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December 4, 2012
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News for Invasive/Interventional Cardiologists

  Top Stories 
  • SCAI releases updated guidelines for ad hoc PCI
    SCAI's updated consensus document for the appropriate use of ad hoc percutaneous coronary intervention emphasizes clear, informed patient consent, careful risk assessment, clinical judgment and a team-based approach to decision making. The document appears in Catheterization and Cardiovascular Interventions. Although ad hoc PCI is safe, says lead author Dr. James Blankenship, "there are certainly circumstances where it is important to stop after the diagnostic portion and further consider what you are going to do." MedPage Today (free registration) (11/30), (12/4), (11/29), (Montreal) (free registration) (11/29) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • New PCI codes acknowledge the more difficult cases, experts say
    SCAI and other medical societies protected clinicians from more significant cuts to CMS payment rates for interventional procedures, physicians say, and now the groups are working to help members understand the coding changes. "The new coding structure for the coronary intervention is an improvement on the old intervention codes, [which] did not distinguish between the more complex and the less complex procedures," said Dr. James Blankenship. There will be 13 new codes for percutaneous coronary intervention reporting in 2013, including codes for more challenging cases. (Montreal) (free registration) (12/3) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Policy & Professional News 
  • Looming cuts to provider pay won't "reform" anything, insiders say
    Doctors face the prospect of payment cuts regardless of whether a deal is made to avoid the impending "fiscal cliff," experts warn, and cuts may still be part of any deal. In the absence of a deal, doctors will see reimbursements from Medicare cut by 2% as part of sequestration, but also on the horizon is a 27% reduction in pay if the program's payment formula is not addressed. Politico (Washington, D.C.) (11/29) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Financial challenges fuel provider consolidations
    With hospitals receiving higher Medicare payments for specialty services than independent doctors, who have seen reimbursements repeatedly cut, many physicians must sell their practices. The shift helps doctors maintain a stable income, but it forces them to adhere to institutional guidelines that may hamper their practice. Consolidation has hit a boiling point in Boise, Idaho, as the area's largest health system is accused of having too much market control. While some policy experts say moving away from independent practices makes health care less fragmented and costly, some physicians say hospitals are pressuring them to admit more patients to meet financial targets. Bloomberg Businessweek (11/21), The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (11/30) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Symposium examines PCI without onsite surgical backup
    A New Jersey symposium explored whether the state should begin allowing health centers without surgical backup capabilities to offer elective percutaneous coronary intervention. Care needs to be taken to ensure safety and appropriate use of procedures, said SCAI trustee Dr. Ralph Brindis. Panelist and former SCAI President Dr. Gregory Dehmer emphasized quality as well, along with the community profile. "The quality of a program is not determined solely by the presence or absence of a surgeon. The decision to operate an elective PCI program should be based on the needs of patients and the community," Dehmer said. MedPage Today (free registration) (11/28) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Medical Developments 
  • Digoxin raises mortality risk in A-fib patients, study finds
    Atrial fibrillation patients who took digoxin had a 41% higher risk of death from all causes than those who didn't take the drug, according to a study of more than 4,000 patients. In addition, digoxin users were 35% more likely to die from cardiovascular causes and 61% more likely to die from arrhythmias than non-users. The findings were published online in the European Heart Journal. HealthDay News (11/28) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
  SCAI News 
  • Help your patients make sense of meds: Point them to
    Could you use some help convincing your patients to take their medications as directed? SCAI's public education website,, addresses many of the issues that can lead to nonadherence, from why to keep taking prescribed medications even if you feel better to resources to turn to if the costs get overwhelming. Featuring tools and tips for taking medications as directed as well as information on side effects and questions to ask your health care provider, is a site worth bookmarking. Check it out. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Looking to start a CTO program? SCAI regional training series can help
    Performing percutaneous CTO interventions is rapidly gaining momentum in the U.S. If you don't want to be left behind, SCAI's all-new Chronic Total Occlusion Regional Training Series is the place to start. Taking place in Phoenix on Jan. 19 and Atlanta on March 23, these one-day training programs will provide interventional cardiologists, fellows-in-training and cath lab nurses and techs a mix of basic and advanced information relating to setting up a CTO program, retrograde problem solving, developing a "CTO toolbox" and case-based problem solving. Learn more and register now. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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It is astonishing what force, purity and wisdom it requires for a human being to keep clear of falsehoods."
--Margaret Fuller,
American journalist and women's rights activist

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The news summaries appearing in SCAI SmartBrief are based on original information from news organizations and are produced by SmartBrief, Inc., an independent e-mail newsletter publisher. SCAI is not responsible for the content of sites external to SCAI, nor do reports in SCAI SmartBrief constitute the official opinion of SCAI.

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