A Call To Action

Hello fellow cardiologists of Connecticut. As Connecticut appears to have reached its COVID-19 plateau, I hope that you are all coping well with our “new normal” state of existence.

Please find below a message from ACC that informs the reader of the actions that ACC is undertaking to encourage Congress to support you and your patients. It would be wonderful if many of you would, as invited in the correspondence, contact your elected representatives to encourage them to focus on these important issues as they craft new legislation to support medical care in what will become an increasingly burdensome economic crisis in our nation. The “CLICK HERE” link takes you to a site at which you can easily and quickly compose a note to your congressional representatives. In less than 5 minutes, I was able to dash off a note to our 2 senators and the congress persons who represent the district where I live and the one where I work. The more of us who take this action, the more encouragement we will deliver to our representatives to do the right thing for us and our patients. Thank you for considering the following message:

As Congressional leaders consider future relief packages in response to the COVID-19 public health crisis, the American College of Cardiology advocates for the following policies to support cardiovascular clinicians and the entire healthcare system.  

Please CLICK HERE to urge Congress to address the following in the next COVID-19 emergency response package: 

Urgent Resource Needs

•   Continue to address the ongoing critical need for Personal Protective Equipment
     °   Build and maintain appropriate national stockpiles for current and future needs
•   Ensure financial stability for medical practices
     °   Ongoing support of practices and hospitals to maintain clinical infrastructure and
         safeguard patient access
•  Expand access to consistent, nondiscriminatory and reliable testing
   °    Widespread, rapid and inexpensive testing is needed to understand the extent of
         infections and ensure the public’s safe return to work, school, and other essential
         activities in all communities  

Support for Clinicians

•  Provide payment parity between telephone evaluation and office visits
   °    Ensure that recent CMS guidance and rules are followed appropriately to enable the
         payment of telephone claims and that flexibility continues for the duration of the crisis
         in all states/regions
•   Support clinician liability protections during a declared emergency
    °   Extend these essential protections to all health workers in addition to volunteers as
         they continue to serve on the frontlines
•   Ensure the continuation of cardiovascular disease research projects at the National
    Institutes of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as they relate to COVID-19 
    °   Cardiovascular comorbidities are common in COVID-19 patients who are at higher risk
         of mortality
•   Expand GME slots and workforce development to improve the clinician pipeline 
     °   Increasing the number of Medicare-supported residency slots is vital to meet
          healthcare needs and expand the clinical workforce to meet future crises   


Administrative Burdens

•   Encourage CMS to pressure Medicare Advantage plans to waive prior authorization
     requirements
     °   Practices must devote significant resources in complying with prior authorization
          requirements, which siphons scarce and valuable resources and promotes
          inefficiency
•   Delay or relax administrative program requirements, including the Appropriate Use
    Criteria program, Merit-Based Incentive Payment System, and interoperability and data
    blocking changes  
     °   These administrative requirements may divert critical clinician time and energy from
          providing patient care during the public health emergency
     °   Lasting and significant disruption to practices and institutions of all sizes resulting
          from the COVID-19 emergency will present a significant hardship 

Click Here to read a letter from Dr. Athena Poppas, President of the ACC, regarding the next COVID-19 supplemental package and additional resources needed for clinicians on the front lines. You can also access a one pager with the points above here.

 Stay smart, be well and keep in touch. I wish all of you safe keeping,

~ Craig
Craig A. McPherson, MD, FACC
Governor, CT Chapter of the ACC
Director, Cardiac EP Service
Director, Cardiology Fellowship Program
Bridgeport Hospital
Clinical Professor of Medicine
Yale University School of Medicine
Phone: 203-384-3442
FAX: 203-384-3443

Craig McPherson