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
President/Governor

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

Colleagues:

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, Charles.brown@piedmont.org

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.