This post was authored by Kim Allan Williams, Sr., MD, FACC, president-elect of the ACC.
Over the past 40 years, the world has seen significant advances in cardiovascular care including a 50 percent decline in cardiovascular-related deaths. A study published in Circulation last month further demonstrated the progress that has been made. The study found that hospitalizations for acute cardiovascular disease and stroke showed rapid decline from 1999 through 2011, compared to other cardiac-related conditions. Additionally, patients achieved improved mortality and readmission outcomes.
Achievements like these serve as evidence that cardiovascular care professionals are capable of successfully combating heart disease – the number one killer of Americans. Yet, in this era of constant change and increasing burdens within the health care system, the challenge lies in sustaining these gains while at the same time reducing costs. Through its advocacy efforts, the ACC is shaping health policy to meet the Triple Aim of better health, better outcomes and lower cost.
Advocacy will be in full swing next week as nearly 400 ACC members gather in Washington, DC, to discuss the changing landscape of health care and advocate for cardiovascular professionals and patients on Capitol Hill during ACC’s Legislative Conference. During congressional meetings, ACC members will share how the College is leading the transformation of care by developing a quality driven health care system, ensuring practice stability and securing the future of cardiovascular care.
Here’s a snapshot of the messages members will underscore while on the Hill:
- The ACC is a pioneer in the use of clinical data registries and is a leader in the creation of clinical practice guidelines, appropriate use criteria, and established quality initiatives aimed at decreasing unjustified variations in care, reducing hospital readmissions, and reducing unnecessary spending. The ACC is actively working with Congress and other key stakeholders to develop a health care system that puts patients first and rewards cardiovascular professionals for their commitment to quality, evidence-based care.
- The ACC supports efforts that facilitate practice and provider stability, such as permanent repeal of the flawed Sustainable Growth Rate formula, continued patient access to in-office ancillary services, greater interoperability of health information technology, fair and accurate reimbursement for services, and medical liability reforms. The College also supports the development and implementation of new payment models that reward improved outcomes and prudent use of resources.
- Ensuring future generations of cardiovascular professionals have the tools and resources to continue the advancement of cardiovascular care is a core strategic objective of the College. The ACC steadfastly advocates for necessary funding of clinical research and support for graduate medical education. The College also supports programs and partnerships that encourage team-based care across specialties, and facilitate approval, adoption and tracking of new drugs and therapies.
Given the wide range of issues facing cardiovascular professionals, a talking points document was designed to enable ACC members to bring the issues they care about most to their legislators. Even if you’re not attending Legislative Conference, you can make a difference. Please send a letter to your lawmakers using the ACC Grassroots System to tell them how the ACC is leading the transformation of care.
Stay tuned for full coverage of ACC’s Legislative Conference on the Blog. You can also follow @Cardiology and use the hashtag #ACCLegConf on Twitter, view photos and join the discussion on Facebook and get the FIT perspective with FITs on the Go videos.