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Since ACC.14 took place in Washington, DC, several ASE members and staff took advantage of the proximity to the federal government to help enhance ASE’s profile and to oppose the site neutrality proposal.

Dr. James Thomas, one of ASE’s Past-Presidents, capitalized on the opportunity to meet with his US Senator, Sherrod Brown, and presented some of ASE’s talking points to Sen. Brown. Since Senator Brown serves on the Finance Committee, a committee that has considerable oversight over this issue, the meeting was incredibly beneficial to delivering ASE’s message. The importance of having a legislator hear from a constituent cannot be overstated. Additionally, while our lobbyist had met with Senator Brown office previously, she was thus able to follow up again and further ensure that our concerns are not forgotten.

Robin Wiegerink and Irene Butler, ASE’s CEO and Vice President of Health Policy respectively, attended a fundraiser for Patrick Hope during ACC.14. As one of ACC’s lobbyists, Patrick helped coordinate a recent fly-in focusing on opposing the site neutrality proposal, and repealing the flawed Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) to replace it with a payment system that fairly reimburses for the costs of providing services.  He is running for Virginia's 8th congressional district (Arlington and Fairfax counties, Falls Church and Alexandria) and is a champion of efforts to reward providers for quality improvement and improved patient outcomes, and will stand with physicians to reduce unnecessary and burdensome regulations.

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

I was pre-med in college.  Advisors recommend that students have a plan B, in case you aren't one of the lucky ones to earn admission into medical school.  I happened to be working as the weekend secretary for our echo lab at the time, and was given the opportunity to cross over into the clinical world of cardiology.  In 1999, I started cross-training in EKG, Holter Monitor attachment and interpretation, stress testing and echo.    I was able to complete my echo training while I was a monitor tech in a Cardiac Cath lab, gaining exposure to the invasive side of cardiology.   I successfully passed the echo board exams in Dec. 2002, earning my RDCS.

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At new job site and they use different billing codes for stress echoes.  What codes are supposed to be used for
stress echoes and  stress echoes with complete echo first.
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You are fortunate.  I only received 5 lessons for 2013 and am assuming I will not be getting any more.  My phone calls and emails have also gone unanswered.
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1.  When and how did you get involved with cardiovascular ultrasound?

I was selected to cross train in vascular ultrasound in May of 2002.  I came from a respiratory therapy background.

2.  Where do you work, and  what is your current position of employment?

I am currently the vascular technical director for OhioHealth in Columbus, Ohio.  We are a family of not-for-profit hospitals and healthcare organizations serving central Ohio since 1891.  Our network consists of 9 hospitals and numerous outpatient facilities.

3.  When and how did you get involved with the ASE?

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Anyone have an opinion of this machine? Adult echo use only.
Looking for entry level new machine at a small hospital.
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Hi ASE members,

Did you know ASE has just released two brand new apps in the Google Play and Apple iTunes stores?

The first one is the brand new Connect@ASE app. Get the latest discussions on Connect@ASE and access to ASE’s document libraries on your handheld device. Search for “Member Centric” in the Google Play or Apple iTunes stores.  Then select your organization, “American Society of Echocardiography.” You will need the email address and password associated with your ASE membership account to activate the app.  Never miss a blog post or discussion post again!

The second new one is the ASE Meetings and Event app. Stay up-to-date on all of the live educational courses by downloading the free ASE Meetings app. Find detailed information on each of ASE's events including faculty, agendas, exhibitors, networking events and more! Use the app to create or sync your event schedule and receive notifications of special activities and sessions while on-site. The app is available for download on both Apple and Android devices. Simply search for "ASE Live Educational Courses" in the Google Play or Apple iTunes stores.
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Are you faced to your Echocardiography job for the first time. I wrote a book for you: "Echocardiography beyond the first clinical scenarios"
Collegues: Your opinion and feedback would be the best. Thank you
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This Tuesday I had the unique opportunity to take part in a joint legislative fly-in in Washington, DC. Representatives of the American Society of Echocardiography (ASE), American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the American Society of Nuclear Cardiology (ASNC) met with key legislators and staffers to urge Congress to pass the proposed bicameral, bipartisan, permanent fix to the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) payment formula.  Simultaneously, we delivered the message that the fix must be done without offsets which would diminish our ability to provide high quality, patient-centered cardiac ultrasound – specifically, MedPAC’s site neutrality payment recommendation, or repeal of the in-office ancillary office exception. 

