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    CMS Grants Physician Specialty Designation for Interventional Cardiology

    May 29, 2014

    SCAI has received official confirmation that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has granted SCAI’s request for a new physician specialty designation for Interventional Cardiology. This recognition of our field as a distinct physician specialty is a major achievement because it will enhance our ability to represent our profession and our patients.

    SCAI filed for a dedicated physician specialty code in 2013, upon confirming with government officials and other analysts that Interventional Cardiology has evolved to a point where many of the patients we treat and the treatments that we can offer are significantly different from those of general cardiology and other cardiovascular subspecialties. Having our own designation will help us to ensure that our concerns and priorities will receive sufficient consideration and will not be lumped in with those of others.  This is especially important in today’s healthcare environment, when CMS and other payers are profiling providers based on the costs of the services they deliver to beneficiaries. SCAI expects that payers will soon be calculating the costs of procedures performed by interventional cardiologists and comparing those costs to those for treatments provided by noninvasive cardiologists, potentially leading to unfair, “apples-to-oranges” comparisons of practice patterns and erroneous reporting of our members as outliers.

    During our ongoing analysis of the healthcare landscape, we confirmed that being recognized as a separate and distinct specialty has been an important milestone for many fields; for example, the Heart Rhythm Society recently earned a physician specialty designation for electrophysiologists, and its leaders have shared positive feedback with us. Perhaps the most important impact of the designation is that it increases the specialty’s prominence and enhances its credibility.

    Next Steps for You & Your Billing Staff

    What happens now? Once CMS officially announces this change, Medicare’s Administrative Contractors (MACs) will have 90 days to adapt their systems to accept the new interventional cardiology designation code. For you to be recognized by CMS as an interventional cardiologist, you will need to re-submit your participating provider form to your MAC. As soon as these forms are available, SCAI will post complete information on www.SCAI.org.

    Please do not be intimidated by the length of the form. In most cases, you should already have a copy of this form on file and will simply need to change the specialty section. Please contact Wayne Powell, SCAI’s senior director for Advocacy & Government Relations, at wpowell@scai.org or 202.741.9869 if you need assistance or clarification.

    Stay Tuned for Further Updates

    Finally, we invite you to check the SCAI website and read SCAI This Week for regular updates on achievements like this one and the activities of SCAI-PAC. We look forward to hearing from you. Please email us at president@SCAI.org or pld@nc.rr.com.

    Best regards,

     Ted A. Bass, MD, FSCAI 2013-14 SCAI President

     Peter L. Duffy, MD, MMM, FSCAI SCAI Advocacy Committee Chair