September 16, 2016

What works best in your Chapter for member/patient benefit?

This week's BOG Update is brought to you by A. Allen Seals, MD, FACC, Chair of the BOG.

2016 ACC Legislative Conference Recap: Part I

From the vantage point as your Chair, I believe it was a busy and productive weekend for all ACC Governors. First, the ACC Board of Governors (BOG) were hosted at a welcoming evening reception at Heart House. The following morning, ACC Governors heard from an impressive lineup of national experts on a range of current topics of critical importance to cardiology. An electronic system was utilized to allow presenters to poll Governors on relevant issues, and in turn, Governors were afforded ample opportunity to question presenters on details related to their respective areas of expertise. Topics included the following: Accreditation, Population Health Management, Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA), Advocacy, Chapter Health Index, SMARTCare, International Chapter Exchange and Constructive Collaboration with CV Team. All faculty were challenged to prepare their lectures to include practical information that could be immediately applied by Governors to benefit their respective state Chapters. Designated BOG mentors and mentees were reunited to discuss mutual areas of interest and concern, and additional free time was afforded to Governors to discuss any topic in an open forum.

Second, the ACC Legislative Conference was the 25th annual meeting of College members focused on our advocacy priorities. Under the leadership of Thad Waites, MD, FACC, Chair of the Health Affairs Committee (previously known as the Advocacy Steering Committee), the meeting agenda was constructed to highlight the diversity of the advocacy efforts of the College. Of note, an in-depth discussion of the wide scope of ACC Advocacy can be found in this week's issue of JACC. (Seals A. The Diverse Functions of Advocacy and the Implications for All ACC Members. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2016;68(12):1365-1367. doi:10.1016/j.jacc.2016.08.003.) This year's ACC Legislative Conference was dominated by intense interest in MACRA. Governors and Legislative Conference attendees received multiple MACRA related presentations from the College, including lectures and panel discussions from ACC leadership, Health Affairs Committee, Population Management Committee, and the MACRA Task Force. In addition, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) representatives presented didactic information, as well as provided time for one-on-one discussions on concerns related to details of this landmark legislation that will serve as the roadmap to transform Medicare to a value based system. In addition, Legislative Conference attendees heard extraordinary presentations on many other topics, including: update from ACC President, Rick Chazal, MD, FACC; a panel discussion on social media featuring a live twitter feed lead by ACC President-Elect, Minnow Walsh, MD, FACC; state legislative issues presented by a panel of ACC members who discussed methods to improve chapter advocacy effectiveness on State issues; an informal "fireside" chat with Former U.S. Congressman Jack Kingston on a wide range of topics related to effective communication with legislators; and finally an in-depth briefing on ACC Legislative issues (see below). Blair Erb, MD, FACC, Chair of ACCPAC, emphasized the important and complimentary role of the ACCPAC in the ACC advocacy agenda. Dr. Erb announced exciting future plans for the ACCPAC as well as hosted a well-attended ACCPAC sponsored gala dinner event, featuring Presidential Historian Michael Beschloss. A wide variety of topics related to current politics were discussed in the context of historical perspective, with many examples drawn from his book, "Presidential Courage: Brave Leaders and How They Changed America."

Finally, ACC members organized into chapter-led teams to take the ACC advocacy agenda to Capitol Hill. The ACC message communicated directly to congressional leaders and their staff demonstrated how the ACC is committed to providing improved patient access, delivering evidence-based and high quality cardiology services, and demonstrating value and cost-effective care. Specifically, attendees to Legislative Conference shared the following ACC 2016 Legislative priorities with lawmakers:

  • Exercise careful oversight of Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) implementation to ensure the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) are interfacing with medical societies and practices to effectively manage the transition.
  • Foster innovation and research through increased funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
  • Cosponsor H.R. 3355/S. 488, a bill that would expand access to cardiac rehabilitation by allowing physician assistants, nurse practitioners and clinical nurse specialists to supervise cardiac, intensive cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation programs.

Next week, in BOG Update, look for Part 2 of 2016 ACC Legislative Conference Recap where I will ask ACC members to share specific anecdotes during Hill visit interactions with members of Congress.