2023 ACC Annual Report 75 Years of Driving Collective Action
75 Years of Driving Collective Action

Advocacy is central to the ACC's efforts to develop and advance solutions that increase access, quality and value of patient care and promote heart health for all. In 2023, the ACC advocacy team was hard at work to ensure the voices of cardiovascular clinicians and patients were heard by members of Congress, state lawmakers, federal agencies, payers and other stakeholders. The following (in no particular order) are the 10 biggest advocacy accomplishments from the year.

75 Years of Driving Collective Action


Championing Patient Access to Care

Comprehensive, long-term Medicare reform continues to be a priority for ACC Advocacy, and in 2023, the College supported two bills: the Strengthening Medicare for Patients and Providers Act and the Provider Reimbursement Stability Act. While these short-term reforms are a step in the right direction, significant reforms are required within the current system to achieve the College's long-term vision for championing patient access to care.

Learn more about this vision.


Navigating Digital Care and the Role of AI

With lawmakers actively engaging with stakeholders to grasp the complexities of artificial intelligence (AI), ACC Advocacy was in front on this issue in 2023, including responding to a congressional request for information on data privacy and considerations for AI; commenting on proposed rules implementing the 21st Century Cures Act on information blocking and interoperability provisions; and participating in the American Medical Association's Specialty Society AI workshop. The College continues to work with Congress and agencies on this issue, while providing members with the resources necessary to comply with advancing standards.


Heard on the Hill

More than 400 cardiovascular clinicians from across the U.S. took part in ACC's 2023 Legislative Conference in Washington, DC, where issues like protecting clinician well-being and increasing access to cardiovascular care were the focus. ACC Advocates held nearly 300 meetings with lawmakers and significantly increased support for several ACC-priority bills addressing prior authorization, strengthening Medicare and increasing access to cardiac rehabilitation.


Improving Heart Health For All

Supporting policies that improve the prevention and treatment of heart disease is critical to the College's Mission. In 2023, the Advocacy Team helped to craft and support the Amputation Reduction and Compassion Act. Many peripheral artery disease-related amputations could be avoided through early diagnosis and attention to the conditions, allowing clinicians to pursue aggressive risk factor modification, supervised exercise programs and surveillance studies. The proposed legislation marks a step forward in efforts to reduce health disparities and achieve health equity for patients in need of cardiovascular care. The College also continued championing expanded access to cardiovascular and pulmonary rehabilitation services by urging lawmakers to support the Increasing Access to Quality Cardiac Rehabilitation Act of 2023, which would expand the ability of the cardiac care team (PAs, NPs, CNSs) to order services.


Driving Grassroots in Action

More than 6,000 letters were sent to state and federal lawmakers in 2023, advocating on a wide array of issues impacting clinicians and patients, including Medicare payment reform, noncompete bans, access to AEDs, expanding postpartum Medicaid coverage, easing prior authorization burdens and more.


Easing the Prior Authorization Burden

The ACC continued its work to ease administrative burdens borne by clinicians and ensure patients receive timely access to cardiovascular care. In 2023, the College supported the GOLD Card Act as a next step to address prior authorization at the federal level. Modeled after a Texas law, the bill would exempt qualifying clinicians from prior authorization requirements under Medicare Advantage plans. At the state level, Washington's governor signed legislation that expedites response times for provider requests and determinations and requires payers to integrate prior authorization into electronic health records.


Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness and Preparedness

The ACC joined the National Football League's Smart Heart Sports Coalition in June and continues to push for the adoption of increased CPR education, access to AEDs and emergency action plan requirements across all 50 states. Great strides have already been made in states like Ohio and Maryland, while at the federal level the Access to AEDs Act garnered bipartisan support in the U.S. House and Senate.

Learn more about the coalition.


Banning Noncompete Clauses

Addressing noncompete clauses and their negative impact on cardiovascular clinicians across the country was a priority for several ACC State Chapters during the 2023 legislative session. Noncompete bans impacting health care were passed in Indiana, Minnesota and New York. The College also submitted comments regarding the Federal Trade Commission's proposed rule on noncompete agreements, warning of the potential to limitations to patient access, care disruptions, the stifling of innovation and adverse effects on physician work life.

Watch a Heart-to-Heart Presidential Discussion on this topic.


Specialty Integration in Value-Based Care

The ACC hosted its fifth annual Value-Based Care in Cardiology Forum at its Heart House headquarters in Washington, DC, in November 2023. Stakeholders from cardiology, health systems, government and industry joined together for the day-long event to explore challenges and evaluate potential solutions to integrating cardiovascular specialists into value-based care models. This collaboration with clinicians, payers, employers and other stakeholders to move toward improved care models that strengthen patient value and outcomes will continue into 2024 and beyond.


HeartPAC: Supporting the Cardiology Party

Thanks to ACC member support, HeartPAC is making an impact! The ACC represented cardiovascular clinicians and patients at over 160 events, supporting 54 Democrats and 54 Republicans, in 2023. In total, HeartPAC contributed $281,000 to these congressional candidates for the 2023-2024 election cycle. Learn more at HeartPAC.org.

Did you know?

75 Years of Driving Collective Action

The advent of a new law signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson establishing Medicare and Medicaid in 1965 caused the ACC to expand its focus to include advocacy in addition to education. That year the College moved from New York City to Bethesda, MD, in order to be closer to the National Institutes of Health and the nation's capital.