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ACC Advocate

Promoting Strong Practices, Protecting Patient Access

Current Issue - September 11, 2014

Health Policy Heats up as Legislative Conference Approaches: Through its advocacy efforts, the ACC is shaping health policy to meet the Triple Aim of better health, better outcomes and lower cost. Advocacy will be in full swing next week as nearly 400 ACC members gather in Washington, DC, to discuss the changing landscape of health care and advocate for cardiovascular professionals and patients on Capitol Hill during ACC's Legislative Conference. During congressional meetings, ACC members will share how the College is leading the transformation of care by developing a quality driven health care system, ensuring practice stability and securing the future of cardiovascular care. Get a snapshot of the messages members will underscore while on the HillPDF. Given the wide range of issues facing cardiovascular professionals, the ACC has designed a talking points documentPDF that enables you to bring the issues you care about most to legislators. Even if you're not attending Legislative Conference, you can make a difference. Please send a letter to your lawmakers using the ACC Grassroots System to tell them how the ACC is leading the transformation of care. Together, we can make sure that the voice of cardiology is heard on the Hill.

FACC Welcomed to IOM: It's an exciting week in Washington for the College. On Tuesday, your ACC co-sponsored a reception to welcome Victor J. Dzau, MD, FACC, as the new president of the Institute of Medicine. Dzau, who was described as a "trailblazer in translational research, health innovation, and global health care strategy and delivery," was previously the Chancellor for Health Affairs at Duke University and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Duke University Health System. The reception, which was attended by representatives from Capitol Hill, government agencies and health care organizations, featured remarks by Margaret Hamburg, MD, commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, Jim Yong Kim, MD, PhD, president of the World Bank Group, and David Rubenstein, co-founder and co-CEO of the Carlyle Group. ACC President Patrick T. O'Gara, MD, FACC, and several other ACC members represented the College during the event.

Have You Registered for PV-PQRS? Authorized group practice representatives have until Sept. 30 at 11:59 p.m. ET to perform the following steps through the Physician Value-Physician Quality Reporting System (PV-PQRS) Registration System with a valid user ID and password:

  1. Register to participate in the PQRS Group Practice Reporting Option (GPRO) in 2014 via a qualified PQRS registry; electronic health record (EHR) [via direct EHR using certified EHR technology (CEHRT) or CEHRT via data submission vendor]; or web interface (for groups with 25 or more eligible professionals (EPs) only).
  2. Elect to supplement their PQRS reporting mechanism with the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems survey (for group practices with 25 or more EPs).
  3. View a summary of the group practice's program year 2013 registration information (if available).

Group practices with two or more EPs wishing to cancel their registration for the 2014 PQRS GPRO must contact the QualityNet Help Desk by the Sept. 30 deadline. Individual EPs participating in the PQRS as an individual do not need to register in the PV-PQRS Registration System. Individual EPs can participate in PQRS via claims, a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)-qualified registry, a Qualified Clinical Data Registry (i.e. PINNACLE Registry), or EHR.

Get Your EHR Incentive Program Questions Answered: CMS recently announced that some physicians and teaching hospitals may delay reporting or attesting to meeting the requirements for Stage 2 of the EHR Incentive Program. Those who do not qualify for the delay must complete the requirements to successfully meet the measures and objectives for a calendar quarter by Dec. 31, 2014, in order to qualify for an incentive payment in 2014, as well as to avoid the 2016 payment adjustment. To assist you in determining whether you qualify for the delay, your ACC has developed a series of frequently asked questions.

ACC and CV Medical Societies Team up: Your ACC joined together with the American Society of Nuclear Cardiology, American Society of Echocardiography, Society for Cardiac Angiography and Interventions, Society of Cardiovascular Computed Tomography and Society for Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance in voicing concerns to UnitedHealthcare (UHC) regarding the payer's new provider utilization reports titled "Healthcare Management Summary." This action was taken after several cardiologists received letters and reports analyzing their utilization of nuclear cardiac stress testing for UHC patients compared to their specialty peers and highlighting the variation in test usage. The UHC letter suggested that these providers are "overutilizers" of nuclear cardiac testing and encouraged them to carefully review their cases and reduce any unexplained variation. In a letter to UHCPDF, the cardiovascular societies outlined concerns with the program's lack of sufficient transparency and absence of appropriateness of their tests, and strongly urged UHC to suspend the current program. Your ACC will continue to work with UHC to resolve this matter.

Reduce Billing Errors: CMS' claims review program aims to reduce improper payment error by identifying and addressing coverage and coding billing errors. As part of this program, CMS has designed educational products to help health care professionals avoid common billing errors and other improper activities when working with various CMS programs.

New Patient Safety Module: The ACC recently launched a new Patient Safety Maintenance of Certification (MOC) module that helps physicians earn points toward the American Board of Internal Medicine's (ABIM) MOC program while learning valuable information about patient safety. Free to both ACC members and nonmembers, the new module offers the opportunity to earn 10 MOC Part II Points, complete ABIM's Patient Safety requirement, earn 1.5 AMA PRA Category 1 CME Credits™, identify common errors that result in reduced patient safety, and learn tactics to prevent future errors from occurring. The online format provides feedback on questions as the user moves through the module and allows users to easily submit scores to the ABIM for MOC credit. The Patient Safety MOC module is among the first patient safety module developed by a specialty society to be approved by the ABIM. The ABIM recently committed to streamlining the process for recognizing products produced by specialty societies and other organizations for medical knowledge (Part II) credit. To get started, login or register.