One of today's posts comes to us from Jim Fasules, M.D., F.A.C.C., ACC's Senior Vice President of Advocacy. Prior to stepping up to the plate to lead the College's advocacy efforts during this tough practice environment, Jim was a pediatric interventional cardiologist at Arkansas Children's Hospital in Little Rock.
At annual meetings like ACC.10
and AHA, cardiovascular professionals keep up with the newest and best science
to make sure we’re providing patients with the right care. However, between the
dwindling financial support from industry for these events and the even more
dwindling reimbursement for CV services, maintaining this commitment to being
knowledgeable about the most recent advances is becoming increasingly
The worst example of this is,
of course, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ final 2010 Physician
Fee Schedule. Although many of the cuts included in the rule are phased in over
a four year period (giving us time to fight their implementation), major cuts for
Myocardial Perfusion Imaging (78452): 36 percent cut
echo with spectral and color flow Doppler (93306): 11 percent cut
Stent (92980): 4 percent cut
(93000): 5 percent cut
ACC.org has a more detailed
summary, but even this very brief overview highlights the grave situation
cardiology is in right now. These cuts are deep enough over four years to
threaten the survival of private practice cardiology. Indeed, many practices have already or are
strongly considering selling their practice to hospitals. We are concerned this could have a major
effect on access of rural and disadvantaged patients to timely cardiac care.
Our fight against these cuts
has just begun. The ACC is working closely with cardiology practices through the
Cardiology Advocacy Alliance (CAA) and with the cardiovascular subspecialty societies
to mitigate the impact of the cuts. Though we obtained a four-year phase in, it
is not enough. We’re continuing to fight
on several fronts – regulatory, legislative and legal – to limit the effects of
these cuts on you and your practice.
The road is steep though, and
we’ll need your involvement more than ever. Visit www.acc.org/CAN to take action and to access the
ACC resources available to help you survive these times. More tools will be
coming in the next few months -- your feedback on the tools and resources you’d
like to see is appreciated. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org
with your thoughts.
We’re doing all we can to
help you and your practice get through these challenging times for cardiology,
while we find a real solution to payment reform. We need to find a solution
that reduces the cuts so we can focus on what we do best – providing
high-quality cardiovascular care to patients.
-- Jim Fasules, M.D., F.A.C.C.
* Dr. Fasules' post is part of a monthly series of guest posts by ACC leadership. Check back next month to see which ACC leader is sharing his or her thoughts on health care reform!
*** Image from Flickr (Suviko). ***