Georgia Chapter of the American College of Cardiology

ACC News You Can Use for September 2015

Upcoming Events and Deadlines:

  • ACC 2015 Legislative Conference: Oct. 18-20

Overarching News:

2015 Legislative Conference Registration Now Open
Registration is open for the ACC’s 2015 Legislative Conference, which will take place Oct. 18-20 in Washington, DC. The conference will provide the inside scoop on regulatory changes, legislative action and the state of cardiology to empower ACC members to become effective advocates for patients and cardiovascular professionals. Don't miss this unique opportunity to hear directly from the experts who shape health policy, and meet directly with congressional leaders to share ways the cardiovascular community is providing quality, cost-effective, evidence-based care to millions of patients nationwide. You’re also invited to join your colleagues for a special ACC Political Action Committee-sponsored reception and dinner featuring Pulitzer Prize–winning syndicated columnist, political commentator and psychiatrist Charles Krauthammer, MD. Register now!


Top Advocacy and Health Policy News

ACC Calls for Changes to Meaningful Use Program
The ACC sent a letter to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia Burwell calling for HHS to finalize the proposed rule Modifications to Meaningful Use (MU) in 2015 – 2017. The College has urged the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology to reduce the 2015 reporting period. ACC Advocacy remains concerned that practices will not be able to meet the program requirements and the full year reporting period in 2015 amidst the uncertainty stemming from the absence of a final rule. The College also sent a letter of support for H.R. 3309, the Further Flexibility in HIT Reporting Act and Advancing Interoperability Act, or Flex-IT 2 Act, to further express the urgency with which the MU program changes need to be addressed, and to support legislative efforts to ensure forward progress and continued participation in the program.

ICD-10: What You Need to Know
On Oct. 1, all health care providers, health plans and health care clearinghouses are required to transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10. At this time, the new code set must be used to report both medical diagnoses and inpatient procedures. ICD-10 implementation will significantly change the way coding is done; the code-set will grow from its current 14,315 diagnosis codes to more than 69,099 codes. Since these changes will require significant effort to implement, it is necessary to ensure your practice is prepared. The ACC has gathered information and resources from ICD-10 experts, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and more to help you successfully implement ICD-10 in your practice. Visit for information and resources to help you navigate the transition.

ACC Weighs in on FDA User Fee Programs
The ACC recently submitted comments to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regarding the reauthorizations of the Medical Device User Fee Act (MDUFA) and Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA), which are set to expire in 2017. In regards to PDUFA, the ACC recommends that the FDA advance regulatory science, modernize the drug safety system and incorporate patients and their input into the total product lifecycle. For MDUFA, the College stressed the importance of implementing the National Medical Device Post-market Surveillance System Planning Board, developing and maintaining medical device registries, identifying and using novel techniques for post-market surveillance, and drafting and implementing regulations and guidance to address issues pertaining to the uses of existing data sets for FDA-regulated activities. "The College welcomes the opportunities to discuss the potential for ongoing collaborations that would assist in the educational development of FDA staff who work on matters pertaining to cardiovascular disease. As such, the ACC urges the FDA to better leverage medical specialty societies and other similar organizations that can provide the Agency with access to world-class experts in all of these fields..." Last month, Richard J. Kovacs, MD, FACC, provided cardiology's perspective on PDUFA, and Frederic S. Resnic, MD, MSc, FACC, weighed in on the reauthorization of MDUFA during two FDA-convened meetings. Learn more about the MDUFA and PDUFA reauthorizations on

ACC Comments on Proposed 2016 Physician Fee Schedule, HOPPS Rules
The ACC has submitted comments to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on the 2016 Physician Fee Schedule Proposed Rule. ACC’s letter offers significant feedback regarding the rollout of appropriate use criteria requirements that begin in 2017, revisions to physician-self-referral regulations, ongoing updates to quality and value programs, and payment proposals of interest to ACC members. The College also submitted comments on the 2016 Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System Proposed Rule released by CMS in July. The ACC supported changes to the enforcement of the short inpatient stay or "two-midnight" policy that direct quality improvement organizations to work with hospitals to reduce short stay rates prior to turning any claims over for payment denial. The College opposed polices related to the continued expansion of packaged payment and comprehensive ambulatory payment classifications, cautioning the agency on the effect these policies may have on patient access to care. The comments also urged CMS to reconsider proposed changes to the imaging ambulatory payment classifications which impact hospital outpatient payment for cardiac MRI, PET, and SPECT services. Both final rules are expected on or around Nov. 1.


Top Education and Career Growth News

On-Demand Webinar: Team-Based Care
As we embark on value-based payment models, population health and disease management programs, team-based care will be an important shift in our delivery model. Team-based care requires a challenging transformation from the traditional doctor-with-helpers model to a new model in which all team members share responsibility to care for the team's patient population. Embarking on team-based care models enables us to provide higher quality care at a lower cost. Review an archive of a recent Team-Based Care and Transformation of Care. During the webinar, Ginger Biesbrock, PA-C, MPH, MPAS, AACC, and Robert Campbell, MD, FACC, cover the key components and structure of a highly effective team-based environment including the clinical, financial and governance perspectives.

