MACRA, Data, Payment Reform, Quality Improvement in the Spotlight at ACC CV Summit

ACC’s 2017 Cardiovascular Summit brought together hundreds of cardiovascular professionals from across the U.S., along with a wide array of experts in the field of cardiology, business practices and leadership, to discuss how best to achieve operational excellence, ensure cost efficiency and improve patient outcomes during a time of rapid and continual change in the health care system.

The two-and-a-half day meeting, held in Orlando, FL, featured small group workshops and interactive sessions around topics centered around four primary areas: National Aim Issues, Business of Medicine, Operational Excellence and Leadership and Quality and Efficiency. Additionally, two pre-conference workshops focused on growing and empowering leaders and understanding “Cardiology Business Basics,” including contract negotiations and cardiovascular service line development.

The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) was one of the hottest topics of discussion, with attendees coming away with an understanding of the law and how to prepare for its implementation. “Every single provider and practitioner will be impacted by MACRA and you need to be involved and understand,” said Kathryn Lund, RN, MBA, executive director of value-based care at Piedmont Heart Institute in Atlanta, GA.

Workshops throughout the meeting addressed the fundamentals of MACRA from understanding the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and Advanced Alternative Payment Models (APM) tracks, to decoding the many acronyms associated with the law, such as QRUR, s-QRUR, VBPM and QPP. (Get up to speed on these and other MACRA terms on ACC’s online MACRA Hub.)

ACC leaders, including John Gordon Harold, MD, MACC, Edward T. A. Fry, MD, FACC, Cathleen Biga, MSN, RN, and A. Allen Seals, MD, FACC, provided tips on how to get started with MACRA implementation. They stressed the importance of starting early to identify measures, reporting mechanisms, aligning internal communications and preparing electronic health records. Seals noted ACC’s commitment to educating members about the most effective ways to implement MACRA within their systems or practices.

Suzette Jaskie, MBA, vice president of Global Medical Affairs at Corindus Vascular Robotics in Ada, MI, pointed out that physicians can choose how to proceed in MACRA in 2017 and strongly recommended “not to choose the ‘easy button’ and do nothing.” (Watch BOG Incoming Chair-Elect Andrew Miller, MD, FACC, and Biga in a Facebook Live video discussing MACRA preparedness, additionally listen to Health Affairs Committee Chair Thad Waites, MD, FACC, on the difference between the Affordable Care Act and MACRA.)

Data ownership was another major theme throughout the Summit, with attendees gaining knowledge on how to recognize essential data management and reporting systems, as well as how to use reporting system data to improve practice or individual performance. Workshops ranged from using ACC’s NCDR data for quality reporting to how to use patient-reported outcomes measures and patient relationship codes. Quality improvement was also on the agenda, with tips on how to tackle unexplained variation in care, how to build effective care pathways and teams, and how to ensure patients are at the center of care. Additionally, ACC Accreditation Services staff and leaders were on hand to talk about ways accreditation can help improve quality outcomes and financial performance. They noted the new collaboration with the American Heart Association will provide hospitals and health systems with a comprehensive set of cardiac accreditation options.

Remaining financially successful in an era of payment reform and establishing a thoughtful process for episodes of care management were also key components. “If you are working in a compensation model that is totally productivity driven, you are living on Fantasy Island,” noted Chad A. Hoyt, MD, FACC, speaking to a crowded room about designing teams for the best patient outcomes and financial viability. “Governance, culture and compensation each must be firing on all cylinders if we want our teams and systems to thrive,” he said.

Check out coverage of the meeting on Twitter via @ACCCardioEd and #CVSummit

Keywords: Accreditation, American Heart Association, Delivery of Health Care, Electronic Health Records, Episode of Care, Leadership, Medicare, Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015, Motivation, Negotiating, Ownership, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Physicians, Quality Improvement, CV Summit

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