2017 Legislative Conference Wrap-Up

A summary of the 2017 Legislative Conference from Thad Waites, MD, FACC, Chair of the Health Affairs Committee

ACC’s 2017 Legislative Conference is officially underway with a packed schedule of fast-paced, immersive educational sessions. The action kicked-off with a presidential address from president Mary N. Walsh, MD, FACC, who mapped out the foundation for the College’s advocacy strategy. Walsh gave an illuminative peek behind the ACC Advocacy curtain with a step-by-step description of the College’s process for crafting statements rooted in the ACC Health Policy Principles in response to legislative developments.

Next on the agenda was a dynamic discussion on prior authorization. Cathleen Biga, MSN, RN, dove into the current landscape of prior authorization and the Appropriate Use Criteria (AUC) Program and looked toward future expectations for AUC Mandate implementation. Robert Shor, MD, FACC, followed, zeroing in on the ACC’s ongoing approaches for tackling prior authorization barriers on the national and chapter-level, highlighting the benefits of employing PARTool, ACC’s data collection resource intended to aide in the tracking of prior authorization trends. Andrew Waxler, MD, FACC, closed by vividly explaining the magnitude of prior authorization burdens and the direct effect these burdens can have on patient health, with specific regard to the unnecessary difficulties experienced when dealing with radiology benefits management programs.

One of the morning’s highlights was an invigorating discussion with Francis Collins, MD, PhD, Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), on the future of government funded research. Collins spoke on obstacles and successes currently impacting the NIH, sharing the encouraging note that, “Despite the contentious atmosphere in Congress, we can find hope in the fact that there is broad bipartisan support for medical research.” Collins addressed the NIH approach to addressing issues of gender inequality in medical research and the need for focused attention on early-stage investigators, and concluded with a moving personal account of a patient interaction experienced during an international medical mission trip.

Engagement was a key theme during the day’s breakout sessions, which featured an educational presentation on the importance of social media as an advocacy tool and a how-to discussion for interacting and engaging with legislators, in addition to an introductory meeting for first-time Legislative Conference attendees.

An hour-long intensive session on the implementation of the Quality Payment Program (QPP), initiated under the Medicare and Chip Reauthorization Act (MACRA), featured an expert panel with C. Michael Valentine, MD, FACC, Charles Brown, MD, FACC, Katie Lund, RN, Dipti Itchhaporia, MD, FACC, FESC, Dee Ann Moore, RDCS, and Cathleen Biga, MSN, RN. This deep-dive explored, in detail, the ins and outs of the various pathways for QPP implementation and tips for adhering to these pathways successfully. Panelists encouraged the utilization of reliable resources, many of which can be found on ACC’s MACRA Hub.

During the following session titled, “Best Practices for State Advocacy Programs,” Hadley Wilson, MD, FACC, Edward Toggart, MD, FACC, FSCAI, and Daniel M. Philbin, MD, FACC, spoke on the importance of state-level grassroots advocacy involvement and provided guidance on how to effectively implement such involvement on the practice level.

The evening concluded with the presentation of the ACC’s Excellence in Advocacy award to Gwen Goldfarb and John Harold, MD, MACC, and a series of planning conversations in preparation for meetings on Capitol Hill.

Don’t miss a beat of the Legislative Conference action. Follow #ACCLegConf through @Cardiology on Twitter and monitor the latest news on ACC.org and through the weekly Advocate eNewsletter.


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