challenges is more important than ever.

We’re in the midst of the most pivotal time period for health care. A triple threat of cuts to medical research funding, a declining physician workforce and reductions in graduate medical education, plus the millions of patients who will enter the system in 2014 as part of the Affordable Care Act, has created stormy waters for health care. Banding together to accelerate advocacy efforts that increase access, reduce disparities and reward value is vital given this changing cardiovascular landscape. Continue reading

We Want YOU to be Engaged in Advocacy

This post was authored by Eugene Sherman, MD, FACC, chair of the Advocacy Steering Committee and Political Action Committee.

“The time has come for all of us, young and old, to get involved in this reshaping of our health care system.” – James T. Dove, MD, MACC, ACC President, 2007-2008

In a few days, ACC members will come together to advocate for and discuss the key issues facing cardiology. As David May said in a previous blog post, “the meeting will arm the entire cardiac care team with the information and tools necessary to effect change on both the state and national level.” Continue reading

Call to Action: An Opportunity to Unite Around Medical Research Funding

On Wednesday, Sept. 18, the College is urging members to participate in a Rally for Medical Research Hill Day by sending letters to members of Congress urging them to invest in the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

It’s no secret that federal funding for medical research is in serious jeopardy. NIH funding has remained essentially flat since 2003. When factoring in the rate of biomedical inflation, the agency has lost approximately $6 billion, or 20 percent, in purchasing power, hindering its ability to fund life-saving research at a sustained pace. To make matters worse, the recent sequestration slashed the NIH budget by roughly $1.5 billion, or a little more than 5 percent. According to NIH Director Francis Collins, unless the Budget Control Act is replaced, the NIH will lose $19 billion in funding by 2021. Continue reading

Health Care Reform Headed for a Perfect Storm

A Perfect Storm: A critical or disastrous situation created by a powerful concurrence of factors.

As cardiovascular professionals, our top priority is, and always will be, delivering the best possible care to our patients. Throughout our careers, we continuously strengthen our knowledge and skills through various education opportunities in order to ensure we are the best providers we can be. While our dedication to medicine is unwavering, the health care system is failing us, and has been for some time. Continue reading

Fighting Apathy and Demonstrating Value

This post was authored by Robert Shor, MD, FACC, governor of the Virginia Chapter of the ACC.

The question of where we are and where we need to go in terms of critical care cardiology has been at the forefront of my mind recently.  Has the train left the station? If so, what track is it on and can we redirect the direction of the train? I believe that we must make sure whatever policy is developed remains as inclusive as possible, meets the needs of our membership and allows us to remain advocates for our patients.  I believe more certification of docs and coronary care units is not the answer and would prefer to have individual procedures and programs meet certain standards, as has recently been done with transcatheter aortic valve replacement. Continue reading

Cardiovascular “Village” Takes Recommendations to Capitol Hill

This post was authored by Eugene Sherman, MD, FACC, chair of the ACC’s Advocacy Steering Committee and Political Action Committee.

This week I had the privilege of representing the ACC and cap_hillits members on Capitol Hill, as part of a two-day “Fly-In” with several other cardiovascular societies and their leadership. Leading our efforts was ACC Vice President Kim Allan Williams, MD, FACC. Other societies in attendance included the Association of Black Cardiologists (ABC), American Society of Echocardiography, American Society of Nuclear Cardiology, The Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions, The Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) and the Heart Failure Society of America (HFSA). Continue reading

Let the Budget Season Begin

Everybody has a budget. Your family does, my practice does, your state has a budget, the ACC has a budget… and so does the country (at least some of the time). This week the president released his 2014 budget and I thought you might like to see some of the proposed provisions that impact cardiology and the practice of medicine as a whole.

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