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President's Message

Andrew R. Waxler, MD, FACC

As March turns into April, sadly Pennsylvania’s number of confirmed positive COVID-19 patients has passed 5000, our state death rate is approaching 100, and our great state is now a federal disaster area. We are all in a situation that none of us have never experienced - a devastating health crisis with thousands of people across the world dying, creating tremendous anxiety and economic chaos. We worry about the safety of our patients, our colleagues, our families, and ourselves with the limited supply of PPE. Small independent practices fear bankruptcy.

Yet, for all that there are moments of awe when I hear the stories from colleagues, both cardiologists as well as other healthcare workers, across the world. Our brothers and sisters are stepping up into a role that is truly heroic - similar to that of a firefighter, police officer, or a soldier - risking one's health (and perhaps life) to do a job and help others.

Equally impressive has been the performance of our wonderful ACC staff. With only 2 weeks' notice, they stepped up to re-create our enormous annual scientific session - which takes years to plan - and converted it to a fantastic virtual format! Those of you watched it will surely agree that it was top-notch. If you missed it, have no fear - the ACC will keep it available to viewing - and CME - for at least 90 days. Just follow this link: https://accscientificsession.acc.org/

Our top-notch advocacy staff has "gone to bat" for us in a tremendous fashion. Through the Health Affairs Committee (HAC) nationally and through our Chapter and our excellent lobbying firm in Harrisburg, the ACC and PaACC has made a big difference in this crisis. Few may realize that we - the ACC - were instrumental/pivotal in getting the federal government to make necessary changes/actions to help us and our patients. There continue to be pushes for more PPE and ventilators and financial help for small independent practices during this tough economic time as well. 

There has been some confusion about "virtual visits". A couple important points:

  • There are 3 telephone codes (99441, 99442, 99443) depending on time spent on phone -There apparently is a COVID education code Z-71.89
  • Currently telephone visits are not reimbursed equal to Office visits but the HAC is negotiating that with policy makers.

Your ACC and PaACC will continue to fight for the doctors, other health care providers, staff, and most importantly patients in Washington and Harrisburg.

Western PA Governor Katie Berlacher, MD, FACC, has suggested these two options to help with wellness - particularly during this very stressful time:

I recently saw where New York governor Andrew Cuomo quoted FDR saying “Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the assessment that something else is more important than fear.” I want to thank and congratulate all of you for your dedication and hard work in the face of a tough enemy.

Keep up the good work. Stay safe and sane. We will get through this together. (And see links below which may be helpful resources at this time.)

Andy

Andrew R. Waxler, MD, FACC

President, PaACC

Governor, ACC, representing eastern PA



Here some links from both the ACC and CMS:

    Humans of Cardiology logo


    May 2020 - Syed Bukhari, MD

    ‘Doctor’s Touch’: An Outpatient Perspective   

    “Doc! Telemedicine may apparently be the best option in the middle of this COVID mayhem”, said Mr. Z. as he briefly paused, “but the doctor’s touch is priceless.” These were the last words before our first virtual outpatient visit was over, but they left an indelible imprint on my mind. That day I felt supremely blessed to be part of this indisputably exalted profession. To read the rest, please click here.

    Humans of Cardiology is an opportunity for PaACC members to share motivating stories about their personal and professional lives and was inspired by the wildly popular Humans of New York series. Submit your story and view past posts here.  

    COVID-19 INFORMATION FROM ACC

    The ACC has pulled together COVID-19 information and resources and is updating it daily. Click here for the COVID-19 Hub

    INFORMATION FOR PRIVATE PRACTICES

    Click on any of these recorded webinars for up-to-date navigating various issues during this time.

    HeartTalk Podcast: COVID-19 Briefing 04-03-20

    Dr. Jerry Blackwell, President of MedAxiom, and Cathie Biga, CEO and President of Cardiovascular Management of Illinois, share the latest information on the COVID-19 crisis. Listen to Full Podcast.

    CMS also released a Video providing answers to common questions about the Medicare telehealth services benefit. CMS is expanding this benefit on a temporary and emergency basis under the 1135 waiver authority and Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act. 

    CORONAVIRUS AND YOUR HEART: DON'T IGNORE HEART SYMPTOMS

    ACC CardioSmart recently published the infographic below to emphasize the importance of maintaining heart health through the epidemic. Click here for additional information.

    Heart Health during COVID-19 graphic

    2020 Legislative Session

    Click here for an overview of the week as well as a full report of bills the PaACC is following. 

    Practice Made Perfect

    ACC President, C. Michael Valentine, MD, FACC, created an informative podcast series intended to help clinicians sharpen non-clinical competencies. The podcast, Practice Made Perfect, will be a series of expert discussions on career and leadership development

    ACC logo


    Pennsylvania Chapter, American College of Cardiology
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