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.


Georgia Chapter Offers River Cruise in 2020



One of the intangible benefits of belonging to the Georgia Chapter is the opportunity to connect with old friends and classmates. This is particularly true of our annual meeting which has gained national recognition for the quality of its educational offerings, large attendance and financial success. Now I am pleased to announce one more extraordinary opportunity to join your friends and associates on a truly remarkable cruise on the beautiful Danube, preceded by a day in Budapest, appropriately named the “Paris of the East”. Scenic Cruiseline is luxury with a capital “L”. Everything is included in the pricing, including balcony suites with a sun lounge, butler service, five dining options, all food and beverages, gratuities, laundry services, daily tours, local guides and entertainment and much more. One price per person covers it all. Our Executive Director Hank Holderfield has worked with Custom Travel-Cruise for many years with other groups and gives them an A+ rating in quality, customer service and attention to detail.

And, we will offer CME***, some in Budapest and other presentations throughout the cruise. Don’t worry, these courses will be covered early so there will be plenty of time for the daily onshore experiences that are all included in the cost.

Following are the details. If you have questions, please contact Linda Kinsey with Custom Travel-Cruise at 770.949.1133 or by email:

This is going to be a trip of a lifetime. Please join us!

J. Jeffrey Marshall, MD, FACC

*** This program is designed to comply with current IRS convention rules and deductibility requirements under Code Section 274 (h)(1) as directly related to cardiology. It meets the reasonable standard of the foreign seminar rules. The formal meetings are scheduled with lectures and discussions. At the completion of the program, documentation verifying the schedule dates, locations, hours of attendance, certification of participation and appropriate certificate of continuing education will be provided.

Tax deductible benefits are not guaranteed and we recommend that every attendee should consult with their tax consultant about their individual situation to determine the appropriate amount and reporting of deductible expenses.

Beautiful Budapest & Scenic Cruiseline’s
8 Day Gems of the Danube
July 20 – 30, 2020

Your magical adventure begins in Budapest, one of the most beautiful cities in Europe considered by many to be the “Paris of the East,” with its stunning architecture, thermal baths and many wonders to visit. You will leave the USA on Monday, July 20 and arrive Tuesday morning July 21. The next two nights will be spent at the Budapest Marriott Hotel.

Then get ready to experience a magical cruise on the beautiful Danube River. Experience Europe’s rich, romantic and dramatic history as you cruise past lush vineyards, amazing monasteries and magnificent scenic splendor cruising along the romantic Danube.

From visiting one of the world’s oldest monastic breweries to following in the footsteps of “The Sound of Music,” to experiencing an enchanted private evening classical concert in Vienna, you will bring home endless memories. Your adventure includes castles, stunning architecture, and natural wonders. You will have the opportunity to sample more than a dozen styles of beer, visit a Schnapps producer and sample some of the many flavors on offer. You will also visit moving WWII sites, tour the medieval Old Town of Regensburg and the Bavarian Forest. Journey outside of Vienna’s city center to its acclaimed wine region or tour Schonbrunn Palace and witness the opulence of the Habsburg Empire.

This itinerary is ideal for first-time river cruisers as well as seasoned travelers seeking to experience yet another dimension of these much-loved destinations.

Your cruise will include the following destinations:

Durnstein & Melk
Salzburg or Cesky Krumlov

Click below to see additional information:

Scenic Gems of the Danube itinerary

Scenic Amber deck plan

Scenic Amber Pricing

Registration form

Travel Insurance information

 Custom Travel & Cruise

Scenic offers a truly all-inclusive luxury package. No hidden extras, just exceptional experiences.

On board:

      • 5-star Scenic Space-Ships
      • Balcony suites including a Scenic Sun Lounge
      • Butler service for all guests
      • Up to five dining options – from casual to fine dining
      • Complimentary beverages all day, every day
      • Complimentary mini-bar, fully restocked daily
      • Wellness and fitness area featuring an innovative Salt Therapy Lounge
      • Exclusive Scenic Tailormade GPS for self-guided touring and onboard commentary
      • Authentic local entertainment
      • Laundry concierge service
      • Cruise Directors to guide and assist
      • Expert local guides
      • Complimentary Wi-Fi


      • Scenic Enrich – unforgettable and exclusive once-in-a-lifetime experiences
      • Scenic Freechoice – a choice of wonderful activities throughout your journey
      • Scenic Sundowners – exclusive hosted drinks in some of Europe’s most beautiful locations

    And of course included are ALL tipping and gratuities



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.



