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It's Throwback Thursday at the ASE Foundation headquarters!

The photos below show attendees at the 5th Annual Research Awards Gala during the 2014 Scientific Sessions in Portland, OR.
Haven't purchased your tickets to the 6th Annual Research Awards Gala? Over half of tickets have been sold - click here to purchase your tickets or learn more about the Foundation's premier fundraising event of the year!

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General Terms : ASE Foundation  General Topics : Research Awards, Echocardiography, Research

I’m writing this blog from the harbor city of Fukuoka, Japan. One of the most populous cities in this beautiful country, Fukuoka is located in the southern part of Japan, positioned across from mainland Asia and closer to Seoul than Tokyo. This is the 3rd largest city in Japan and I was struck by the effectiveness of all the elevated pedestrian walkways in the city, eliminating the need to compete with traffic or brave the elements.  Overall, I have found Japan to be a very pleasant blend of old tradition (even the toll booth attendant bowed before taking the toll!) and new technology. 

   
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1.  WHEN AND HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED WITH CARDIOVASCULAR ULTRASOUND?

I became involved with ultrasound in the late sixties when I was working at University of California Medical Center.  I was working in the radiation therapy department with Dr. George Leopold.  A large Siemens real time water path system was installed in our office as it was the only spot available to house such equipment.  The imaging fascinated me and the challenge of trying to figure out what we were imaging was engaging.  I worked at a time when Polaroid was an essential part of the ultrasound exam.

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Your ASE Advocacy team was in action yesterday on Capitol Hill campaigning against site neutrality. We spread ASE’s message that site neutrality represents poor policy, and should not be considered on its own or as a means of paying for health care reform.

Our team was ably organized by ASE Vice President of Health Policy Irene Butler and lobbyist Peggy Tighe, JD, of DC law firm Power Pyle Sutter & Verville. Our group of volunteers traveled from as far away as Oregon, Texas and Florida, and comprised Dr. Ben Byrd (immediate past president of ASE), Hollie Carron, Dr. Scott Chadderdon, Scott Choyce, Dr. Rick Grimm, Dr. Smadar Kort, Dr. Susan Mayer, Sue Phillip, and me. We were joined for part of the day by ASE counsel Diane Millman, JD, of Power Pyle. In small groups, we visited the offices of 22 Senators and members of Congress who sit on key committees, and met with their key health care staffers.

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Pediatric Cardiac Technician (CH - Cardiology) PER DIEM ONLY

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Pediatric Cardiac Technician (CH - Cardiology) PER DIEM ONLY

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The new Congress has started work, and with it come some very familiar and concerning proposals targeting echocardiography.  At the risk of sounding alarmist, I do want to get these issues on your radar so you can be aware of and react to them.

President Obama’s budget proposal this year calls for eliminating the In-Office Ancillary Services Exception (IOASE). The language would prohibit referrals for radiation therapy, therapy services, advanced imaging, and anatomic pathology services except in cases where a practice is clinically integrated and required to demonstrate cost containment. Last year’s attempt to fix the Sustained Growth Rate also dealt with the IOASE, albeit in a much less radical way, by mandating consultations with vetted and scientifically accepted Appropriate Use Criteria for the aforementioned modalities. The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) has also run a piece last month promoting the end of the IOASE.

The elimination of the IOASE is not expected to impact echo currently, but the belief is that if adopted, the policy will quickly expand to include echo. As Chair of the Advocacy Committee, I submitted a letter to the editor of JAMA outlining the significant shortsightedness of this proposal, its inconsistency with patient-centered care and its potential to disrupt patient-physician relationships. ASE continues to work with a coalition to ensure that a united voice is heard in opposition to this policy change.

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1. WHEN AND HOW DID YOU BECOME INVOLVED IN CARDIOVASCULAR SONOGRAPHY?

After graduating with a BS in Rehabilitation Studies from ECU in 2001, I didn’t feel the pull to work with my degree. So I did what a lot of recent college graduates do: I tended bar.   When the push came to do something more concrete, I tried my hand at marketing and then sales.  However, I still wasn’t sure of which path my life would take me. I was interested in the health field, but there were so many different fields; which way should I go?  I wanted a career that was both challenging and satisfying, something to keep me on my toes, where I was constantly learning.

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ASE is everywhere and today, it is in Vienna

It all started yesterday as ASE members from  around the world flew in (despite a strike by Lufthansa pilots) into Vienna, Austria for the annual EuroEcho meeting held by our European colleagues at EACVI. In true ASE spirit, we hosted a member reception to thank our members and to give them a chance to get together with friends and colleagues in a beautiful setting at the Cafe Griensteidl in the heart of the city (see picture to right). The city was all 'dressed up' with Christmas lights and bustling with activity with the holiday shopping.

