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ACC Advocate

Promoting Strong Practices, Protecting Patient Access

Current Issue - December 12, 2014

State Advocacy Successes: Throughout the year, the College's State Advocacy team works with ACC chapters to advance legislation that enhances patient care and defeat bills that threaten cardiovascular professionals and patients. Here's a look at some of the 2014 state advocacy wins:
  • Five states established new laws mandating all newborns receive critical congenital heart defect screening via pulse oximetry, bringing the number of states with screening requirements to 41.
  • Eight states passed legislation requiring cardiopulmonary resuscitation/automated external defibrillator training for high school students. Now, 20 states have training requirements in place.
  • The ACC and the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions were able to show the New York health department that appropriate use criteria is not a template for reimbursement but can be used as a resource when crafting a range of percutaneous coronary intervention policies.
  • The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation awarded a $15.8 million grant to support SMARTCare pilot projects designed by the ACC's Florida and Wisconsin Chapters. The innovative pilots aim to reduce health care costs by providing tools to help doctors and patients communicate about options for their care while helping physicians apply the latest guidelines to the decision-making process.
  • A California Senate bill which sought to remove the in-office ancillary exception for advanced modality imaging and many other services performed outside cardiology was successfully defeated, thanks in part to grassroots efforts by the ACC's California Chapter. California's defeat of the bill means that other states do not have the legislative precedent or political momentum to justify similar proposals.

Grassroots Action Revs Up: This year, ACC members have participated in 60 legislator practice visits and in-district meetings and 20 in-district fundraisers. Legislator practice visits are vital opportunities for cardiovascular professionals to showcase how they are delivering high quality patient care and discuss hurdles they are facing. In 2015, when a new Congress is ushered in, your ACC will hit the ground running to educate lawmakers about how the College and its members are leading the transformation of care. In addition to facilitating legislator practice visits, your ACC will host two Capitol Hill briefings in February to educate members of Congress about how the ACC is developing a quality-driven health care system through its clinical data registries.

The Voice of Cardiology: With new legislators taking their seats in Congress, it's more important than ever for the entire cardiovascular community to work together on policies that protect providers and patients. ACC Political Action Committee (ACCPAC) increases the political power and reach of the College by engaging ACC members in support of federal candidates who back legislation and policies that facilitate the delivery of the highest quality cardiovascular care. Through the generous support of its members, ACCPAC has established itself as the leading voice of the cardiovascular community on Capitol Hill and has built the relationships necessary to deliver cardiology's message directly to lawmakers. Take a look at examples of what ACC's advocacy efforts have accomplishedPDF during the 112th and 113th Congresses (2011-2014). Help ensure we continue this success with the 114th Congress. Contribute by Dec. 20 and receive an Apple gift card in addition to an ACCPAC pin! Joining the PAC is quick and easy. Visit ACCPACWeb.org to put your contribution to work immediately. Simply login with your CardioSource information and click "Join the PAC". Thanks to all who have contributed to ACCPAC so far this year. Questions? Contact Kendra Adams at kadams@acc.org.

The Future of GME Funding: In a recent Leadership Page in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, Patrick T. O'Gara, MD, FACC; Alfred A. Bove, MD, MACC; and William J. Oetgen, MD, MBA, FACC, take a closer look at Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommendations for changes to the financing and governance of graduate medical education (GME) funding over the next decade. While applauding the IOM for examining the need for long-term, stable, GME funding, the authors stress the need for careful consideration of the details, including how to ensure enough physicians to meet the projected workforce shortage, the role of team-based care and impacts of funding cuts to academic teaching hospitals. "From its specialty perspective, the ACC also views the report as an opportunity to reinvigorate ongoing discussions around management of chronic diseases, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, atrial fibrillation, stroke and diabetes," the authors write. Read more.

Hanging Together: In the latest issue of CardioSource WorldNews, David C. May, MD, PhD, FACC, explores health care challenges including physician integration, the scope of non-physician practice and maintenance of certification, and stresses how the cardiovascular community must band together to overcome these obstacles. According to May, "Our steps forward should be simple and direct, yet in their simplicity lays our greatest challenge—for in addressing them we must first overcome our greatest weakness, our independent nature." He continues, "...until our individualism gives way to cooperative dialogue, the piecemeal dismantling of our profession will continue." Read more.

Coding Corner: Claims filed using noncompliant coding for bilateral surgical procedures may have been paid in the past. However, providers should note that changes to medically unlikely edits may now render those claim lines unpayable. "Make sure your billing staffs examine their process for filing claims for bilateral procedures and services to ensure the -50 modifier is used in accordance with Medicare correct coding and claims submission instructions," recommends the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Get the detailsPDF.

Get the Keys to Your New Online Professional Home: The new ACC.org website is coming soon! Whether on your phone, tablet or laptop, the new ACC.org will give you faster, more complete access to the trusted scientific, educational and health policy content and practice management tools you need. Get a sneak peek of what the new website will look like. Your current CardioSource.org credentials are your keys – and will work on the new website. Verify your user name and password today. Learn how.