Blogs

October Advocacy Update

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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed rules for the Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) and Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System (HOPPS) contained a mixed bag for echocardiography, with both good and concerning recommendations. In the PFS, CMS addressed transthoracic echocardiography (TTE) and stress codes.   Since ASE has a RUC advisor status, last year the society directly participated in the Medicare reimbursement code change review and valuation processes. ASE worked on the RUC review of primary transthoracic echocardiography CPT code 93306, as well as CPT codes 93307 and 93308, and stress echocardiography codes 93350 and 93351. As ...
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Piedmont Heart Institute will be hosting iMagine 2017 next month, November 11-12, in Atlanta, Georgia. Phenomenal experience at a great price. Look forward to seeing all interested attendees there! Piedmont Heart's iMagine 2017
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When and how did you get involved with cardiovascular ultrasound? I got involved with cardiovascular ultrasound completely by chance. In 1994, I had completed two years of cardiology training in China before my family moved to Singapore. I was a new mother at the time, and struggled to adapt to so many big changes. Because of this, I decided not to continue to pursue my medical doctor career.  However, being a full time stay-at-home mother was not enough for me. I started to look for different jobs in healthcare. Luckily, a local hospital was hiring for an EKG tech position; I immediately sent in my resume. The next day, I got a phone call from them inviting ...
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  Chris Kramer, ACS, RDCS, FASE When and how did you get involved with cardiovascular ultrasound? I first got involved in cardiovascular ultrasound as an EKG/stress technician. I was always interested in the heart, in fact, I remember a school project involving a pig heart and making bypass grafts out of small conduit tubing from the local hardware shop. While working in the Cardiac Diagnostic Laboratory at Minneapolis Heart Institute in Minneapolis, Minnesota, I was able to watch adult echocardiography and stress echocardiogarphy exams and it instantly peaked my interest. I applied to the Mayo Clinic Health Sciences School Echocardiography program at ...
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When and how did you get involved with cardiovascular ultrasound? In 2000, when I had just completed my graduate studies, my spiritual and humanitarian mentor invited me to join a tertiary-care hospital he was setting up in Bangalore to serve the poor. The idea of a facility offering cardiac surgery without a billing section inspired me, and I began my career here as a cardiac sonographer, scanning hundreds of patients unsupported by social security or insurance protection. Subsequent opportunities to set up a sonographer school at the same institute and to pursue research at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden have contributed to a fuller experience ...
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June Happenings!

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As a part of the 2017 ASE Scientific Sessions, ASE sponsored a Value of Echo Summit. There were two sessions focusing on helping the entire cardiovascular ultrasound community understand how their practice will be impacted by recent healthcare changes. The first portion of the summit provided a strategic point of view, discussing where healthcare is and where it is going. The afternoon session focused on a tactical approach, and provided real world application. During the Scientific Sessions we were also able to take advantage of Baltimore’s proximity to Washington, DC and arranged a Hill Day event. ASE members met with their elected officials to advocate ...
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I wanted to share an example of an interview from the Cleveland Clinics Weekly Scoop supporting Heart Month. Other members may want to reach out to their patients in this manner. 5 Questions with Allan Klein, MD Author: Employee Communications/Wednesday February 1, 2017 That's what our Center for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Pericardial Disease program is for our patients with pericarditis an inflammation of the thin fluid-filled sac that covers the surface of the heart. "It's a comprehensive program," says Allan Klein, MD, the program's director. When patients visit Cleveland Clinic, they can see a pericardial specialist (pericardiologist), ...
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The New Year brought new billing and reporting requirements for accurate documentation and coding. ASE is committed to ensuring you are aware of these latest changes to help you comply with the new criteria and receive proper reimbursement for quality care. CMS final Medicare Physician Fee Schedule established a new, across-the-board policy requiring moderate sedation be billed separately from the underlying base codes. This is not an echo-specific change, but does establish a new billing process that could impact your practice. As of January 1, 2017 if you provide moderate (conscious) sedation in conjunction with TEE you must now bill it separately. Payment ...
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The AMA House of Delegates (HOD) is the principal policy-making body of the AMA and sets the legislative and regulatory priorities for the AMA. Through Dr. Peter Rahkos leadership, ASE was able to obtain full delegate status in 2013 and he continues to ensure echo has a voice in this process. The AMA House of Delegates Interim Meeting was held on November 12-15, 2016 and several topics of concern to ASE were addressed. Dr. Rahko reported that there were several resolutions regarding studying the Affordable Care Act, all written before the election. Considering the election results, it is now uncertain how these resolutions will be incorporated into the AMAs ...
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Monday, October 24, 2016: Greetings, ASE, from the other side of the world! We have been in Bangkok over the past few days for the 2 nd annual Echo ASE-ASEAN conference, and its been another great success. We had over 250 attendees registered from 22 countries, mostly from Southeast Asia (Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, Philippines, Laos, Cambodia, and Myanmar), but also places as far flung as Australia, Pakistan, Nepal, United States, UAE and Turkey! The meeting this year took place with a touch of sadness in the air, as the Thai people had lost their King one week earlier, and the entire country was in a state of mourning for one ...
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Echo India 2016

