MARCH 2018 $1.3 Trillion Omnibus Signed Into Law Ending Looming Threat of Government Shutdown

On March 23, President Trump signed a $1.3 trillion spending deal that would fund federal government operations through the end of September and complete the appropriations process for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018. President Trump announced his intent to sign the legislation during an impromptu press conference hours after threatening to veto the bill. Congress reached an agreement on the bill on Wednesday evening, and it passed smoothly through the House on Thursday in a 256-167 vote. Early Friday morning, the Senate approved the bill with a 65-32 vote, after overcoming objections from a number of Senators that had put the timing of the vote in question.

The legislation includes funding increases from FY17 levels in several key ACC focus areas, including a $3 billion increase for the National Institutes of Health, as well as increases for the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will receive $2.9 billion in discretionary funding in the bill, $135 million more than was enacted in 2017. Additionally, Congress recommended a $10 million increase in discretionary funding for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Fortunately, proposed House policy changes that would have exempted “large and premium cigars” from FDA oversight and change the “grandfather date” to exempt e-cigarettes, cigars and other tobacco products from required FDA product review were excluded from the omnibus.

The bill’s steady funding increases for programs most closely aligned with the College’s mission are encouraging. ACC Advocacy staff are already at work on FY19 appropriations, and will continue to submit funding requests over the coming weeks.

Below is a full breakdown of funding levels for ACC appropriations priorities:

Program FY17 Enacted FY18 Omnibus FY19 Request
National Institutes of Health $34 billion $37 billion $38 billion
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute $3.2 billion $3.383 billion $3.5 billion
National Institute of Neurological
Disorders and Stroke
$1.784 billion $2.1 billion $2 billion
CDC Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention $130 million $140 million $160 million
CDC Million Hearts $4 million $4 million $5 million
CDC WISEWOMAN $21.12 million $21.12 million $37 million
CDC Office on Smoking and Health $205 million $210 million $216.5 million
CDC Congenital Heart Disease Research $4 million $4 million $7 million


New VA/SCD Guideline Tools Now Available

Several new guideline-based tools aimed at helping clinicians manage care for patients with ventricular arrhythmias (VA) and the prevention of sudden cardiac death (SCD) are now available on both and The tools, based on the 2017 Guideline for Management of Patients With Ventricular Arrhythmias and the Prevention of Sudden Cardiac Death, include a new VA/SCD Guidelines Made Simple Tool, providing easy access to the most important figures and tables from the guideline, and a VA/SCD Clinician Tool, offering a single comprehensive illustration to help clinicians identify indications for implantable cardioverter-defibrillators to prevent SCD in patients with ischemic heart disease. Additionally, ACC’s comprehensive Guideline Clinical App is now updated with the new VA/SCD Guideline and can be downloaded for free.  All of these tools and more are available on ACC’s VA/SCD guideline hub. A new JACC hub also provides streamlined access to the guideline, central illustration, executive summary and additional JACC-related research. Listen to an Eagle’s Eye View podcast for a quick download of the VA/SCD guideline and tools.

ACC, Medscape Partnership Designed to Reach Health Care Professionals on Hot CV Topics

The ACC and Medscape recently announced a new partnership that includes the creation of original content to support cardiologists, internists and other practicing physicians, and collaboration on Medscape Consult™, Medscape’s global peer-to-peer, point-of-care digital platform. In addition, a new, online co-branded Centers of Excellence, focused on the most pressing challenges in cardiology, will deliver practical, actionable insights to physicians. The first of these centers highlighting cardiovascular risk reduction is now live. A second center focused on atrial fibrillation is coming soon. “The College envisions a world where cardiovascular care and outcomes are optimized through knowledge,” said Kim A. Eagle, MD, MACC, editor-in-chief of “Through this partnership we can educate physicians and care team members across multiple specialties on pressing cardiovascular issues that are impacting their patients and provide them with the tools they need to enhance their patients’ care.”

JACC Leadership Page: Tackling the Quadruple Aim

“A robust, diverse, and healthy workforce is key to achieving the College’s new vision of a world where innovation and knowledge optimize cardiovascular care and outcomes,” writes C. Michael Valentine, MD, FACC, in his first Leadership Page as ACC president. As such, he emphasizes the importance of incorporating professional wellbeing into ongoing discussions about improved outcomes and cost savings. “Like most things, there is a need to grow and adapt over time,” he writes. “Although the focus on better outcomes, improved care, and lower costs is still fundamental, increasing administrative, regulatory, and professional burdens are leading to clinician burnout and running counter to the goals of the triple aim. This has led to a call for a fourth aim addressing professional well-being.” Valentine highlights the many things the College is already doing to address the “Quadruple Aim,” including helping members navigate new federal reporting and payment requirements; finding ways to increase diversity and inclusion in the workforce; exploring innovative ways to relieve administrative and maintenance of certification burdens; and more. Looking ahead, he also notes that addressing the Quadruple Aim is a key element of the College’s strategic priorities and next Strategic Plan. “For the majority of physicians, we practice medicine because of our passion for improving and saving the lives of patients,” he writes. “We can and must take care of ourselves to best take care of those we took an oath to serve.” Read more.

