As we settle into the new year and set goals for the year ahead, I am excited as I reflect on what is to come for our organization, as well as the great strides that we have made for our profession since I began my presidency last May. Over the last decade, interventional cardiology has seen tremendous growth and innovation, a lot of which has been led by the work of our incredible members, committees, and councils. The future of our profession rests on innovation and breaking down the barriers to care that impact our patients. With that, SCAI has placed a tremendous focus on several key initiatives within our specialty, allowing for our physicians to stand at the forefront of saving and enhancing lives.
Recent data has shown the strong demand for and interest in research opportunities among emerging interventional cardiologists, with it being reported as among the most valuable aspects of their training. To that end, we launched the Early Career Research Grant program last year with support from Abbott, Cardiovascular Systems, Inc., Medtronic, and Shockwave Medical, which is now offered by SCAI as a member service to foster and stimulate new research ideas in various areas of investigation related to interventional cardiology. The program targets junior-level investigators by funding proposals that demonstrate a high likelihood of resulting in new and innovative approaches in any area of interventional research.
The recipients of the research grants will be presenting their findings this May at our annual meeting. If you are attending in person, I hope that you will make time to hear from these early-career investigators and cheer them on as they begin their careers as clinician investigators. I am excited to share that the second cycle of this grant program, supported by Abbott and Cardiovascular Systems, Inc., is now accepting applications. You can learn more here.
Additionally last year, we established the CHD Research Forum, which provides a home for our members of the congenital heart disease community to learn and discuss the key areas involved with planning and executing multicenter research in congenital cardiac catheterization.
In our more than 40-year history, we have never funded original research, or provided a platform to discuss the planning and execution of congenital heart disease research, so these are incredible accomplishments by our Society and just the beginning of our research efforts, which are a part of the broader SCAI five-year strategic plan.
This past December, we announced that interventional cardiology would join the NRMP’s Medical Specialties Matching Program (“the Match”) in 2025. The Match process is a uniform system where specialty candidates and training programs simultaneously “match” to fill medical specialty training positions accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).
In early 2022, SCAI developed an Interventional Cardiology Match Task Force comprising cardiovascular and interventional cardiology program directors, SCAI leaders, and Fellows who advocated not only for interventional cardiology to join the formal process, but also to shift the application deadline so that trainees would apply upon completion of their second year of general cardiology training, giving them more time to decide which subspeciality is a best fit for their professional endeavors. With the specialty joining the Match, we are confident that this will lead to greater fairness and diversity, which will benefit the patients we serve.
We have also seen some significant legislative wins that are shaping the future for interventional cardiologists thanks to the advocacy of our government relations team. Here are a few accomplishments from the past year:
- SCAI was able to appeal and correct an NCCI MUE edit for CPT® code 93575
- Successfully avoided 8.5% or $36B in Medicare Cuts until 2023 (2% cut so far in 2023); with the PAYGO cut postponed
- Passed CAROL Act promoting cardiovascular research grants from National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
- Passed American Medical Association Resolution: 911 on Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest
- Successfully petitioned Noridian on local coverage decision to retire position on pulmonary thrombectomy
- The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) granted the SCAI-requested complexity adjustment related to IFR in the final Outpatient Payment Rule
- SCAI advocated to pass Pennsylvania Senate Bill 818 that allows Ambulatory Surgical Centers (ASCs) to perform surgical procedures if they are on the CMS ASC-CPL list.
- Successfully requested Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Tennessee to rescind policy out of discharging patients 23 hours post-TAVR as non-standard of care;
- Supported Puff Bar ban in Senate version of Omnibus spending bill by authorizing the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) to regulate synthetic tobacco products
- Exceeding our campaign goal from the prior year, the SCAI Political Action Committee was able to raise more than $70,000
I am so proud of the incredible work our physicians and team have put in to represent SCAI members at the state and federal levels and I know there will be many more successes in the year to come.
Do you know how SCAI can better engage in clinical research, advocate for our profession, or provide better opportunities to our members? I would love to hear from you. Please feel free to email me at email@example.com with your questions and concerns or reach out to me on Twitter at @SVRaoMD. I look forward to seeing a lot of you in the coming weeks and months, especially at the SCAI 2023 Scientific Sessions in Phoenix.
Sunil V. Rao, MD, FSCAI
2022-23 SCAI President
Messages for Members
Updates from SCAI's Presidents on the education, advocacy, and research being led by the Society on their behalf to advance clinical practice and deliver quality care.