Call for Nominations for 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award

Calling now for nominations for the 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award to be presented at our annual meeting at the Ritz Carlton Lodge at Lake Oconee, November 22-24, 2019.

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, 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 5.

Buy the Jeopardy Book

FITJeopardy – Battle of the State Chapters” is one of the most popular events at the American College of Cardiology’s Annual Meeting. International and State teams composed of Cardiology Fellows-in-training participate to win this coveted contest. Is a phenomenal learning experiences for both the participants and the audience.

This book is intended to help participants practice and win this competition. We have compiled the top 400 jeopardy-style questions for review.

This book can also be helpful for last minute review before the cardiology board exam!

All proceeds from the sale of this book support FIT’s participation in ACC events. Order your copy today!

Soft cover: $24.99 E-book: $14.99 Free Shipping

Buy Now


#GAACC2018: Bigger and Better and “Tech-ier”

This year’s GA ACC Scientific Meeting was the largest to date with over 180 member cardiologists and cardiovascular team members in attendance.

Our Program was rigorous with over 90 speakers, moderators, and panelists and included Cardiogenic Shock; Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease; Cardiology in GA; Stroke and Neuro Cardiology; Women in Cardiology; Imaging/Worried, Well-Patient; and our case presentations of Faux Pas to Fortune.

We also held our FIT’s Poster Presentations and Cardiology Jeopardy. We heard from ACC President Mike Valentine and the ACC’s strategic goals for 2019.

“Cardiology in GA” Session

Cardiology Jeopardy


Our new GA ACC conference mobile app was launched and attendees had all the details and contacts at the meeting right in the palm of their hands. Several members took to the app right away adding photos and comments on the activity stream. Our members could ask questions to speakers and our presenters could poll the audience.


We celebrated the Lifetime Achievements of Dr. John Cantwell and his extensive dedication to cardiology, the wellness of athletes, travels around the world and his incredible family. Congratulations, John.

Fun was also on the agenda with opening dinner in the Ritz’s new pavilion, Saturday activities on the lawn (thankful for fabulous weather), Santa by the fireplace and a children’s movie night.

We were all astonished by our Saturday night mentalist, Oz Pearlman! How did he do that? How did he know that?



We are grateful for our conference sponsors and
cannot hold this meeting without you!



Our exhibitor partners are also vital to the GA ACC.
Thank you Exhibitors!


  • Abbott Vascular
  • Abiomed
  • Akcea
  • Acist Medical
  • Actelion Pharmaceuticals
  • Aegerion Pharmaceuticals
  • Allergan
  • Ambry Genetics
  • Amgen Cardiovascular
  • Alnylam
  • Astellas Pharmaceuticals
  • Astrazeneca
  • Biotronik
  • Boehringer lngelheim
  • Boston Scientific
  • Bristol-Myers Squibb
  • Cardionet
  • CHF Solutions
  • Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta
  • Cryolife
  • iRythmn
  • Edwards Lifesciences
  • Emory Healthcare
  • Gilead
  • Grady
  • Janssen
  • Lantheus Medical
  • Livanova
  • Medtronic
  • Northeast Georgia Heart Center
  • Northside
  • Novartis
  • Osprey Medical
  • Penumbra
  • Pfizer
  • Philips
  • Piedmont Heart Institute
  • Portola
  • Regeneron
  • Sanofi
  • Siemens
  • WellStar
  • Zoll
  • Zywie



Cardiovascular Team Update 2019
May 31, 2019
Piedmont Athens Regional
Athens, GA


GA ACC Scientific Meeting
November 22-24, 2019
Ritz Carlton Lake Oconee
Greensboro, GA