GA ACC Statement on Diversity, Equality and Inclusion

The Georgia Chapter of the American College of Cardiology (GA ACC) is an unwavering supporter of diversity, inclusion and equity for our members, our cardiovascular teams and most notably, our patients. Georgia is the proud home of equal rights founders and leaders such as the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr, Ambassador Andrew Young and US Representative John Lewis. Our state has prevailed over social injustice, achieving progress at times when other locales were unsuccessful in finding solutions for racial and social inequality. History proves that non-violent, peaceful means can and will move us closer to a more open, mutually respectful and equal society. A strong and adamant stand must be taken by those with the duty of leadership to rectify the current conditions for those who are oppressed.

The GA ACC is committed to diversity, equity and inclusion for all our members regardless of skin color, race, ethnicity, gender, education, faith, or sexual preference. We provide the best care for our community of diverse patients when we achieve diversity among our teams, members and leaders. We will not tolerate any injustice, hate, violence or disregard for the rights of the patients and communities we serve. We acknowledge that our Black community has suffered in society and has been disproportionately affected by the health inequities of cardiovascular disease and more recently, COVID-19. Additionally, our Black patients have suffered violent and unconscionable treatment at the hands of some law enforcement officers, and others, evident by the most recent and heinous homicides of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor. We lament all other victims who have gone unreported, unpublicized, or undiscovered. We are dedicated to fighting injustices that effect any of our patients! We empathize and are deeply saddened by these recent, senseless and heartbreaking deaths. As physicians, and other healthcare team members of the GA ACC, we have vowed to “Do No Harm” and we will continue to speak up stridently and confidently to protect the victims of racism and inequality so that the next person who utters “I can’t breathe” will be heard and protected.

J. Jeffrey Marshall, MD, FACC

Gina Lundberg, MD, FACC
Chair, Committee of Diversity and Inclusion

Grassroots Action Alert

Urge Congress to Support Clinicians on the Front Lines of the COVID-19 Crisis

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.

GA ACC: COVID Update and Tools


I know that inboxes are swollen with COVID-19 communications but the ACC is actively trying to keep us informed via the ACC Website and in addition, the list-serve for the ACC Governor’s has included a myriad of information.

Attached, are two documents: 1) A Cardiology Grand Rounds presentation from the Massachusetts General Hospital); 2) The treatment protocol for MGH.

These might be helpful to all of us.

Be safe and protect yourselves, your families and your patients by practicing social distancing.

Warm regards,

J. Jeffrey Marshall, MD, FACC, MSCAI
Governor, Georgia Chapter of the ACC

Call for Nominations for 2020 Lifetime Achievement Award

Nominations are now open for the 2020 Lifetime Achievement Award to be presented at our annual meeting at the Ritz Carlton Lodge at Lake Oconee, November 20-22, 2020.

This award honors an adult or pediatric cardiologist or cardiovascular surgeon that has made significant contributions to medicine through patient care, medical education, research or community service as a member of the Georgia Chapter of the American College of Cardiology, and whose lifetime of service deserves special recognition.

If you would like to nominate someone, please send your nomination directly to Charlie Brown, MD, FACC, Chair, Awards Committee,

Please explain the basis for your nomination and why you think the person is worthy of this coveted award. Our committee will then prioritize the nominees and present them to the Chapter’s Council for selection. The deadline for receipt of nominations for the award is April 4.

Don’t forget to save the date for our annual meeting.

Georgia Chapter Goes to Washington

Eleven representatives from our chapter joined over 500 cardiovascular professionals at the ACC Legislative Conference held recently in Washington, DC. Participants included Dr. Arthur Reitman, Chapter Treasurer, Dr. Pascha Schafer, Advocacy Chair, Dr. Gina Lundberg, Dr. Matt Crim, Dr. Sonali Kumar, Dr. Jerre Lutz, Dr. Prad Tummula, Dr. Ripa Patel (FIT), Patricia Keegan, NP and Hank Holderfield, Executive Director. Also joining our delegation was Dr. Biljana Parapid from Serbia.

This essential event informed lawmakers about the difference cardiovascular professionals make in the lives of our patients and allows participants to share our vision for continuing the advancement of cardiovascular care.

These important messages were conveyed to Congress:

  • Exercise careful oversight of issues that contribute to administrative burden and detract from patient care, including utilization management tools such as prior authorization.
  • Promote the transition from volume to value by eliminating barriers to participating in alternative payment models and implementing innovative care coordination practices.
  • Increase patient access to cardiac rehabilitation services by building upon past legislation, specifically the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, which included provisions to allow physician assistants, nurse practitioners and clinical nurse specialists to supervise cardiac, intensive cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation programs, beginning in 2024.
  • Transform cardiovascular care and improve heart health through targeted research programs and legislation to combat the youth tobacco epidemic.

Thanks to these men and women for making a difference for our specialty.


Lifetime Achievement Award – Robert Vincent MD; CM, FACC, MSCAI

Robert Vincent is a pediatric cardiologist and Professor of Pediatrics at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Emory University School of Medicine.  He completed his undergraduate and medical school education at McGill University, Montreal Canada, pediatric residency at Montreal Children’s Hospital and cardiology fellowship at Boston Children’s Hospital. Following fellowship he returned to Canada for 3 years before coming to Atlanta in 1987.  In 1988 he was appointed as the first medical director of pediatric cardiac transplantation, a post he held for 20 years.  His primary interests have always been cardiac catheterization and congenital heart disease.  He has been the director of interventional catheterization and the cardiac catheterization laboratories at Children’s and was the first physician in Atlanta to use catheter devices and stents for congenital heart defects.  He has been a member of ACC since 1988 and SCAI since 1994.  He was elected to the GA ACC council in 2000 and served as the President of the Georgia Chapter and member of the ACC’s Board of Governors from 2010-2013.  Bob is an advocate for cardiology in general and pediatrics in particular and has been a member of the ACC Adult Congenital and Pediatric Cardiology (ACPC) Council.  He is a strong supporter of data driven decision making and quality improvement initiatives and is currently chair of the NCDR IMPACT Steering Committee, having been with this registry since its inception.

