• New Tool on Compensation for STEMI Call

    A new tool, just added to SCAI’s Advocacy Action Center, provides guidance on payment for on-call coverage of angioplasty facilities. Developed by Advocacy Committee members, in collaboration with SCAI President J. Jeffrey Marshall, MD, FSCAI, this newly published article will support SCAI members communications with hospital administrators and others who make compensation decisions. In the article, Advocacy Committee Co-chair Peter L. Duffy, MD, MMM, FSCAI, Srihari Naidu, MD, FSCAI, and K.C. Kurian, MD, FSCAI, discuss why SCAI supports supplemental reimbursement for interventional cardiologists who participate in emergent call for STEMI patients.

    “This is about the value of the service that interventionalists provide, especially considering our profession’s commitment to optimal door-to-balloon times, which have been conclusively shown to save lives,” said Dr. Duffy. “The article outlines many new pressures now on interventional cardiologists, and also addresses questions hospital administrators may ask when considering proposals to remunerate interventional cardiologists for the demanding, stressful, and time-sensitive procedures that we perform on STEMI call.


    SCAI Mobilizes Members on Medicare Fee Cuts

    Deeply concerned about indiscriminate action that could affect patient care for those with cardiovascular disease, SCAI has acted swiftly in response to CMS’s decision to reduce Medicare reimbursement for PCI by approximately 20 percent. The Society’s first move was to submit prompt, harsh comments to CMS contesting the reduction in the value for PCI. SCAI surveyed members to get feedback on how these cuts affect them and their patients and the steps that SCAI should take. Next, leading SCAI physician experts and staff met face-to-face with CMS officials to discuss the potential unintended ramifications of CMS’ actions.

    SCAI advised CMS - “This unpredictability in reimbursement levels is leading to the inability of our members’ practices to make effective decisions involving staffing, equipment purchasing/upgrading and investments in training. We are seeing a mass exodus of interventional cardiologist being forced out of private practice; shifting from independent private practices structures to hospital employment. There is much concern and angst about the unintended consequences this shifting is having and may have in the future in regards to quality and access to the life-saving procedures that interventional cardiologists provide to their patients.”

    SCAI’s Advocacy Committee also held a series of tactical meetings to develop strategies and recommendations for concrete actions that SCAI members can take in response to CMS’s reduction in valuation for PCI.

    A key take-away from these efforts is that members must speak out, amplifying the Society’s message to every audience that values (or should value) access to high-quality cardiovascular care. This includes agencies such as CMS, elected officials, media, and of course, patients and their families. When SCAI surveyed members about the impact of continued fee cuts on their ability to take care of patients, the feedback was striking, as summarized in this recent President’s Page by Drs. James C. Blankenship and J. Jeffrey Marshall.

    SCAI is committed to giving you the tools needed to help you communicate about the impact of these fee cuts, and other advocacy issues,  with your patients, your local newspapers, your elected officials and the bureaucrats who are the driving force behind reductions in your fees. Here, in the SCAI Advocacy Action Center, we offer downloadable templates of letters you can personalize and send to all of these audiences. In every case, we provide information and guidance to help you deliver your letters to the right people. Please use these tools and give us suggestions on how they are working for you as well as how we can improve.

    NEW! To help you obtain optimal compensation for the services you provide, we have also developed guidance on how to obtain payment for on-call coverage of angioplasty facilities – something that many, but not all, members currently receive. SCAI’s advocacy team, including SCAI President Jeffrey Marshall, MD, FSCAI, drafted communications for you to share with hospital administrators and others who make compensation decisions in your hospital or practice as well as your representatives in Congress. DOWNLOAD IT NOW!

    While the SGR cuts loom again for next year, SCAI continues to work with legislators, looking for solutions to this problem.

    What else can you do? There is no more important question because, like it or not, Washington’s control over your practice is growing, and we must work together to leverage every opportunity to persuade government and those who influence it of the value of Interventional Cardiology. Please consider contributing to SCAI-PAC, the only PAC completely focused on the needs of invasive/interventional cardiologists.

    SCAI Advocacy Action Center

    The tools provided here in the SCAI Advocacy Action Center will be most effective if you personalize them a bit. Let your audience know about you, your patients, and how the continued cuts are making it difficult for you to provide top quality care, while staying true to the general message that your Society is also communicating on your behalf. Working together we can make certain the voice of Interventional Cardiology is heard loudly and clearly.

    1. Send a letter to CMS

    2. Send letters to your elected officials

    3. Submit a letter to your local media

    Two “Letter to the Editor” templates are available for your consideration.

    Download the template(s):