After a few Viennese appetizers and Austrian wine, we took the opportunity of being in Vienna to give Professor Maurer (who lives in Vienna) his honorary FASE award. The designation of Honorary Fellow of the American Society of Echocardiography is given to individuals outside the US who have made significant contributions to the field of cardiovascular ultrasound and have played a strong role in building relationships with ASE. After making a few jokes about having to come to him rather than all other honorary FASE's who get their award at our annual meeting, Drs Thomas and Pearlman made a few comments about Professor Gerald Maurer's accomplishments (see picture below).  We then ended by continuing the 'selfie' tradition- Professor Maurer took his first selfie!
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  1. When and how did you get involved with cardiovascular ultrasound?  Humble beginnings…I have been performing cardiovascular ultrasounds since 1996. My involvement in cardiovascular ultrasound almost never happened.  I have been on an amazing journey every since.  Looking back, if someone would have told me I would be where I am now I would not have believed it.  I have more passion for cardiovascular ultrasound than ever before.  And truly, it all began by asking a question. 
  2. In my early years, I was hired as a radiology ICD-9 coder.  I used to read radiologist dictations in a community hospital in Seattle Washington.  My job was to read a radiologist’s dictation and apply the appropriate diagnosis codes.  Occasionally a complex looking report would come across called an “echocardiogram”. 

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I am writing to you from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia at the 10th Annual WINFOCUS World Congress on Ultrasound in Emergency and Critical Care. 

WINFOCUS (World Interactive Network Focused On Critical Ultrasound) is an international society dedicated to improving the health of everyone through access to ultrasound when and where it is needed.  As such, they address all point-of-care ultrasound needs (not just for heart and vascular, but abdominal, Ob/Gyn, lung ultrasound and musculo-skeletal) with an emphasis on training new users. Some examples of the lectures were:

  1. Integration of ultrasound in medical school education so you see the valves closing simultaneously with hearing the heart sounds or see the aortic regurgitation along with hearing the diastolic murmur (visual linked with auditory)
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I am in search of some information about getting some education/training for pediatric echo. I work in an adult lab for a facility that has opened a NICU. There are about 5-6 of us that need to get some education in pediatric echo. Is anyone aware of a program that is in an online format?

Thank you for your time.

Delia Seaman, RDCS
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Hi ASE Members,

Dr. Weissman has allowed me to take over his blog for this post! Greetings from the ASE International Committee.  I’m just back from Beijing, where Becky Hahn and I represented the ASE at the 25th Annual Great Wall International Congress of Cardiology.  This is the largest cardiology meeting in China with over 10,000 attendees, and 2014 marks the eighth year that ASE has been participating in joint sessions. Over the years, we have been well served by the many Chinese-American members of ASE, who have helped us understand the complex echocardiography landscape in China.  For example, most echocardiography in China is not done by cardiologists but rather by specialists in general ultrasound imaging.

After a 14-hour flight from the States, I arrived in Beijing, none the worse for wear.  It was even a rare “blue-sky day”, with pollution levels well below corrosive.  After a quick shower, the first order of business was a welcome dinner arranged by our Chinese friends with the able assistance of Dali Fan.  It was a wonderful meal of course after course of delectable Peking-style delicacies (OK, maybe the braised pig stomach wasn’t too delectable!).  In attendance were Becky Hahn (Columbia University), Dali Fan (UC Davis), Leng Jiang (Baystate Medical Center), TG Zhu (Peking University People’s Hospital), Liu Fang (Peking University First Hospital), Xiaoxia Wu (Wujing Hospital), Lillian Lan and Raymond Shen from Links Group, an organization that helps facilitate Chinese medical collaboration with the rest of the world, Michelle Xiao from Heartworks Distributor, and Johnson Yang from Edwards China. 

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1.  When and how did you get involved with cardiovascular ultrasound?

In 1975, I was a cardiopulmonary technologist (C-CPT). My technical director was an insomniac and read medical journals to fall asleep. He kept coming across something called “echocardiography” and we started to talk about it. I then went to a training seminar with Drs. Harvey Feigenbaum and Walter Henry. After a day, they “knighted” me and sent me to conquer the world (with A-mode and M-mode). I was registered in adult echocardiography in 1981 and pediatric echo in 1986. I have been in echocardiography ever since. It has been very, very good to me.

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I remember it well, just like it was yesterday.

