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ACC Advocate

Promoting Strong Practices, Protecting Patient Access

Current Issue - August 21, 2014


Get Up-to-Speed on ACC's Advocacy Priorities: Your ACC has developed a talking pointsPDF document that outlines how the College is leading the transformation of care by advocating for a quality driven health care system, practice stability and the future of cardiovascular care. Given the wide range of issues facing cardiovascular professionals, this document enables members to bring the issues they care about most to their legislators. This document will be put into action during the ACC's 2014 Legislative Conference held from Sept. 14 to 16 when nearly 400 members will head to Capitol Hill to meet directly with their representatives. Don't miss the opportunity to ensure the voice of cardiology is heard on the Hill—register for Legislative Conference today. Hotel accommodations are in high demand so don't delay.

Developing a quality driven health care system is one of the ACC's key advocacy prioritiesPDF. The ACC is a pioneer in the use of clinical data registries and is a leader in the creation of clinical practice guidelines, appropriate use criteria (AUC), and established quality initiatives aimed at decreasing unjustified variations in care, reducing hospital readmissions, and reducing unnecessary appending. Given its expertise in these areas, the College is actively working with Congress and other key stakeholders to develop a health care system that puts patients first and rewards cardiovascular professionals for their commitment to quality, evidence-based care.

The ACC encourages Congress to further enable the development of a quality-driven health care system in the following ways:

  • Federal investment in the creation and development of clinical data registries while ensuring relevant medical specialty society governance and oversight
  • Continued federal incentives to encourage the use of clinical data registries
  • Federal efforts to incentivize the expansion and application of AUC and practice guidelines for the performance of diagnostic tests and procedures
  • Federal investment in the creation and development of nationally recognized pediatric networks, which coordinate care for children with complex medical conditions, while ensuring relevant medical society governance and oversight
  • Federal efforts to use information from registries to improve access to care and to minimize disparities in the delivery of health care

Sunshine is Back: Recently, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) temporarily closed the Open Payments system while it investigated reported privacy issues. Last week, CMS announced that it has identified and resolved the issue. "CMS takes data integrity very seriously and took swift action after a physician reported a problem," said Shantanu Agrawal, MD, CMS deputy administrator and director of the Center for Program Integrity. "We have identified the root cause of the problem and have instituted a system fix to prevent similar errors." The system is now back up and running and CMS has extended the registration and review period through Sept. 8. Most reports will still be made available to the public on Sept. 30; however, as a result of the investigation into the problems that led to the temporary website closure, up to one-third of reports will not be available or published until June 2015. Physicians and teaching hospitals are encouraged to register through CMS' Enterprise Identity Management system and the Open Payments system as soon as possible in order to review their reports and identify any discrepancies before the data is made public. It's important to note that physicians and hospitals must wait 24 hours for their identity to be verified before they can access their report. Learn more and get tips for registering to preview your report on CardioSource.org.

EHR Use Widespread, but Challenges Persist: Over the last few years, the percentage of practices using electronic health records (EHRs) and the number of cardiologists participating in the federal EHR Incentive Program has grown tremendously. With these developments, clinicians are recognizing some real benefits from their EHRs; however, according to a recent CardioSurve surveyPDF, much room for improvement still exists for this technology particularly in the areas of interoperability and closing gaps in treatment and care. Nearly eight out of 10 cardiologists (78 percent) indicated they have been using EHRs for at least two years or more. More importantly, nine out of 10 cardiologists said they have a fully functioning EHR program or are in the process of implementing one. Given this increase in usage, as well as opportunities through 2015 to receive financial incentives, it's not surprising that nearly 80 percent of respondents also said they are participating in the EHR Incentive Program – up from 58 percent in 2011. Read about some of the challenges aheadPDF. Navigate the EHR Incentive Program based on your level of participation by visiting CardioSource.org.

Coding Corner for ICD-10: The latest CardioSurve newsletterPDF also delves into the looming transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10. According to ACC's research, nearly 65 percent of cardiologists are unclear about the new requirements, suggesting that greater provider education is needed. The transition deadline, which was initially slated for October of this year, has been delayed until Oct. 1, 2015. The switchover, which does not affect CPT coding for outpatient procedures and physician services, will affect diagnosis and inpatient procedure coding for everyone covered by the Health Insurance Portability Accountability Act, not just those who submit Medicare or Medicaid claims. To help providers understand the history of the International Classification of Diseases and the benefits of ICD-10, CMS has released a series of "Road to 10" webcasts. A Fact Sheet entitled "ICD-10-CM/PCS The Next Generation of Coding"PDF is also available through CMS. The ACC will be hosting a webinar on ICD-10 tailored to cardiovascular professionals in October. Stay tuned for details.

FDA Update: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has notified health care professionals that certain lots of the Diamondback 360 Peripheral Orbital Atherectomy System have been recalled by the manufacturer, Cardiovascular Systems, due to concerns about saline sheaths fracturing during use. Blood vessels could be blocked by fragments of the sheath; however, the FDA noted that there haven't been any patient injuries to date. Read the full FDA Safety Alert.

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