ACC News You Can Use for August 2015
Upcoming Events and Deadlines:
- ACC 2015 Legislative Conference: Oct. 18-20
Martha Gulati Named Editor-in-Chief of CardioSmart.org
Martha Gulati, MD, MS, FACC, has been named editor-in-chief of CardioSmart.org, the ACC’s patient education and empowerment initiative to help individuals prevent, treat and manage cardiovascular disease. Gulati is an associate professor of medicine and clinical public health in the division of cardiology at The Ohio State University. In addition, she serves as the Sarah Ross Soter chair in women’s cardiovascular health and the section director for women’s cardiovascular health and preventive cardiology at The Ohio State University. “I am honored to have the opportunity to head an initiative with such an important mission,” Gulati said. “Patient education is key to early recognition and prevention of heart disease, and as physicians, it is our duty to provide our patients with the tools they need to keep their hearts healthy. CardioSmart provides the platform for just that.” Read more on ACC.org.
Population Health and Primary Prevention in the Spotlight
The College recently brought together ACC members and a diverse array of experts from government agencies, universities, medical specialty societies and private sector partners for its first Population Health Retreat. As part of its Strategic Plan, the College is working to engage partners and pursue global cardiovascular-related objectives, support members to improve the health of populations, and encourage cardiovascular team-facilitated patient education. The retreat was an opportunity to define population health and health promotion for the ACC, discuss whether the College is prepared to engage in primary prevention, and prioritize partners and targeted activities related to population health and health promotion in the College. Gerard R. Martin, MD, FACC, chair of the ACC’s Population Health Policy and Health Promotion Committee stressed that “we must shift the paradigm from treatment to prevention and begin moving towards population health if we want to kick CVD off the list as the world’s #1 killer.” Visit the ACC in Touch Blog for a recap of the retreat.
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 Efforts Result in ABIM Decision to Decouple Board Certification From MOC Enrollment
In a major reversal, the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) has announced it is reversing its policy requiring physicians who have passed the initial Certification exam in 2014 or later to have enrolled in the Maintenance of Certification (MOC) process in order to be listed as board certified. Effective immediately, physicians who are meeting all other programmatic requirements will not lose certification simply for failure to enroll in MOC. “The ACC and its members are being heard and this will no doubt continue,” said ACC President Kim Allan Williams, Sr., MD, FACC. “The College is continually engaged with ABIM with a goal of engendering a constant dialogue and an atmosphere of change for the benefit of our members and their patients.” Each August the ACC’s Board of Trustees come together for a mid-year check-in on College activities and progress towards strategic goals. More information on the guidance and next steps released during this check-in can be read in a recent post on the ACC in Touch Blog. Stay tuned to ACC.org/MOC and the ACC in Touch Blog for continued updates. Read more on ACC.org.
MACRA Policy Brief Available on ACC.org
The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA), legislation which permanently repeals the Sustainable Growth Rate, establishes a framework for rewarding clinicians for value over volume and streamlines quality reporting programs into one system, was signed into law in April. ACC Advocacy has developed an in-depth policy analysis of the legislation, including a timeline of when MACRA payment updates go into effect. Information is also available on the transition to quality-based payment through two payment pathways MACRA will implement for clinicians. Starting in 2019, clinicians will choose from one of two pathways: the Merit-based Incentive Payment System or Alternative Payment Models. Learn more about MACRA on ACC.org.
FDA Approves First of Novel Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on July 24 approved Sanofi and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals’ Praluent (alirocumab) injection, known as proprotein convertase subtilisin kexin type 9 (PCSK9) inhibitors. This first lipid-lowering drug in a new class of drugs has the potential to offer the more than millions of patients with high low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) an alternative treatment option to statins. The PCSK9 inhibitor treatment is approved for patients with familial hypercholesterolemia or clinical atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease in conjunction with maximally tolerated statin therapy and diet modification. While results showing the drugs’ effectiveness at lowering LDL-C are promising for the new agents, definitive evidence showing the effectiveness of the drugs for reducing cardiovascular risk won’t be available until 2017 when large clinical trials are completed. “The ACC eagerly awaits the results of the clinical trials that are in progress,” said ACC President Kim Allan Williams, Sr., MD, FACC. “In the meantime, we continue to recommend physicians limit prescribing to the very high risk, hard-to-treat groups approved by the FDA and otherwise follow the current guidelines, which recommend lifestyle change and, if needed, statins for most patients with or at risk of heart disease.” Read more on ACC.org.
ACC Testifies on Health Information Blocking During Senate HELP Committee Hearing
On July 23, Michael J. Mirro, MD, FACC, testified during a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing titled “Achieving the Promise of Health Information Technology: Information Blocking and Potential Solutions.” Mirro, a member of the ACC’s Informatics and Health Information Technology (IT) Task Force, shared cardiology’s perspective on the important issue of health information blocking, unforeseen problems that have been created by electronic health records (EHRs), and possible solutions to help improve care. According to Mirro, transparency of additional (or hidden) fees within EHR vendor contracts should be evaluated; data fluidity should mean not only that information reaches the provider, but that the data is transmitted quickly and securely; EHR vendors’ products should be universal and connect to other EHRs offered by different companies; and health IT vendors and providers should be incentivized to establish networks for patients to monitor their devices, empowering them to actively participate in their health decisions. Watch a recording of the hearing here and read Mirro’s written testimony here. ACC Advocacy has been working hard to elevate the health IT concerns of ACC members on Capitol Hill – focusing on House and Senate leaders. This testimony is one part of a multi-pronged strategy to make ACC’s voice a key part of the discussion on the future of EHRs. Visit the ACC in Touch Blog for full coverage.
Top Education and Career Growth News
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 ACC.org/Mentoring.
Latest Issue of CardioSource WorldNews Examines Potential Impacts of Practice-Changing Technology and Research
The cover story of the latest issue of CardioSource WorldNews explores the technological evolution and continued progress of mechanical circulatory support, and what that progress could mean for the future of traditional heart transplantation and left ventricular assist devices. In the featured interview, James H. O’Keefe, MD, discusses the benefits of preventive cardiology, specifically the positive impacts of adapting a “hunter-gatherer” exercise regimen. O’Keefe points out several key areas in a modern-day lifestyle that could be adjusted to improve cardiovascular health. The issue also examines sex-based disparities in treatment and response to medical therapy and comorbidities in patients with diastolic heart failure. Also included are highlights from the recent JACC Journals and ACC.org journal scans. Flip through the full issue here.
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 jaccsubmit-imaging.org by Oct. 1. On the submissions page, please select “Imaging in Women” from the “Special Issues” pull-down menu. Read more on ACC.org.
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.org/ACCinTouch.
ACC Archived Webinars
Did you know that you can find archived webinars from throughout the years from the ACC on ACC.org? As a member, you have access to this wealth of information here. To access them, you must have an ACC.org 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 email@example.com.
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).