House of Cardiology Takes Recommendations to Capitol Hill: This week, ACC leaders took part in a two-day "Fly-In" with several other cardiovascular societies and their leadership aimed at underscoring the need for Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) repeal and a value-driven system that better aligns payment with performance of evidence-based medicine. The ACC, along with representatives from the Association of Black Cardiologists, American Society of Echocardiography, American Society of Nuclear Cardiology, Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions, Society of Thoracic Surgeons and Heart Failure Society of America, met with nearly 20 congressional offices, including that of Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA). These meetings come at a crucial time, with several House and Senate committees deliberating final versions of their plans to fix the flawed SGR formula and reform the Medicare physician payment system, and helped strengthen relationships with lawmakers. Get a glimpse of ACC's day on the Hill in an ACC in Touch Blog post by Advocacy Steering Committee and Political Action Committee Chair Eugene Sherman, MD, FACC. You can help ensure the voice of cardiology is heard in Washington during ACC's 2013 Legislative Conference, Sept. 22-24. Join colleagues from across the country to tackle issues facing health care, get an insider's view from Capitol Hill, and meet directly with lawmakers. Hold your spot now. A limited number of travel awards for Fellows in Training and Cardiovascular Care Team members are available.
Passive No More: Physicians must lead the charge towards realigning incentives to ensure quality health care that is both appropriate and cost-effective, writes ACC Board of Governors Chair David May, MD, PhD, FACC, on the ACC in Touch blog. Faced with numerous challenges, May argues that physicians have become passive and must stand up and be leaders for themselves and for patients. "We need not stand on the sideline, accepting meager bits of platitude, thankful for bones thrown our way," writes May. "Let us play the hard pieces, rise to our full potential and enrich our country for the good of all of us." Read more.
Penalty Countdown: Health care providers who have not demonstrated successful e-prescribing (eRx) by June 30 will have all of their 2014 Medicare payments reduced by 2 percent. You must be participating now in the federal eRx Incentive Program to avoid incurring penalties next year. If you are pursuing Electronic Health Records (EHR) Incentive Program funds, you may be able to avoid the penalty by claiming an exemption. Get the details to avoid being penalized.
Are You Ready for Sunshine? Implementation of the Physician Payments Sunshine Act (also known as the Open Payments program) begins on Aug. 1. To help you navigate the new rules, the ACC is hosting a webinar on June 27 at 2 p.m. ET that will provide an overview of the law, explain how it will affect interactions between physicians and industry, and prepare you and your practice for implementation. Reserve your spot.
Reimbursement Change on the Horizon: Starting on July 1, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will require claims including CPT codes for transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) (0256T, 0257T, 0258T, 0259T, 33361, 33362, 33363, 33364, 33365 and 0318T) to contain the following before they will issue reimbursement:
- Clinical trial registry number (an eight digit number preceded by "CT")
- Q0 modifier
- Secondary diagnosis code of V70.7 (examination of participant in clinical trial)
For more information, click here.
TAVR Data Collection Reminder: With the growing prevalence of TAVR procedures, it is important that physicians and STS/ACC TVT Registry™ team members be aware of the importance of capturing complete and accurate data for all registry patients. One of the conditions included in CMS' National Coverage Determination for TAVR procedures is participation in the STS/ACC TVT Registry™ with 100 percent of all TVT Registry data captured for each patient. Among the data required is the Kansas City Cardiomyopathy Questionnaire (KCCQ) for all patients at baseline, 30-day and 1-year follow up. CMS has expressed concerns that some sites have not consistently captured all TVT Registry data, especially the KCCQ required fields. Sites that need assistance implementing the KCCQ are encouraged to contact the TVT Registry at (800) 257-4737 or firstname.lastname@example.org for support.
Attention Cardiovascular Administrators: The "Medicare Learning Network® Suite of Products and Resources for Compliance Officers" Educational Web Guide is now available to download. This resource is designed to provide education on the many compliance issues facing health care professionals today. It includes direct links to information arranged by specialty to address the detailed compliance issues distinctive to individual provider types to assist in accurate claims review and submission. Download the guide.
Reducing Readmissions: Hospital readmission rates for Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries significantly declined in 2012, according to new research released by CMS. Results showed from 2007-2011, the 30-day, all-cause, hospital readmission rates were consistently 19 percent, however, during 2012, the monthly readmission rate dropped to a low of 18 percent in October, and averaged to 18.4 percent for the year. While overall readmissions are down, nearly one in five patients hospitalized with heart attack and one in four patients hospitalized with heart failure are readmitted within 30 days of discharge. To help combat this problem, the ACC has launched a new program with support from founding sponsor AstraZeneca to provide personalized services to heart disease patients and help avoid a quick return to the hospital. Learn about the Patient Navigator Program. In related news, a new model to risk-standardize hospital rates of survival for in-hospital cardiac arrest could help hospitals improve quality by allowing them to benchmark their risk-adjusted performance against other hospitals, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Get full coverage.
In the News: The path to a better health care environment for patients starts with engaging patients in research and decision-making, encouraging dialogue between patients and physicians, and using an EHR as a collaborative communication tool in the exam room, according to the authors of three separate viewpoint articles published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Read more.