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The XXI International Conference of the Indian Academy of Echocardiography was held from October 21-23 in Madurai, India. ASE was well represented by Vera Rigolin, Sunil Mankad, Kamesawari Maganti, Sanjiv Kaul, Manni Vannan, Natesa Pandian and Raj Janardhanan. Rhonda Price was also there doing a great job promoting ASE. IAE is one of ASEs International Alliance Partners. With the new members added at this meeting, ASE currently has more than 200 members in India. The meeting was held at the Velammal Medical College Hospital in Madurai. Madurai has a rich heritage spanning over 2500 years. The city is well known for its ancient temples and for beautiful ...
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CMS previously identified stress echocardiography CPT codes 93350 and 93351, as potentially misvalued and therefore subject to revaluation. Using the robust survey response data gathered earlier this summer, ASEs Specialty Society R elative Value Scale U pdate C ommittee (RUC) team worked to accurately support the valuation of these codes. Our presentation to the RUC this month was well received. RUC recommendations are confidential until CMS releases the July 2017 proposed rule for the 2018 Physician Fee Schedule. I would like to thank all ASE members who were selected and completed the stress echo survey. ASE has created a webpage containing more information ...
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Since ASE's annual meeting in June the Advocacy Committee has been hard at work to ensure echo is well positioned in this changing and challenging healthcare environment. Stress CPT ™ codes 93350 and 93351 were surveyed for the American Medical Association Specialty Society Relative Value Scale Update Committee (RUC). Thanks to all who participated—there was a robust response rate. This is a significant step in ensuring these services are accurately valued and reimbursed. We are now working on the RUC presentation scheduled for October. ASE worked with the Sonography Licensure Coalition to ensure that the North Dakota Board of Medical Imaging and ...
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The Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi in UAE is looking to hire full time adult cardiac sonographers. If you are interested please contact Jason Bordelon at BordelJ@ClevelandClinicAbuDhabi.ae Please click on the link below for further details: http://my.clevelandclinicabudhabi.ae/en/uae/jobs/cardiovascular-technologist-3461558
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The University of Utah is currently in a growth spurt and is looking to hire a full time cardiac sonographer. If you are registered and have three years experience and interested in this position, please send your resume to georgeanne.lammertin@hsc.utah.edu . Thank you
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Good morning ASE members, I recently had the opportunity to present the Michigan Society of Echocardiography (MSE) with a commemorative plaque on behalf of ASE. Read more about MSE's 35 Year Jubilee below from Felix Rogers, DO, FASE. Thanks, Dr. Klein Have you heard this one? The past, the present and the future walked into a bar. It was tense. David Forst, our witty and affable master of ceremonies, chose to craft his one-liners on the theme of back to the future, and proved he was acutely aware of the historical timeframe as he ...
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Greetings from Osaka!

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27 th JSE and 4 th AAE Annual Scientific Sessions James D. Thomas, MD, FASE Thursday, April 21, 2016: Greetings, ASE, from the land of the rising sun. ASE Vice President Vera Rigolin and I are here representing ASE for a joint scientific sessions of the Japanese Society of Echocardiography (JSE, their 27 th ) and the Asia-Pacific Association of Echocardiography (AAE, their 4 th ). As always (in the words of Jimmy Martin), “it’s a long way from here to over yonder”, in my case a 4AM wake-up call for a 7AM flight to San Francisco followed by a 12 hour flight to Osaka, my first on the Dreamliner (love the electroluminescent window ...
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ASE has dedicated a great deal of time and resources to expand the society’s advocacy efforts and increase our visibility on the Hill and with regulators. However, ASE’s best asset is, and will continue to be, our members. Your ability to influence your representatives is without parallel. Our advocacy strategy has expanded, to include proactive sponsorship of legislation on cardiovascular issues which are in the public interest. Besides being the right thing to do, endorsing these bills gets ASE’s name in front of legislators and members of the public as the voice of cardiac ultrasound. Recently Hollie Carron, an ASE Board and Advocacy Committee member, ...
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Dr. Johri posted this blog to his personal website www.VascNet.com and thought it would be of interest to the echo audience. Opinions are not representative of ASE. You can follow him on twitter @amerjohri The death of the stethoscope, killed in cold blood by point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS), is trendy as a punchy twitter-bite. Its time to stop eulogizing now and consider the science. For the last few years, we have been actively teaching medical students how to use point of care cardiac ultrasound and have seen first hand how new doctors take to this technology like fish to water. This generation of med students are shipped ...
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Opening for a Cardiac Sonographer at Northwestern Memorial Hospital- Downtown Campus We have a great staff of Sonographers and Physicians that continue to stay on the cutting edge of Echocardiography. A great opprotunity to work with past and future presidents of the American Society of Echo. Below is the job description. If you are interested and qualified please apply at nm.org , Job Description Cardiac Sonographer - 0003691 Description Learns and applies ...
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