With SCAI he has enjoyed participation as chair of the Congenital Heart Disease Council, co-chair of the annual meeting (2005 and 2009), and member of various committees and SCAI’s Board of Trustees.  In 2018 he was honored to receive the Master designation of SCAI (MSCAI).

Bob and his wife Ruthe have been married 42 years.  They have 2 daughters, Alana and Anese, 2 sons in law, Mark and Riyaad, 1 granddaughter, Hallie and four dogs.  They have lived in Stone Mountain since coming to Atlanta and feel fortunate to call Atlanta their home.

WellStar Cardiac Cerebrovascular Clinical Symposium

October 5, 2019
JW Marriott
Atlanta, GA 30326


$35 for all attendees
Download Brochure

Program Committee

Rishi Gupta, MD
Amar Patel, MD, FACC
Arthur Reitman, MD, FACC
Kevin Wall, RN, BSN

For More Information:

Melissa Connor


Mailing Address:

4850 Golden Parkway
Suite B-417
Buford, GA 30518

Urge Your Member of Congress to Cosponsor H.R. 3107



Congress has heard our demands for reforming the prior authorization process and will be voting on HR 3107 (details of bill below).

PLEASE Use the link below to write, email, and call your congressperson.

Using the link below, we emailed our representatives in less five minutes and included a personalized story. You can too!


Jason Reingold, MD, FACC
Pascha Schafer, MD, FACC
GA Advocacy and Regular Committee Chairs

Significant, bipartisan federal legislation was recently introduced that would provide necessary reforms to the prior authorization process. We urge you to ask your member of Congress to support the Improving Seniors’ Timely Access to Care Act of 2019 (H.R. 3107). The legislation would make several changes to items and services in Medicare Advantage plans. Specifically, the bill would: 

  • Create a “real-time” electronic prior authorization process, developed by the Secretary of HHS, for items and services that are routinely approved;
  • Improve transparency by requiring plans to report to CMS on the extent of their use of prior authorization and the rate of approvals or denials;
  • Require plans to adopt transparent prior authorization programs that are reviewed annually, adhere to evidence-based medical guidelines, and include continuity of care for individuals transitioning between coverage to minimize any disruption in care; 
  • Hold plans accountable for making timely prior authorization determinations and to provide rationales for denials;
  • Prohibit additional prior authorization for medically-necessary services performed during a surgical or invasive procedure that already received, or did not initially require prior authorization. 

The ACC has been a driving force behind the introduction of this legislation, working with the authors to ensure that this will make a series of positive reforms to improve patient care. It is our hope that this important step forward will bring about much needed changes to the prior authorization process.

Urge Your Member of Congress to Cosponsor H.R. 3107

Join the ACCPAC State Giving Challenge!

Finish Strong for ACCPAC Challenge

In the last week we didn’t make much of a dent in the ACCPAC Challenge! We’ve fallen behind in the race. Only 3 members have donated to the ACCPAC. We can do better than this. Make your donation today! It’s important!

Jeff Marshall, MD, FACC
Council Governor


Dear Colleagues,

The ACCPAC State Giving Challenge starts today and will conclude on Sunday, May 26 at 11:59 pm EDT. I personally invite you to join this exciting event. ACCPAC is the non-partisan political voice of the College, formed by members, for members. Recognition will be awarded to each state for its fundraising efforts during the challenge in the following categories:

  • most dollars raised
  • most contributors
  • highest average dollars contributed
  • highest participation rate
  • best all-around

These states will go down in ACCPAC history and receive special recognition at the ACC’s Legislative Conference and in ACCPAC publications throughout the year. All ACC members, including those who have already given this year, are encouraged to contribute May 3 – May 26.

Contributing is EASY:

    1. Go to the ACCPAC website:
    2. Sign in with your credentials
    3. Click on the Contribute button
    4. Donate
    5. Encourage colleagues in Georgia to follow your advocacy lead!

Whether this is your first time giving to ACCPAC or you have already contributed this year, please give now in support of this challenge. Your contribution will help Georgia come out on top and AMPLIFY the voice of ACC.


Pascha E. Schafer, MD, FACC
Advocacy Chair
Georgia Chapter of the American College of Cardiology


Join ACC’s Member Hub Today

Sign Up for ACC’s MEMBER HUB Today

ACC has launched a new initiative designed to be the focus of communication within the specialty. It’s called Member Hut. We urge you to sign up today so you will not miss important developments on the national level as well as in our state.

What are the benefits of ACC’s Member Hub?

  • It’s going to be our one-stop shopping for all things ACC.
  • Members will have a place to connect with their colleagues, whether it be through mentoring, getting advice on the discussion boards, or posting pictures from that awesome poster session. And that’s just a few of the possibilities!
  • There will be private groups; for Chapters, for Sections, for Task Forces, for Committees, and other member groups.
  • Great place for our Council and committees to gather virtually, store and share documents, trade ideas.

We encourage you to join today; you can do that by going to and using your username and password to sign in. In the next few weeks, we’ll be adding sub groups for our Council and committees.