Register Now Open For 2015 ACC In-Training Exam (ACC-ITE)
Participation in this program has been tremendous — more than 93 percent of all U.S. cardiology training programs took the 2014 exam. The 2015 In-Training Exam will take place on Oct. 20 and 21, and will continue to give training programs the data they need to benchmark their program, meet ACGME requirements, validate the need for curricula changes and provide educational counseling to their fellows. To learn more and register, click here or contact Julie Bainbridge at 202-375-6633 or

Find a Mentor, Be a Mentor: Register for ACC’s Mentoring Program
The College’s online mentoring program, developed through the efforts of the Early Career Professionals Leadership Council and Section, is designed to help create and foster mutually beneficial mentor/mentee relationships. The program connects experienced cardiovascular professionals with younger professionals based on areas of interest, specialty and expertise. Register online and find out more at


JACC Leadership Page: Using Appropriate Use Criteria to Address Pre-Authorization
In a recent Leadership Page published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, Robert A. Shor, MD, chair of ACC’s Board of Governors, discusses solutions within appropriate use criteria (AUC) for understanding and addressing claims denials and pre-authorization issues. “We are approaching the radiology benefits management companies to help us understand what is occurring from their perspective in terms of denial rates, prior authorization processes, variation, and best practice,” states Shor. One solution may include ACC’s Focus Initiative, which helps providers better understand their imaging practices, identify areas for improvement and incorporate AUC at the point of care. “The College is looking forward to results from pilot efforts in several states that use FOCUS, either as a radiology benefits management alternative, or as part of an alternative payment model. If successful, these programs could lead to greater collaborations with payers, hospitals, state medical societies and other stakeholders.” Read more.

Latest Issue of Cardiology Explores 50 Years of Medicare and Medicaid
The cover story in the latest issue of Cardiology magazine explores the 50th anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid and the important roles both programs have played in the U.S. since their inception. This issue also highlights the innovative work of Rhonda Cooper-DeHoff, PharmD, MS, FACC, in pharmacotherapy and translational research, and Michael W. Rich, MD, FACC, in geriatric cardiology. Check out exclusive interviews with the editors of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology’s (JACC) sister journals and a look back from Valentin Fuster, MD, PhD, MACC, on his first year as editor-in-chief of JACC. Learn more about teaching the art and science of medicine from Rick A. Nishimura, MD, MACC; explore ACC’s testimony on Health Information Blocking at a Senate HELP Committee Hearing; and more. Get the full issue at

Latest Issue of CardioSource WorldNews Examines the Complexities Treating of Coexisting Ailments
The cover story of the latest issue of CardioSource WorldNews takes a closer look at the relationship between the heart and the kidneys and explores new efforts that are shedding light on the complex interaction between both organs. Also included is a profile on several new medications recently approved by the FDA for the treatment of heart failure and dyslipidemia that show tremendous promise for the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease. In the featured interview, Parash Sanders, MBBS, PhD, and Rajeev Pathak, MD, discuss the effects of obesity and sustained weight loss on the burden of atrial fibrillation, as well as the impact being made by the LEGACY (“Long-term Effect of Goal-directed, Weight Management in AF Cohort”) study. The issue’s ACC Extended Learning (ACCEL) interviews focus on the “Highly Difficult Lipoprotein,” or high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), and it’s role in therapy; questions surrounding the withdrawal of oral anticoagulation therapy; and ablation vs amiodarone for sufferers of both heart failure and atrial fibrillation. See the full issue at

JACC Call For Papers: Cardiovascular Imaging in Women
Imaging may play a unique role in treating cardiovascular disease in women, yet significantly fewer studies assessing the application and accuracy of invasive and non-invasive imaging modalities in women exist compared to those focused on men. In an effort to raise awareness of this important issue, JACC: Cardiovascular Imaging is accepting submissions for papers focused on the role of imaging in understanding, diagnosing and treating cardiovascular disease in women. If accepted, papers will be published in a special issue slated for March 2016. Interested authors should submit their papers online at by Oct. 1. On the submissions page, please select “Imaging in Women” from the “Special Issues” pull-down menu. Read more on



Is Your ACC Member Profile Up-To-Date?
The ACC wants to make sure it's sending members only the most relevant information. To that end, the College is encouraging all members to update their ACC profile, including contact information, specialty areas, clinical interest areas and practice information. Don’t miss out on the latest cardiovascular research, new clinical guidelines, advocacy updates, ACC news and member benefits. Update your profile online at


Important Digital ACC Resources

Stay In Touch with the ACC via Social Media
Stay in touch with the ACC and the latest clinical and advocacy news through ACC in Touch.  ACCinTouch connects ACC members and those interested in cardiovascular news through popular social networking channels like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. Join each of these networks to connect with ACC members and those interested in cardiology. In addition to the ACC's main Twitter profile @ACCinTouch, the College also has a profile dedicated to advocacy-related news (@Cardiology). CardioSmart, the ACC's patient education and support program, also has patient-centered cardiovascular news available through Facebook, Twitter (@CardioSmart), and YouTube. For more information about ACC’s social media channels, visit

ACC Archived Webinars
Did you know that you can find archived webinars from throughout the years from the ACC on As a member, you have access to this wealth of information here. To access them, you must have an log-in and use the confirmation code and webinar access link emailed to you once. Questions? Contact ACC’s Resource Center at Phone: 202-375-6000, ext. 5603 or 800-253-4636, ext. 5603 or

Download ACC’s Advocacy Action Mobile App
Be sure to download the ACC Advocacy Action mobile app to get easy access to ACC's advocacy priorities and timely talking points to share during congressional visits. The app was designed to help members engage with lawmakers and influence health policy. Download it today on iTunes (iPhone, iPad) and Google Play (Android devices).


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J.W. (Hank) Holderfield, Executive Director
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