The State of the States 2015

Each year, ACC Chapters are asked to reflect upon the year in its entirety. The annual "State of the States" report includes personal accounts from Chapter leaders, capturing the accomplishments, challenges and opportunities in each of the states as they as they work toward the College’s mission of transforming cardiovascular care and improving heart health.

In these reports from the front lines, it is encouraging to see that collaboration and innovation are cornerstones upon which Chapters have built their programming and goals for 2015. The Colorado Chapter specifically refers to a potential replication of a successful approach in Kentucky to attracting groups outside of the typical physician attendees to their programming, including nurses, echo techs, nuclear med techs and cath lab staff. Chapters are increasingly holding regional meetings, with examples of this occurring between Minnesota, Iowa and the Great Plains Chapters (North Dakota and South Dakota); Utah, Nevada and Wyoming; Illinois and Wisconsin; as well as the Mid-Atlantic Capital Cardiology Symposium encompassing the District of Columbia, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia and Maryland. Defining and exporting best practices across state lines has been a goal.

Member Value and Engagement

As of 2015, all domestic ACC chapters are engaging in activities to support Fellows in Training (FITs), with the exception of five chapters where there are no established training programs or FITs. This echoes the current climate found within the College’s chapters of expanded support of cardiovascular professionals which begins with training and extends through retirement. The ever-popular FIT Jeopardy contests took 28 Chapters by storm this past year as Chapters held events during their annual meeting with the final competition taking place during ACC.16. The Kansas Chapter’s Follow Your Heart program matches member champions with high school and college students interested in shadowing a cardiologist, observing the functioning of a clinic or hospital, taking part in patient encounters, and experiencing early targeted exposure to the health care system. Arkansas reinstituted their annual meeting which they found to be of great value to members, and the event, which focused on population health, drew many non-members as well.

Transformation of Care

In 2015, the California Chapter developed a state-wide valvular heart disease initiative called CAL-VALVETM, which aims to educate patients at risk for valvular heart disease. The Chapter also provides peer-to-peer education for California Fellows of the American College of Cardiology (FACCs) on valvular heart disease, which can be shared with other cardiologists and primary care practitioners. The Great Plains Chapter developed a Cardiac System of Care, thanks to funds from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust. A portion of the fund was used to equip local emergency medical services with cardiac monitors, as well as implement the capability to transmit electrocardiograms directly to the on-call cardiologist's mobile phone. In Pennsylvania, the Chapter’s advocacy committee led the effort to draft legislation to help eliminate the need for prior authorization for non-invasive testing and replace it with appropriate use criteria as per ACC’s FOCUS tool. South Carolina is making transformation of care possible by providing grant opportunities to Chapter members who are conducting meaningful medical research. The Virginia Chapter launched its participation in the Virginia Cardiac Services Quality Initiative – a collaborative, statewide program involving cardiothoracic surgeons and cardiologists looking at quality and cost across a spectrum of diseases and utilizing the NCDR and Society of Thoracic Surgeons databases.

Purposeful Education

ACC Chapters have also developed a number of innovative, educational offerings, including an exchange between FITs at two different institutions in Wisconsin. The program, led by the Wisconsin Chapter, allows FITs to experience enhanced exposure to multiple programs and emerging technology. Also employing an FIT-focused education strategy, the Michigan Chapter expanded programming at their annual conference to include a well-attended half-day seminar exclusively designed for FIT attendees on obesity; a town hall luncheon forum for FITs to interact with ACC leaders and learn about career strategies; an oral case competition; case and research poster competitions, and FIT Jeopardy. Heading south to Mississippi, the chapter hosted a heart failure conference in conjunction with a University of Alabama vs. University of Mississippi baseball game. The event focused on new modalities of heart failure management, including aldosterone antagonist therapy, and valvular issues, and drew a large audience, including many nurse practitioners. In Kentucky, the Chapter's annual meeting was structured in a track format, with a particular portion of the day devoted to the business of cardiology, highlighting the unique information disseminated at ACC’s annual CV Summit.

Advocacy and Population Health

Many ACC Chapters successfully advocated on behalf of cardiovascular professionals and the patients they serve in 2015. These Chapter-led efforts resulted in the passage of smoke-free legislation, life-saving pulse-oximetry screening laws for newborns, protection of in-office medical imaging, and more, in states across the country. In Colorado, the Chapter wove education about the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) into their annual meeting. In addition, many Chapters instituted programming that focused on the goals of the World Health Organization’s 25 x25 initiative to reduce in premature mortality from non-communicable diseases 25 percent by the year 2025. A number of Chapters supported legislation requiring high school coaches and trainers to be instructed in risks and early signs of sudden cardiac death in young athletes, along with a continued focus on and support of CPR and AED legislation. The Alabama Chapter served as the founding member of the statewide coalition called Alabama Healthy Change, a non-profit coalition of health and child advocates supporting a meaningful tobacco tax increase, as well as continued its role as a longtime supporter of the Coalition for a Tobacco Free Alabama. In partnership with these organizations and the Alabama Department of Public Health, the Chapter supported a five-year plan to address the harmful effects of tobacco use in the state. The West Virginia Chapter set their sights on patient education, conducting seminars in collaboration with CardioSmart, as well as hosting local health screenings in concert with private medical groups. In Illinois, the Chapter partnered in the International Cardiovascular Nutritional Summit, and in Texas, the Chapter provided a grant to Championship Hearts Foundation for analysis of data from over 7,000 athlete heart screenings.

Moving Forward

ACC Chapters have worked tirelessly to provide value to members. As the local and regional touch point of the ACC, they have accomplished great things. Chapters have begun to align their goals, programming and benchmarks with ACC’s overarching Strategic Plan, and the results are outstanding. As we move into 2016, it is my hope that Chapters will continue the trend of collaboration and sharing best practices, and ACC members will become increasingly involved in their local ACC Chapters. Ultimately, we strive to maintain relevance to our members by removing impediments to caring for our patients, as we collectively try to transform cardiovascular care and improve heart health.

Clinical Topics: Arrhythmias and Clinical EP, Heart Failure and Cardiomyopathies, Noninvasive Imaging, Valvular Heart Disease, SCD/Ventricular Arrhythmias, Acute Heart Failure

Keywords: Cardiology Magazine, ACC Publications, Biomedical Research, Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation, Death, Sudden, Cardiac, Diagnostic Imaging, Electrocardiography, Emergency Medical Services, Emergency Medical Service Communication Systems, Heart Failure, Heart Valve Diseases, Medicare, Mineralocorticoid Receptor Antagonists, Mortality, Premature, Nurse Practitioners, Obesity, Oximetry, Primary Health Care, Public Health Practice, Public Health, Smoke, Surgeons, Tobacco, Tobacco Use

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