I was hanging a poster at the annual ASE Scientific Sessions. I was very proud to have a poster at this meeting and was annoyed the the sides of the poser were not lying flat against the board but I did not have enough push-pins.  I think she saw that I was fussing with the poster and came up to me and simply said 'Can I get you some more pins for that poster?'  She helped me 'get it just right' and we started talking about the meeting. That was when I first met Hillary, soon after she joined the staff of ASE.

Now fast forward 20 years and Hilary Lamb is the Chief Operating Officer at ASE, overseeing many aspects of the Society's operations.  Congratulations Hilary and thank you for all you have done for ASE!

I thought I would celebrate her anniversary by sharing some of the emails to / about her anniversary:

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Hi ASE members,


I am writing from sunny Orlando, FL where ASE's 3rd Annual Echo Florida is well underway at a new location, Disney's Grand Floridian Resort. Course Director, Dr. Mike Picard and co-director Becky Hahn have put together a dynamic three day comprehensive echocardiography course.

It all started out with a Point of Care Symposium that featured ample time for hands-on scanning with multiple types of devices. Also, Marti McCulloch Learning Lab Director, put together a Learning Lab where participants received individualized instruction on quantitative echocardiography at computer workstations using real cases. These small group sessions allowed ample time for attendees to interact with some of ASE's experts and learn practical skills they can take back to the  lab.

Sunday's sessions focused on all the tools you need in general echocardiography (assessment of LV systolic and  diastolic function, stress echo, low gradient aortic stenosis, etc), as well as some more advanced topics in 3D and strain. Today is the last day with endocarditis, heart failure, cardio-oncology, athlete's heart, LVAD's, CRT, pericardial disease and more. 

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Hi ASE members,

Help us shape the future of ASE by nominating your peers! ASE is now accepting recommendations for Officers and Directors, who will be officially elected at the 26th Annual Scientific Sessions on June 12-16, 2015 in Boston, MA. Your nominations are invited for the position of vice president, treasurer, secretary, and five board positions. The vice president will serve a one-year term and is in a ladder position to the presidency. Guidelines for submitting nominations can be found on ASE's nominations page
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Recent actions on the Hill and from CMS signify that Appropriate Use Criteria (AUC) will play a significant, evolving role in healthcare. Historically, AUC were developed as a tool to improve quality, however recent actions demonstrate a shift towards utilizing AUC to manage imaging volume.

In March Congress passed an SGR patch bill and instituted an AUC mandate to help fund the legislation. The bill established a requirement that a provider ordering an advanced imaging test, such as myocardial perfusion imaging or cardiac CT, must demonstrate that AUC were consulted. If there is no documentation that AUC were used, payments under Medicare will not be made to the furnishing professional. While this mandate does not apply to echocardiography at this time, it may be expanded to echo in the near future.  Adoption by private payers is also very likely.

ASE lobbied to be excluded from this mandate, with the concern that this would be an onerous requirement, especially during the initial implementation process by CMS. Among our concerns was the much greater number of indications for echocardiography compared with the advanced imaging modalities. For instance, the 2009 AUC for myocardial perfusion imaging list 67 indications for that procedure; the 2010 AUC for cardiac CT and MRI comprise 60 indications; while the 2011 AUC for echocardiography list 202! This attests to the robustness of echocardiography as a tool to inform us about a patient’s cardiac health. It also makes me less confident that early implementation for echo will go as smoothly as Congress imagines (think ACA rollout!).

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1.  When and how did you get involved with cardiovascular ultrasound?

I was career searching, and while I was job shadowing for the then-plan of x-ray tech, I had the opportunity to watch an ultrasound---and I was hooked!  I really didn't know what I was looking at, but knew with some training I would learn what the gray was all about and learn how to tell it all apart.  I knew I liked the challenge that lay ahead and looked forward to understanding more. When I had to pick a modality upon getting accepted into the sonography program, I thought the heart seemed the most complex and complicated and I was up for the challenge.  After only a few classes in I was completely overwhelmed but knew I was addicted to my new career choice!  I was excited to learn.  It was the hardest thing I had ever done at that point, but I was determined!

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It’s crazy to believe I’ve already been President of ASE for three months.  I became a member in 1993 and by 1995 I began volunteering on a committee. From committee member, a few years later I had the opportunity to co-chair and  then Chair a committee, then on to the lead the Scientific Sessions, serve on the Board of Directors and then Treasurer for 3 years.  That was a whirlwind of activity leading up to my current position - who would  have known when I started simply by volunteering for a committee.

Not volunteering yet? Your turn could be next!  The fall is the  time to sign up to volunteer at ASE.  We are starting with nominations for officers and Board members and later this  fall we will open for volunteers for committees.

The ASE Nominating Committee is now open to accept recommendations for Officers and Directors, who will be officially elected at the 26

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