Advocacy is a central part of the College’s mission to improve the cardiovascular wellbeing of the nation. Interactions with Congress, federal government agencies, state legislative and regulatory bodies, private insurers and other groups are critical to maintaining a focus on quality-driven health care, maintaining provider stability, improving population health and charting the future of cardiovascular medicine and research. Here is a snapshot of some of the biggest advocacy successes this year: SGR Reform Bill Includes AUC Mandate In conjunction with most of organized medicine, the ACC worked with key congressional committees to produce a bipartisan, bicameral SGR repeal bill. While Congress failed to agree on budget offsets for final passage of the bill, a one-year patch was passed to avert a 24 percent cut to Medicare payments without any onerous provisions. The patch will expire on March 31, 2015, and the ACC continues to advocate for permanent payment reforms. The Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014, which delayed payment cuts associated with the SGR, also requires consultation with appropriate use criteria (AUC) and clinical decision support for advanced diagnostic imaging, beginning in 2017. The ACC is working with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on a regulatory framework and will be engaged every step of the way to ensure that the use of AUC in Medicare works to improve patient care and causes minimal burden for physicians. ACCPAC Leads CV Political Action Committees ACC’s Advocacy efforts are fueled by the ACC Political Action Committee (ACCPAC), which increases the political power and reach of the College by engaging ACC members in support of federal candidates who back policies that facilitate the delivery of quality cardiovascular care. ACCPAC, which is pushing hard to surpass $1 million in contributions for the 2013-2014 cycle, ranks among the top 10 medical specialty PACs in the U.S. Facilitating Alternative Payment Model Participation The ACC is conducting ongoing surveillance of alternative payment model activity and outcomes as well as ACC member understanding of and involvement in alternative payment models. In a quest to facilitate member participation in these models, ACC members are able to seamlessly take part in federal quality reporting programs, including the Physician Quality Reporting System, by participating in the PINNACLE Registry. For the 2013 Program Year, the PINNACLE Registry submitted data on behalf of 1,236 providers across 96 practices. Tobacco Tackled at the Federal and State Level The ACC, a number of ACC Chapters and partners, such as the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, submitted letters calling for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to extend its regulatory authority to cover electronic cigarettes and additional tobacco products Patient Access to Imaging Protected 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. Record Number of ACC Members Connect With Congress Nearly 400 cardiovascular professionals gathered in Washington, DC, for ACC’s 2014 Legislative Conference, which centered on the many ways the ACC is leading the transformation of care. During nearly 300 congressional meetings, ACC members urged Congress to work with the ACC to develop a quality-driven health care system, ensure practice stability and secure the future of cardiovascular care. For the first time, conference attendees were able to connect with Congress on the go using the new ACC Advocacy Action mobile app. On the state level, ACC chapter members are teaming up with patients to raise awareness among state lawmakers about key issues like Certificate of Need/percutaneous coronary intervention oversight, cardiopulmonary resuscitation and more. In addition, more than 50 members of Congress have taken part in legislative practice visits to date. SMARTCare Lands CMMI Grant 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. Cost and Resource Use Measures for Cardiovascular Conditions The ACC opposed the National Quality Forum’s (NQF) recommendations on cost and resource use measures for cardiovascular conditions for use in federal payment programs due to risk adjustment and attribution concerns. The NQF Consensus Standards and Approval Committee is considering approval of the measures despite the lack of NQF member consensus. The ACC will develop a response to any decision made to endorse any of the measures. Greater Flexibility for EHR Incentive Program Reporting In response to comments from the ACC and other health care organizations, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued a final rule allowing health care providers more flexibility in how they use certified electronic health record technology to meet meaningful use requirements under the Electronic Health Record Incentive Program reporting period for 2014. The rule also extended Meaningful Use Stage 2 through 2016 for certain providers and announced the Stage 3 timeline. Coding and Coverage Wins The ACC joined other societies in successfully requesting that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) create national coverage for transcatheter mitral valve repair (TMVR). The ACC was pleased that CMS responded positively to comments recommending deletion of its proposal to require joint intraoperative participation by both an interventional cardiologist and cardiac surgeon. The ACC also worked with other stakeholders to request an expansion of national Medicare coverage of cardiac rehabilitation. Those services are now covered for chronic heart failure patients. To report TMVR and other services, the ACC Coding Task Force successfully presented proposals, along with several societies, to create codes for TMVR, subcutaneous implantable cardioverter defibrillators, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, and a new code to report transesophageal echocardiography guidance during transcatheter interventions like TMVR. ACC President Provides Expertise to Congressional Committee ACC President Patrick T. O’Gara, MD, FACC, shared his perspective on personalized medicine with the House Energy and Commerce Committee as part of the 21st Century Cures initiative, a series of hearings and stakeholder roundtables intended to promote the discovery, development and delivery of new cures and therapies. The 21st Century Cures initiative is expected to culminate in a legislative package in early 2015. Pulse Ox Legislation Advances in the States Significant strides have been made on the state level for advancing legislation for critical congenital heart defect (CCHD) screening. To date, 41 states have CCHD screening requirements in place and two others are working on regulations.
Published by American College of Cardiology. View All Articles.
This page can be found at https://bluetoad.com/article/Top+Advocacy+Successes+Of+2014/1864548/234611/article.html.