"We are in a period of somewhat tumultuous transition. Who knows where we will land?" — Cardiologist, Oregon
A recent survey of more than 700 ACC members helped to quantify the biggest issues facing cardiovascular professionals over the next three years. While cardiovascular professionals generally agree that the primary issues they will face in the short term are related to the fiscal health of the practice, other concerns that surface are influenced by tenure or role in practice.
Nearly half of all Fellows of the ACC (FACCs) (46%) are most concerned about reimbursement and payment cuts stemming from Medicare and Medicaid. The changing certification and maintenance of certification requirements are of secondary concern to FACCs followed by work-life balance, rising costs and health information technology.
Younger cardiologists (i.e., Fellows in Training and Early Career professionals) share similarities with the more established FACCs in their worry over reimbursements and payment cuts, but they are equally concerned with achieving a work-life balance given their heavy workload and long hours needed to establish a practice. Certification is also an area of concern, but not to the extent voiced by more established FACCs. Keeping up to date is a concern for about one-fifth of early career cardiologists while less anxiety is voiced over electronic health records (EHRs) and government regulation.
Other members of the cardiovascular team share the same concerns as physicians. About two out of five (41%) cardiovascular team members identify reimbursement as an issue that keeps them up at night followed by work-life balance. Rising costs and EHRs are also concerns of cardiovascular team members.
Across the practice spectrum a range of concerns exists, and the ACC is continuously looking to address these concerns and lighten the burden of its members. "Our members, and their practices, are stressed," stated ACC President Patrick T. O'Gara, MD, FACC, "We must work continuously to ensure the College is a leading force for cardiovascular professionals and their patients... As long as the ACC is able to focus, engage, communicate and advocate, we can overcome the challenges ahead."