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Pacemaker Device/Mode Selection: Who Should Receive a Dual Chamber System? September 5, 2012

Posted by Andrea M. Russo, MD, FACC, FHRS in Allied Health Professionals, Cardiac Rhythm Management, Education, EP Physicians, Health Policy, Society News.
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The answers to questions regarding single versus dual chamber device/mode selection are obvious to physicians practicing cardiac electrophysiology in 2012. Cardiac rhythm specialists are aware that previous studies, including several large randomized clinical trials, have investigated the role of single versus dual chamber pacing in patients with conduction system disease. Despite a high level of evidence supporting dual chamber devices for many pacing indications, Medicare reimbursement for dual chamber devices has recently been questioned. Why is this the case? (more…)

Review: 1st Alliance of Specialty Medicine Physician Health Policy Roundtable March 29, 2012

Posted by Andrea M. Russo, MD, FACC, FHRS in Allied Health Professionals, EP Physicians, Health Policy.
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Last Thursday could have been spent marveling at the breathtaking architecture of the US Capitol Visitors Center. However, the purpose of my visit to Washington, DC was not that of a tourist. Rather, I was a representing the Heart Rhythm Society (HRS) at the Alliance of Specialty Medicine’s Physician Policy Roundtable, which featured speakers on some of the most timely topics facing electrophysiologists. (more…)

How Do We Measure “Quality” In Electrophysiology? August 30, 2011

Posted by Andrea M. Russo, MD, FACC, FHRS in Health Policy.
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As our healthcare system evolves from one based on “volume” to one based on “value,” physicians and practices need a mechanism to demonstrate their commitment to continuous quality improvement and achievement of quality thresholds. 

The Quality Improvement Subcommittee of the Heart Rhythm Society (HRS) has taken the initiative to develop performance measures that are pertinent to electrophysiologists. (more…)

Defibrillation Testing: Still Necessary or Just Risky? February 25, 2011

Posted by Andrea M. Russo, MD, FACC, FHRS in Scientific Sessions.
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There is ongoing controversy regarding the need for defibrillation testing at the time of initial implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) insertion. With advancements in ICD technology, including biphasic waveforms, active cans, and high output devices, the need for defibrillation testing has been questioned. (more…)

ICD Registries: Quality Initiatives vs. Wasted Efforts February 10, 2011

Posted by Andrea M. Russo, MD, FACC, FHRS in Health Policy, Scientific Sessions.
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Participation in the the ICD Registry™ Program has been mandated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for hospitals implanting devices in Medicare patients for the primary prevention of sudden cardiac death. This data acquisition and reporting requires additional manpower and resources, without any additional reimbursement. Furthermore, controversy exists regarding the clear value of registry participation. (more…)

Should All ICD Leads on Advisory be Extracted at the Time of Generator Replacement? January 11, 2011

Posted by Andrea M. Russo, MD, FACC, FHRS in Scientific Sessions.
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We now face a dilemma about what to do with transvenous ICD leads that have a high failure rate. It is well established that the ICD lead is the “weakest link” in the ICD system. (more…)

Should We Reprocess and Re-Implant ICDs and Pacemakers? November 24, 2010

Posted by Andrea M. Russo, MD, FACC, FHRS in Scientific Sessions.
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We are very fortunate to have access to the latest life-saving technology in the United States and other developed countries. In contrast, patients in underserved regions face the risk of increased morbidity and even mortality related to lack of access to even simple pacemakers for the treatment of symptomatic bradycardia.  (more…)

Health Care Policy: Let’s Work Together to Make a Difference! July 29, 2010

Posted by Andrea M. Russo, MD, FACC, FHRS in Health Policy.
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Recent changes in U.S. health care policy and reimbursement will greatly affect how we deliver care to patients with arrhythmia disorders.  The Heart Rhythm Society (HRS) maintains a strong voice in Washington, D.C., with advocacy efforts focusing on issues of critical importance to heart rhythm specialists.  Our goal is to help promote a stronger health care system that provides patients with the care they need, when they need it. We recognize that the needs of health care specialists may differ from those of general practitioners when it comes to caring for patients with complex heart rhythm disorders, and that the care of these patients requires a “team approach.”  (more…)

CVRP: Identifying Quality in Cardiovascular Care May 28, 2010

Posted by Andrea M. Russo, MD, FACC, FHRS in Health Policy.
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As health care evolves from a system based on “volume” to one based on “value,” practices will need a mechanism to show their commitment to continuous quality improvement.

How do you integrate quality into your practice?

To address this question, the Heart Rhythm Society is collaborating with cardiovascular medical societies to develop Cardiovascular Practice Recognition Program (CVRP).

 The CVRP is designed to:

  • Establish relevant goals for cardiovascular specialists and their practices;
  • Provide a road map to guide performance improvement strategies; and
  • Create standardization by creating a methodology for how cardiovascular practices are assessed and recognized.

CVRP will promote quality improvement by raising the performance of all providers and enhancing access to high-quality cardiovascular care. CVRP will apply performance measures with scientific validity developed through a recognized development and endorsement process. CVRP assessment, recognition, and reporting will occur at the practice level, and all individual physicians within the practice will be included in the practice assessment. Individual practices will receive feedback to encourage further performance improvement.

More information about the CVRP can be found at:

http://www.hrsonline.org/Policy/ICDRegistry/cvrp_pilot.cfm

Performance Measures: Defining Our Terms May 3, 2010

Posted by Andrea M. Russo, MD, FACC, FHRS in Health Policy.
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Public and private payers are moving away from fee-for-service models and toward value-based purchasing models to reimburse physicians, hospitals, and other health care professionals. With the goal to create incentives to deliver higher quality care and lower overall costs, providers are increasingly being held accountable to quality standards and performance measures. (more…)

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