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March 5, 2013
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News for Invasive/Interventional Cardiologists

  Top Stories 
  • 2% physician pay cut hurts patients too, AMA says
    The CMS said physicians will begin seeing a 2% pay cut in Medicare payments due to the sequester beginning April 1. AMA President Dr. Jeremy Lazarus noted increases in Medicare reimbursement already lag behind growth in the cost of providing care and said the cuts threaten to reduce access to care and place an "unsustainable burden on physician practices." The cuts also will harm patients, Lazarus said: "One in five Medicare patients already is facing difficulties in finding a doctor to take them. If you cut their pay, this access problem will only get worse." CNNMoney (3/3), Medscape (free registration) (3/1) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
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  Policy & Professional News 
  • What FREEDOM really means for interventionalists
    The landmark FREEDOM trial made a case for surgery in high-risk diabetes patients who have multivessel disease, but some experts have expressed concern that a strict interpretation of the findings overlooks important considerations when weighing percutaneous coronary intervention or bypass surgery. "The two procedures are clearly different from a patient perspective, particularly with regards to the invasive nature of the two procedures and the increased stroke risk, especially within 30 days," said SCAI fellow Dr. Ajay Kirtane. Rather than make a clear case for one procedure over the other, Kirtane says FREEDOM promoted collaboration. "For the past five years in our practice, if we are presented with a diabetic patient with multivessel disease, interventionalists take the patient off the cath lab table to consult with a surgeon." (2/27) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Is it time to reconsider CCTA training standards?
    Some cardiologists and radiologists are asking whether guidelines for the use of coronary CT angiography need an update to improve consistency and outcomes. The ACCURACY trial supported the efficacy of CCTA, but experts suggest more rigorous training is necessary to ensure those benefits are realized across practices and patients. "The technique has great potential, but if you don't do it properly, it will not live up to anywhere near that potential," said Dr. John Lesser, president of the Society of Cardiovascular Computed Tomography. "It will look like it is not any good." (2/28) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Medical Developments 
  • No harm in steps to shorten CHD repair hospitalization, study finds
    Strategies to move more quickly to correct congenital heart defects can lower costs without affecting safety, according to a study published in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes. Steps such as admitting patients the day of surgery led to costs that were one-third lower. The study looked at repair of atrial septal defect and ventricular septal defect at New York's Mount Sinai Medical Center before and after the steps were implemented, and the data were compared to results from 40 other centers. (3/1) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Diet study fuels call for better data on heart health connections
    Cardiologists are calling for a closer examination of the relationship between diet and heart disease after a recent study showed the Mediterranean diet could be a powerful tool to prevent cardiovascular disease and death. The result could be better recommendations more grounded in science. "As we go on, we realize we know less and less," said Dr. Michael Lauer, director of the division of cardiovascular sciences at the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. "We can despair and just make things up, or we can celebrate and say we have a real opportunity to grow here." The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (3/2) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  SCAI News 
  • SCAI leaders discuss key takeaways from changes to AUC
    The cardiology community is abuzz about changes to the appropriate use criteria (AUC), including newly approved terminology to describe the categorization of procedures. SCAI's latest video interview features SCAI Quality Improvement Committee Co-Chair Sunil V. Rao, MD, FSCAI, and Ajay J. Kirtane, MD, FSCAI, discussing takeaways for interventional cardiologists, including why the AUC have been updated; how the new categories may help alleviate confusion, especially among the media and public; and why documentation is the key to delivering thoughtful patient care while adhering to AUC. Watch the video. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Share your complications and "brain scratchers" at SCAI 2013
    There's no better teaching method than coming together as a community and sharing unusual and challenging cases. That's the concept behind "I Blew It" and "Brain Scratchers," sessions at the SCAI 2013 Congenital Heart Disease Symposium. "I Blew It" Sessions returns for the 14th year, with cases gone awry and creative ways that interventionalists manage these complications; more important, the session will address how to avoid such events in the future. "Brain Scratchers" challenges attendees to solve hemodynamic, angiographic or interventional mysteries and provide solutions for less-than-routine cases in the congenital catheterization laboratory. Find out how to share your case. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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--Alexander Graham Bell,
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