ACC.17 Convocation Ceremony, March 19, 2017: ACC Immediate-Past President Richard A. Chazal, MD, MACC


Distinguished guests on the dais, newly elected Fellows and Associates of the College, past presidents, Board of Trustees, Board of Governors, Assembly of International Governors, members of the College, ACC staff, family, guests, and friends. Thank you for this opportunity to address you one last time as president.

First, congratulations again to all of this year’s award winners! Thank you for your outstanding contributions to the cardiovascular community, and to our patients! Our profession is in a better place because of you.

My predecessors warned that their presidential years went by quickly. The year is a whirlwind and an opportunity to learn so much from a great number of leaders, clinicians and thinkers, many of whom are in this room tonight. Having the privilege of being President of the College has been the opportunity of a lifetime. And leading it during this period of profound change has been an honor and privilege.

I'd like to talk to you a bit about this past year and what we’ve been able to accomplish together, and about the goals that lie ahead.

Effective implementation of the College’s strategic plan continues to be the overarching goal of ACC and its leadership. The plan is centered on the key areas of purposeful education, transformation of care, member value and engagement, and population health management– all with the aim of achieving the overarching mission of transforming cardiovascular care and improving heart health.

Over the past year, we have worked to clarify and communicate four significant issues that fall under the current Strategic Plan, and require particular attention in today’s changing health care landscape: Maintenance of Certification or MOC, the MACRA legislation with transition from volume to value, Governance and Accreditation Services.

With regard to MOC: This issue continues to rank among the top concerns of our cardiology members. While the American Board of Internal Medicine has made substantial changes to its MOC process in response to concerns raised by physicians and specialty organizations, including the ACC, we are still not quite there.

The ACC is one of three medical specialty societies currently working with the ABIM to explore a “Society Maintenance Pathway” option that could serve as an alternative to the 10-year exam and be based on our successful self-assessment products like ACCSAP9.

ACC believes that an opportunity exists to improve recertification by way of needs-based learning with verifiable demonstration of knowledge in an ongoing fashion. We believe this better serves members, and, more importantly, patients.

By now, all of you have heard the term “MACRA” – the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act. As you may know, MACRA is being implemented as the "QPP", or Quality Payment Program, and is designed to improve care while reducing costs, thus increasing value. MACRA, and the move from volume to value, are not something that can or should be ignored, as measurements for helping determine future reimbursement began on January 1st of this year!

The College is committed to helping members understand and navigate MACRA. There will also continue to be opportunities for medical specialty organizations like the ACC to have input through the regulatory process to help establish how MACRA will function. In 2016, alone, the ACC drafted, submitted comments to, or signed on to more than 60 letters to Congress and regulatory agencies like CMS – our Advocacy leaders and staff are continually working for members and for patient care.

The College has also grown and matured over the years. Growth and change mandate re-evaluation of governance. Models that worked well with a much smaller organization must now adapt and evolve to meet new needs effectively.

The ACC’s governance transformation is moving steadily forward to make the College more nimble, strategic, accountable and reflective of the diversity and breadth that exists within the global cardiovascular community.

The increasing integration of physicians and the care team with hospitals and systems--both concrete and virtual--means that to most effectively improve patient care, ACC must serve a base beyond the its traditional physician target.

To that end, the ACC is developing a comprehensive strategy that supports hospitals, health care systems and the cardiovascular care team in the delivery of high-quality, patient-centered, cost-effective cardiovascular care. Our NCDR registries, Accreditation Services and our National Quality Campaigns are all part of this effort.

The progress that we have made in these and other areas of our Strategic Plan is due to the commitment of ACC members and leaders to do what is best for patient care. Our value is in our mission statement, which is ultimately all about the patient. Collaboration with each other, as well as with our counterparts in the US and around the world is key to our success. My utmost appreciation and heartfelt thanks to the leaders sitting on this dais and to so many of you in the audience, as well as those who are not here tonight – working together we have been able to leverage our collective strengths and talents and achieve truly meaningful results.

I expected many things from serving in this position, but I did not expect to make so many close connections, extraordinary relationships, and have such touching moments with counterparts in cardiology around our country and across the globe. These connections truly make the world of cardiovascular medicine and patient care a much smaller place.

Serving as president of the ACC has been intellectually, professionally, and personally broadening. Over the last year, it has been clear that to do this job justice – to serve well –requires a tremendous amount of time and effort, as well as substantial personal energy and emotional investment. Those that wish to become leaders of the College should know that leadership roles are demanding and may not be for everyone but the payback is huge.

Thank you to my Linda, my wife, and my children for their patience and understanding with my crazy schedule this last year, and to my patients as well. I’d also like to thank my colleagues on the Board of Trustees, most especially Kim Allan Williams, Minnow Walsh, Mike Valentine, Allen Seals and Robert Guyton. One is only as effective as the team – and we have quite a team. I’d also like to especially thank Pam Douglas for her friendship and thoughtful guidance and advice. Thank you also to ACC CEO Shal Jacobovitz and the amazing ACC staff whose commitment to the ACC and to each of you is unparalleled. Sandra, Kelsi, Shalen, Autumn--I will miss working with all of you on a daily basis!

I have no doubt that the ACC will continue to grow as a vehicle for serving cardiovascular professionals as they work to achieve the highest quality of care for patients. Thank you for being a part of the ACC and thank you for all that you do for patients around the world. Congratulations again!

And now, I'd like to ask Mary Norine, Minnow Walsh to come forward. A respected colleague, accomplished cardiologist, thoughtful leader, and close friend, Minnow becomes the third woman to serve as ACC President, joining Suzanne Knoebel and Pam Douglas. All of us can--and should--expect great things in the coming year from an individual with unprecedented preparation to assume the role of ACC President.

Keywords: ACC17, ACC Annual Scientific Session, ACC Scientific Session Newspaper, ACC History

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