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Advocacy Newsletter - May 17, 2012

Another step forward for patient-centered care. The ACC Foundation (ACCF) released a special health policy statement that addresses patient-centered care (PCC) in cardiovascular medicine. A collaborative team consisting of general practitioners, cardiac care team members, consumers, and advocacy representatives developed the document to deliver an update on the status of the ACCF's commitment to PCC and provide a roadmap for the future. In particular, the paper highlights several key elements to PCC, including enhanced clinician/patient communications; health literacy; clinician-directed patient education; assessment of patient-centered outcomes; shared decision-making, and patient empowerment and self-management. "Cardiovascular specialists need to embrace the model of patient-centered care and be leaders in the specialist-led, patient-centered medical home," said Mary Norine Walsh, MD, FACC, writing committee chair, chair of the ACC's Patient-Centered Care Committee and a member of the ACC's Board of Trustees. "This document is one of the important ways the College is working to help make this happen and move the PCC concept from principle to practice." For more information, as well as blog and video coverage, click here. Additionally, ACC President William Zoghbi, MD, FACC, shares his vision for PCC on the ACC in Touch Blog.

Medicaid proposes higher payment for primary care services. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has proposed a method to increase Medicaid payment for primary care services, such as office visits, when they are provided by family physicians, internists, and pediatricians. Additionally, subspecialties of internal medicine and pediatrics would be eligible and physicians who are board-certified in adult or pediatric cardiology would automatically qualify for this additional payment. However, those who are not board-certified can prove eligibility based on billing patterns. In order to qualify for increased payments under this plan, a cardiologist would have to have 60 percent of services classify as primary care. The rule, required by the Affordable Care Act, proposes increasing Medicaid payment rates for these primary care services up to the Medicare rate for 2013 and 2014. Therefore, the impact of the change will vary by state. CMS has requested comments on this provision and will issue a final rule in the summer. Stay tuned to The Advocate and CardioSource.org.

This paragraph is "Meaningful:" An article in the Archives of Internal Medicine this week examines the "meaningful use" of health information technology and provides a guide for CMS' Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program. The article delves into the background of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act of 2009 that made funds available for clinicians and hospitals to implement EHRs, and provides a description of the program's three stages. Given the complexity of transitioning to electronic systems, this article is a useful resource for physicians who are determining the most appropriate path to meaningful use. (Read the Journal Scan in the Payment Innovations Community.) Meanwhile, ACC members interested in receiving additional help with EHR Incentive Program participation can take advantage of a unique ACC partnership with the Managed Care Advisory Group. You can learn more about the partnership in a special webinar on May 24 at 1 pm (ET), or online at CardioSource.org/healthit. On a related note, this week's health IT post on the ACC in Touch Blog (part of a month-long series) addresses the upcoming June 30 deadline for avoiding the E-Prescribing Incentive Program penalty for 2013. This is not a deadline you want to miss!

Do you know your AUC history? In the latest installment in the ACC in Touch Blog series on appropriate use criteria (AUC), former ACC President Michael Wolk, MD, MACC, looks back on the history of AUC. "We've come a long way over the past eight years with the development," he writes. "To understand why these criteria are important to our daily practice, we must remember why the concept was first developed." Read the complete post and brush up on history, here.