End of Year Update | SCAI

I hope that all of you are having a pleasant fall and are looking forward to the winter holidays and the New Year. SCAI has had a productive fall. Lisa Olson, SCAI's new executive director, is settling in and staff are working as tirelessly as ever for you, our members. It has been an honor to represent SCAI as your president both here and abroad. In addition to the U.S. efforts I will outline below, I've just returned from Indonesia, where it was an honor to collaborate with AICT Program Directors Drs. Huay-Cheem Tan and Muhammad Munawar to offer a new Fellows Course. More than 80 interventional cardiology fellows-in-training and early-career interventionalists attended, and there was significant interest in membership so as to assist SCAI on our key initiatives.

As I look back on the first half of my term as SCAI president I am struck by how active we have been across all of our mission areas.  Here are just a few highlights.

Quality & Publications

SCAI's Publications and Quality Improvement volunteers have released an expert consensus document on use of left ventriculography, jointly developed AUC on transthoracic echocardiography for screening children and an expansion of the SCAI-QIT AUC calculator to include the diagnostic catheterization AUC.

More than 100 pediatric interventionalists and cath lab staff attended the first of the Pediatric SCAI-QIT webinars, where Drs. Henri Justino, Kalyani Trivedi, Doff McElhinney and Bob Vincent are sharing how to integrate each of the tools in the care of children with heart disease. Meanwhile, a growing number of cath lab teams are using SCAI-QIT tools and apps to achieve measurable improvements in quality.

Education for All

The Society's educational portfolio continues to address our varied needs in the dynamic healthcare environment. Our committees have developed a wide range of program options that enable us to focus on what we need, when and where we need it. For example:

  • This fall's regional TRIP and CTO programs were enthusiastically received by physicians and nurses who are looking to expand their technique and service lines to better serve patients. 
  • Our eLearning Library continues to provide a 24/7 resource for getting up-to-speed on FFR, IVUS and PVD, while SCAI.org's TAVR Center and Clinical Interest Centers provide focused, news-you-can-use updates in the Congenital, Coronary, Peripheral and Structural fields. Stay tuned as we reveal the SCAI.org Imaging Center in coming days.
  • The SCAI 2015 Scientific Sessions will deliver a customizable program for individual operators and cath lab teams alike. The Program Committee, led by Drs. Mike Jaff, Roxana Mehran, Bob Applegate, Doff McElhinney and Jacqueline Kreutzer, is developing a track- and case-based meeting that each of us can tailor to the needs of our practices and our patients.

I'm especially excited about the annual meeting because we will formally welcome SCAI's first group of Cardiovascular Professional Members. Starting in January, the cath lab nurses, technicians and administrators who comprise our teams at work will join us in our Society. I look forward to their insights and contributions as well as to further amplifying SCAI's voice. Please encourage your nurse, technician and administrator colleagues to join SCAI and to get involved.

We have also expanded our voice with patients and their families. Led by Drs. Dennis Kim and JP Reilly, the editors of SCAI's public information website, SecondsCount.org, have added hundreds of new pages of consumer-friendly content about cardiovascular health, from prevention through testing and treatment, with an emphasis on shared decision-making. SecondsCount.org is on track to achieve more than 1.2 million visits in 2014.

The Voice of Interventional Cardiology

SCAI's Advocacy team is making sure the voice of our field is heard loud and clear with policymakers at the federal and state levels. We are lobbying --

  • For patients' access to high-quality, appropriate care in states such as Oregon, where proposals for dramatic restrictions on PCI have been withdrawn, and in New York, which had proposed to misuse the AUC;
  • For fair reimbursement of interventional procedures by Medicare and third-party payers, such as for TMVR, which, as a result of our advocacy, will have the highest work value (Medicare reimbursement rate) of any interventional cardiology procedure in 2015;
  • For approval of new therapies, such as the Watchman Left Atrial Appendage Occluder;
  • For meaningful and accurate public reporting in Medicare and other databases;
  • For quality-driven, relevant MOC that is linked with CME credit and is not a burden on us; and
  • For recognition of the value of our work by the media and others.

In the next few weeks, we will receive guidance from SCAI staff about how, beginning on Jan. 5, each of us will be able to be counted by CMS not as cardiologists or internists, but as interventional cardiologists!

Because SCAI persuaded CMS that Interventional Cardiology is a specialty in its own right, the work that we do – its quality and the resources it utilizes – will be more fairly evaluated and compared. In other words, no more apples-to-oranges comparisons of our work to that of less-intensive fields. We now stand as our own specialty. When your coding staff designate you as an interventional cardiologist, you will take a big step toward ensuring that the number of interventional cardiologists is accurately reported, that the quality of the care you provide is fairly judged and that fewer of your claims will be denied.

In addition, we expect there will be other, more long-term benefits to this advocacy victory. As it becomes possible for CMS and others to distinguish interventional cardiologists from other physicians in Medicare and other claims databases, quality of performance scores will become more accurate, potentially improving the regulatory environment for our field and enhancing the public's perception of Interventional Cardiology. Please watch for the details about how your coding team can be sure that you are accurately identified as an interventional cardiologist.

Much More to Come

This weekend I am traveling to the SCAI's Fall Fellows Courses, where hundreds of adult and pediatric/congenital heart disease interventional fellows-in-training will gather for the Society's flagship educational event for the future leaders of our specialty. Directed by Drs. Zoltan Turi, Jonathan Tobis, John Lasala, John Cheatham and Matthew Gillespie, the program will provide our fellows with an unparalleled opportunity to expand their knowledge while networking with one another and the faculty. I am certain attending will be one of the highlights of my presidency.

Please watch for another update on SCAI activities early in 2015 and, of course, I look forward to seeing all of you at the SCAI 2015 Scientific Sessions and Cath Lab Leadership Boot Camp, May 6-9, in San Diego.

Please accept my best to you, your family, colleagues, staff and patients for the upcoming holidays and New Year. Safe travels, and I hope call is light. As always, contact me anytime at president@SCAI.org.

Best regards,

Charles Chambers, MD, FSCAI
SCAI President, 2014-15

Messages for Members

Updates from SCAI President's on the education, advocacy, and research being led by the Society on their behalf to advance clinical practice and deliver quality patient care. 

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