Check Out Complete ACC.18 Coverage on

In case you missed it, the ACC provided coverage of the hottest trials that came out of ACC’s Annual Scientific Session (ACC.18) in Orlando, FL. To view all the latest science, check out the ACC.18 Meeting Coverage Page at Also, head to ACC’s YouTube Page to watch daily wrap-up videos highlighting the hottest trials from each day of ACC.18. Check out archived tweets by searching for the official meeting hashtag #ACC18 or scroll through our live coverage of the meeting via Twitter at @ACCinTouch. Get a deep-dive into the hottest research from ACC.18 with the latest ACC Cardiology Hour video. Valentin Fuster, MD, PhD, MACC; Deepak L. Bhatt, MD, MPH, FACC; Kim A. Eagle, MD, MACC; Jeanne E. Poole, MD, FACC; and Vinod H. Thourani, MD, FACC, share their expert perspectives on the most significant trials released during ACC.18, including ODYSSEY OUTCOMES, VEST, SECURE-PCI, Blood Pressure in Black Barbershops and ANNEXA-4. Watch now on

ACC’s New Slate of Officers and Trustees Installed

The ACC’s Board of Trustees (BOT) recently named its new slate of officers and trustees following ACC.18 in Orlando, FL. Included in the installation of new College leaders, ACC’s new president, C. Michael Valentine, MD, FACC, and vice president, Richard J. Kovacs, MD, FACC. Andrew P. Miller, MD, FACC, will serve as Board of Governors chair and ACC secretary, while Howard “Bo” Walpole, MD, MBA, FACC, assumes the role of treasurer. Daniel José Piñeiro, MD, FACC and Edward T.A. Fry, MD, FACC were also appointed to three year terms on the BOT, and Akshay Khandelwal, MD, FACC was appointed to a two year term. Other changes of note, Hadley Wilson, MD, FACC, was appointed to chair the College’s Membership Committee. Additionally, 20 individuals were approved to take leadership positions on ACC committees across the College. These installments come as part of the ACC’s governance transformation, which culminates this year, and included a gradual reduction of the College’s BOT from its original 31 members in 2015, to 13 in 2018. Congratulations to ACC’s new leaders! Learn more about the importance of leadership at the ACC in this video and read ACC BOT biographies here.

New Shared Decision Making requirements for ICD reimbursement

Watch ACC/HRS Leaders Discuss New CMS ICD Policy and Shared Decision-Making Requirement. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently released a final policy decision updating the national coverage determination (NCD) governing implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) implantation for Medicare fee-for-service patients.

The policy includes a requirement for a shared decision making encounter for four of the six covered indications for ICD implantation. Learn more about the policy and new requirement, including a case study of a shared decision-making tool used at the VA Eastern Colorado Health Care System, in a joint ACC and Heart Rhythm Society (HRS) webinar.

View the webinar here:

Call for Nominations for the Lifetime Achievement Award

Nominations are now open for the 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award to be presented at our annual meeting at the Ritz Carlton Lodge at Lake Oconee, November 16-18, 2018.

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 Donald Page, MD, FACC, Chair, Awards Committee,, or by fax to 770.271.0634.

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.

2017 Annual Meeting Highlights

The Ritz Carlton at Lake Oconee was filled to capacity for our Chapter’s Annual Meeting, held November 19-21. Over 500 attendees, including 150 cardiologists and 48 exhibitors and sponsors, packed into the beautiful resort on yet another spectacular weekend.

Our program focused on four topics: Coronary Heart Disease, Heart Failure, Valvular Heart Disease and the Athlete’s Heart. Our program was structured with an opening Keynote presentation and then a moderated panel discussion that included audience participation. Evaluations scored very high from our members for this panel format.

After a strong program on Friday we held our Fellows Poster presentations, reception and dinner.

Dr. Shae Anderson, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, 1st place

Thanks to our sponsors for the poster presentations.







ACC President Mary “Minnow” Walsh kicked off the Saturday Program with an update from the national office. Our Program Directors’ panel discussion shared a local view of cardiology. The session on valvular heart disease and the Athlete’s Heart wrapped up Saturday’s program and then an afternoon on the lawn was enjoyed by members and their families.








Saturday night we presented the Lifetime Achievement Award to Dr. Jere Lutz. Congratulations Dr. Lutz! We also had a great speaker, Rorke Denver. He shared his leadership experience as a Navy Seal serving in the middle east. HOOYAH!

To close out the evening we shared dessert and cocktails. Thanks to Boston Scientific and Medtronic for supporting our Saturday evening.

We appreciate our corporate colleagues who supported our meeting:

Abbott Vascular
Acist Medical
Actelion Pharmaceuticals
Aegerion Pharmaceuticals
Ambry Genetics
Amgen Cardiovascular
Astellas Pharmaceuticals
Astra Zeneca Pharmaceuticals
AtriCure, Inc.
Boehringer Ingelheim
Boston Scientific
Bristol Myers Squibb
Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta/
Sibley Heart Center
Cleveland Heartlab
Edwards Lifesciences
Emory Healthcare
Grady Hospital
Janssen Pharmaceuticals
MAG Mutual
Medicus IT
NE Georgia Heart Center
Northside Hospital
Novartis Pharmaceuticals
Osprey Medical
Pfizer Pharmaceutical
Philips Healthcare
Piedmont Heart Institute
Piedmont Healthcare
Siemens Medical Solutions USA, Inc.
St. Jude’s
Vascular Solutions
Wellstar Cardiac Network
Zoll Cardiac Management

For more great photos from our meeting, click here.

TAVR Decision Aid Tools Now Available

The ACC’s CardioSmart Decision Aids hub recently expanded to include two new TAVR Decision Aid Tools that help patients understand what aortic stenosis (AS) is and what treatments are available. The first tool guides patients with intermediate or high surgical risk through the treatment options available for severe AS and helps them choose between TAVR and surgery. The second tool is dedicated to patients with prohibitive surgical risk/inoperable to help them evaluate the proper treatment and choose between TAVR and symptoms management. Visit to find out more and download these tools for free.