I was joined on behalf of ASE by Dr. Theodore Abraham, our lobbyist Peggy Tighe, J.D., and our Vice President of Health Policy, Irene Butler. Together with ASNC’s President, Dr. Gordon Depuey; Dr. Bo Walpole, a member of ACC’s Board of Trustees and past chair of ACCPAC; Dr. Gene Sherman, current chair of ACCPAC and the ACC Advocacy Committee; and Dr. Kim Williams, ACC’s Vice President,  we spoke in a united voice. We informed our Senators and Representatives that the house of cardiology thanks them for their efforts at crafting a permanent fix for the broken SGR formula, but our support is qualified by the costs not being borne by cardiology!

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When and how did you get involved with cardiovascular ultrasound?

Shortly after I obtained a BA in Fine Art (painting and printmaking), I started taking nursing prerequisites.  One day, the Grossmont College CVT program Director (Rick Kirby-now Emeritus Professor) came to class and gave an overview of the CVT program.  I was very interested in the invasive arm of the program and changed my course of study to obtain the CVT prerequisites.  In 1988, the Grossmont noninvasive program basically just had what I think was a big A-mode/B-mode machine that didn’t really excite me too much.  But, as luck would have it, at some point in the first year of the CVT program, at the UCSD clinical site, I was able to see 2D imaging with color flow on the new HP 500.  Immediately I realized that all my artistic desires could be satisfied by echocardiography.  I completed my registry in 1990 and then worked as a sonographer at UCSD Medical Center for 4 or 5 years. I became interested in contrast echocardiography and clinical trials when UCSD participated in a clinical trial for Albunex in the early 90’s.  I eventually took a break from academia to work in ‘industry’ for a while.  I had a marvelous time traveling around the world conducting clinical trials for the contrast agents Optison, Imagent and Acusphere’s Imagify. I learned how to image laboratory animals.  I spent time consulting with Acuson and their great group of luminaries (as their best customers were then known). I’ve had the opportunity to work on a heart failure gene therapy trial for Celladons’ Mydicar, andwith Sotera Wireless on the development of their new wireless device that measures vital signs wirelessly and without a cuff (ECG, heartrate, SpO2, BP, respiration rate, and even skin temperature).
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Do you consider a known bicuspid aortic valve with or without AI and with or without AS congenital or would you classify it as valvular disease?

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Does anyone know where I can find a current or semi current list of Medicare/Medicaid reimbursement codes for echo/stress echo?

I am trying to find out what congential defects are acceptable to bill under the Congenital echo code.

I would appreciate any info or site recommendations!


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Healthcare continues to be in the spotlight in Washington. At times there are numerous competing and contradicting proposals under consideration that have the potential to greatly impact echocardiography. Additionally, in November the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Servicers (CMS) finalized the Physician Fee Schedule and Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment (HOPPS) final rule.

For a better understanding of correct billing to receive the payments earned, ASE has scheduled an online educational session. On Thursday, January 30th at 3:00 pm EST, ASE will present a LIVE webinar entitled "2014 Update: The Latest Changes to Cardiovascular Ultrasound Reimbursement and Its Impact." This webinar will be presented by coding expert Judy Rosenbloom, RDCS, FASE, and ASE's legislative advisor Diane Millman, Esq., with Q&A to follow. Registration is free to ASE members.

In addition, ASE is offering a free, live webinar entitled

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Hey guys, Happy 2014!! Ive been really busy lately with work, but wanted to take the time to upload some pretty awesome images that I've done lately. Check out my shared files. Hope you all enjoy!!!
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Third Annual Structural Heart Intervention and Imaging Conference
February 5-7, 2014, La Jolla, California

Featuring a Hands-on Computer Based Echo Imaging Workshop
  • Step-by-step instruction on how to acquire optimal 2D and 3D TTE and TEE data sets
  • Emphasis on best use of imaging controls
  • Use of live 3D and full-volume acquisitions
  • Manipulation of echo images while guiding intervention for ASD, LAA procedures, TAVR and mitral clip
  • Discounts for ASE Members!
For more information
Call 858-652-5400
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1.  When and how did you get involved with cardiovascular ultrasound?

