ACC Board of Governors and 2015 Legislative Conference held in Washington, DC on October 18-20th

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On day 1 we participated of the Board of Governors meeting where the three main topics were MOC, public reporting, and MACRA. Discussion between the ACC and the ABIM are ongoing with the final evolution of the MOC process still being negotiated. Public reporting is a reality and will increase and it behooves us to ensure that our practices and hospitals are preoccupied with producing accurate outcomes data. In regards to the upcoming changes to the Medicare program under MACRA and MIPS, CMS is focused on making a transition to reimbursement based on value with the set goals to have 85% of reimbursement adhere to one of 3 forms of value-based payment systems by 2016. For more information on this topic, follow this ACC link on MACRA and MIPS.

Critical to thrive is such an environment will be for hospitals to invest in the necessary information systems, electronic health records, and clinical registry infrastructure to be able to accurately produce quality metrics. We are fortunate to have NCDR, the implementation of which would serve well this purpose. I encourage you to do your part in persuading and working with your hospital administrators toward this goal.

On day 2 we had a full day of lectures by legislative and regulatory experts focusing mostly on the Medicare reform. Among many excellent lectures, Dr. Bruce Siegel, CEO of America’s Essential Hospitals, gave a superb review of what it will take hospitals to thrive and Dr. Mathew Press from Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation gave us a glimpse of the future of alternative payment models. The general consensus among attendees was the high complexity and unpredictability of the changes that are coming our way. Again, having access to solid, rigorous, and reliable data as that achieved by the proper implementation of NCDR will be the best tool for success.

On day 3 we visited Capitol Hill to deliver the message of the need to address the healthcare funding disparities between the states and Puerto Rico in order to improve direct patient care as well as our quality measurement infrastructure. We also delivered a strong message about the abusive physician “de-selection” and provider network shrinking being indiscriminately conducted by the Medicare Advantage companies in Puerto Rico, which impairs patient access to care, quality of care, and the viability of physician practices.

The fiscal and healthcare challenges ahead are monumental and seem beyond our reach. Nonetheless, there is much each of you can do, especially ensuring that your practices and the hospitals you work at are proactive at developing the information infrastructure required to thrive in the value-based reimbursement healthcare environment. Also, I invite you to be part of local and federal advocacy efforts. It is the sum of many voices that can make a difference.

I also want to recognize the remarkable support that our chapter received from the ACC Federal Affairs office at Heart House, including Ms. Kathleen Sheehan and Mr. Lucas Sanders. Their role was a prime example of the high value of ACC membership to help improve heart health in Puerto Rico. I encourage you to go ahead and renew your ACC membership for 2016. Today more than ever, the ACC continues to be a pillar of our struggles and our professional home.

Warm regards,

Orlando Rodríguez Vilá, MD, MMS, FACC
President and Governor