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Advocacy Newsletter - June 21, 2012

Getting closer… Yesterday, the House passed the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Safety and Innovation Act (S. 3187) by voice vote. The bill, which reauthorizes the FDA user fee programs for medical devices and pharmaceutical drugs, is expected to pass in the Senate within the next week and head to the president's desk for his signature before the July 4 recess. Over the last month committee staff from both chambers ironed out differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill, landing on final legislation. Your ACC collaborated with key committee staff on the Hill to ensure language regarding registries and post-market surveillance was included in the final legislative package. "The ACC supports Congress's decision to reauthorize FDA's user fees for devices and prescription drugs. Appropriate funding allows the FDA to provide oversight and to review and approve new treatments in a timely manner," said ACC President William Zoghbi, MD, FACC, in a statement. Read the complete article.

Decision time: Any day now, the Supreme Court will issue its ruling regarding provisions in the Affordable Care Act. No matter what happens with Congressional politics and the Supreme Court, Your ACC continues to be committed to setting a new standard for health care delivery in a way that is centered on increasing the quality of care and ensuring greater patient value. Stay tuned to CardioSource.org and follow ACC Advocacy on Twitter (@Cardiology) to stay in the loop on how the decision will impact cardiology.
Are you on track to get your bonus? If you haven't already registered for the June 26 webinar on the Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program, time is running out! Hear about the program's requirements and take this opportunity to have your questions answered by the experts, including Robert Anthony from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Sign-up here.

Weigh in… CMS is requesting stakeholder review and public comment of the recently developed hospital quality measure of acute myocardial infarction (AMI) mortality for use with EHR data, a measure that was developed in partnership with Yale New Haven Health Services Corporation/Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation. CMS developed and has implemented an AMI 30-day risk-standardized mortality measure using CMS claims data since 2008. The measure, designed for potential use in public reporting in the EHR environment, has undergone eSpecification and its related testing will be completed later in 2012. Find out how to submit feedback ahead of the July 14 deadline.

What's appropriate in imaging after all? Cardiovascular Imaging Strategies, a product of the ACC's Imaging in FOCUS initiative, is being used by two regional health plans and active discussions are underway with health plans and employers in 10 additional states. The product offers local ACC Chapters an opportunity to work with health plans on appropriate use, as a part of payment reform and/or an alternative to radiology benefit managers. Built upon ACC core competencies, Cardiovascular Imaging Strategies uses clinical decision support to assess the appropriateness of patient selection for cardiac imaging. These patterns are then used to engage practices and referring physicians in action planning and quality improvement. The product also offers QI credit for lab accreditation and MOC Part IV credit for physicians. This result is a performance-based, transparent and accountable solution to encourage appropriate imaging and understand exceptions to the standards. To date, AUC imaging standards exist for cardiac radionuclide imaging, cardiac computed tomography, cardiac magnetic resonance imaging, echocardiography and diagnostic cath. Learn more. Later this summer, a similar product will be made available directly to practices. Also, check out a special AUC series on the ACC in Touch Blog to browse through a variety of perspectives on appropriate use and leave a comment.

Steer clear of penalties! June is flying by, which means the June 30 deadline for the CMS e-Prescribing Incentive Program is almost here. If you have e-prescribed at least 25 times during 2011 or will e-prescribe at least 10 times from Jan. 1 to June 30, 2012, you can avoid the 1.5 percent penalty for 2013. If you haven't been able to e-prescribe due to due to local, state, or federal law, or regulation; have or will prescribe fewer than 100 prescriptions between Jan. 1 and June 30; practice in a rural area without sufficient high-speed Internet access; or practice in an area without sufficient available pharmacies for e-prescribing, you may submit a hardship exemption by June 30 via the Quality Reporting Communication Support Page. For additional details, click here.

Is your practice ready? June 30 is also the deadline for all HIPAA-covered entities to complete their upgrade to the Version 5010 electronic standards. Review last week's ACC Advocate for tips on avoiding unnecessary rejections.

"Hammering it Home": Discover essential tools for improving quality and practice performance during a free PINNACLE Network webinar on June 27 at 7 p.m. ET. Learn how the Heart Failure Clinical Toolkit can be applied in practice, how the Quality Improvement (QI) method can provide guidance and structure for your QI efforts, and more. Register now!

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