I began the journey back in 1998. I was a restaurant manager and realized that I was in a career where my opportunities for growth were limited and the hours were quite excessive. I opened up the newspaper one day and saw an advertisement for a local ultrasound school, Sanford Brown Institute. I had always enjoyed science and math; making the career change was a no-brainer once I investigated echocardiography.

2.  Where do you work, and what is your current position of employment?

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I am proud to report that ASE’s advocacy efforts have produced significant gains for echocardiography for 2014.  As the culmination of several years of work by ASE, CMS updated outmoded equipment cost assumptions by pricing an “ultrasound room” into the echo allowance.  This means substantial increases to both the PFS and HOPPS payments for echocardiography services.  The increases across both fee schedules recognize the importance of maintaining state-of-the-art capabilities even as Washington struggles to reduce expenses.

Also, CMS did not finalize the proposal to "package" Medicare payments to hospitals for echocardiography into the hospital outpatient payment for emergency room, clinic, and other procedures.  ASE and several of our industry partners worked to highlight the negative impact this would have on care. CMS even cited some of our arguments as a basis for not adopting this packaging proposal.

On the legislative front, ASE’s commitment to protecting echocardiography led to the society hiring a lobbyist to ensure echo has a presence on the Hill.  Peggy Tighe is a

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When and how did you get involved with cardiovascular ultrasound?

In 1981, I worked as an EKG tech in a hospital, which performed  “scary” open-heart surgery. There was a huge “ultrasound” machine, displaying dots and spikes (A-Mode and B-Mode). The techs explained this as a way to see inside the heart, very curious.A few years later I encountered the squiggly lines type of machine (M-Mode), still very interesting. This time I was in a position to learn and embrace this new technology.

Within a year, we were fortunate enough to receive a 2D machine with color flow imaging! I latched on to this “new” technology and studied everything I could get my hands on.  I was so excited when we acquired a 3D TEE machine in 2008. I could not stop exploring. Spatial imaging in 3D is amazing. By changing our acquisition protocols, we could clearly be much better! This became my passion. Initially, I could not contain my excitement, which annoyed our cardiologists.  But it wasn’t long before they were also hooked. We have become a very dynamic team.
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Committee application for 2014 is now open through January, 2014


ASE depends on its members to get involved and advance our mission. Volunteers serve on the committees, councils, task forces, and writing groups that lead the Society and affect the profession. Our volunteers help set standards, develop products, create courses, direct subspecialty activities, advocate for echo on the federal and state levels, and more. 

To serve on a committee, you must be an ACTIVE member and you must complete an electronic application during the application cycle. The application allows you to indicate which committee(s) you are interested in. If you have not previously served on an ASE committee or on the Board of Directors, you will need to provide a recommendation letter, preferably from a FASE level member or a senior person in the CV ultrasound field, along with a copy of your curriculum vitae.   While ASE strives to put each applicant into his or her first choice committee, we are not always able to do so due to the volume of applicants.  

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When and how did you get involved with cardiovascular ultrasound?

In 2002, I was completing an unrelated degree when my dad required bypass surgery. It was my first significant introduction to cardiology and healthcare. After that experience, I researched career options and ultimately knew that the echocardiography program at Mayo Clinic was the right direction for me to follow.

What is the name and type of facility/institution where you work, and what is your current position of employment?

Mayo Clinic is a hospital based outpatient practice. I am credentialed as both a Congenital and Adult Cardiac Sonographer. I am also a Congenital Research Sonographer.

When and how did you get involved with the ASE?

I have been a member of ASE for most of my sonographer career. I began working in research about three years ago and have had several research abstracts accepted for the ASE Scientific Sessions.

Why do you volunteer for ASE?
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