January 6, 2017

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This week's BOG Update is brought to you by Past BOG Chair and current Health Affairs Committee Chair Thad F. Waites, MD, FACC of Mississippi.

Top Advocacy Successes of 2016

Advocacy serves as a key enabler of the College's strategic plan as the ACC continuously strives to transform cardiovascular care and improve heart health. From grassroots efforts to regulatory wins, it has been a stellar year for ACC in the advocacy arena and it is important to the Health Affairs Committee that our BOG colleagues are up-to-date on these important endeavors, and I want you to know that we have the best advocacy staff of any professional society. It was quite difficult to narrow the College's many advocacy successes from 2016 down to just a handful to cover in this update, but we selected the top eight success stories that made the most impact. For those interested in the full scope of our accomplishments this year, take a look at the complete list on the Leadership Portal.

It is my pleasure to share with you these top accomplishments from the past year. As a result of tremendous advocacy efforts in 2016, the ACC:

  1. Celebrated 25 years of ACC's Legislative Conference with a highly successful meeting with involvement across College sections. The event welcomed 441 attendees from 48 states – 86 of whom were Fellows in Training – and attendees held 318 congressional meetings;
  2. Created Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) Task Force and provided implementation recommendations to CMS, leading to the inclusion of many of ACC's requests reflected in the final rule;
  3. Engaged with lawmakers in the development and passage of 21st Century Cures and advocated in support of key provisions;
  4. Submitted significant and substantive comments to annual Medicare payment regulations resulting in changes to the Quality Payment Program (QPP), Physician Fee Schedule (PFS), and Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System (HOPPS);
  5. Helped shape the reauthorization of the Medical Device and Prescription Drug User Fee Agreements , as well as promoted provisions addressing the use of real world evidence in device evaluation and monitoring;
  6. Took a lead in promoting the Flexibility in Electronic Health Record (EHR) Reporting Act and commented to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on the need to reduce the Meaningful Use reporting period, initiatives that ultimately pressured CMS into acting;
  7. Led state stakeholder effort to advocate for the mandatory use of pulse oximetry for newborn critical congenital heart disease in Idaho and Kansas, and adopted regulations in Vermont and Wyoming; and
  8. Advocated against arbitrary denials and delays resulting from insurance company prior authorization practices; Legislation passed in Ohio, Delaware, New Hampshire, Minnesota, and Washington state. Additionally, the Prior Authorization Workgroup is working on a data collection and reporting tool as part of advocating against arbitrary denials, and more.