Remember Your Colleagues in Texas and Louisiana

Dear ASE Members,

By now, we are all familiar with the reports of flooding and damage caused by Hurricane Harvey and the devastating impact on Houston and other parts of Texas and Louisiana. At times like these, we draw from our compassion to support others through difficult times.  We are specifically thinking of our colleagues in the affected areas.  For our members in that vicinity we wish you well and thank those of you who have stayed at the hospitals and other care centers to help and treat patients during this time.

Many ASE members have contacted us to express their interest in assisting with relief efforts. Because ASE does not have the infrastructure to organize disaster recovery efforts, we encourage our members to volunteer with reputable, established relief teams that are already in place and/or give to other charitable organizations offering services in that area. If you would like to support their efforts, the American Red Cross, United Way Relief, and the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund (established by Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and managed by Greater Houston Community Foundation) are just a few of the organizations that are providing relief specifically for Hurricane Harvey.

Again, we hope all ASE members affected by the storm are safe, secure, and will soon be on the path to recovery. Our thoughts are with you.

Sincerely,

Vera Rigolin, MD, FASE
ASE President

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Picard Named Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of the American Society of Echocardiography

Read release here.

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Apply Now for the 2017 Research Grant

The ASE Foundation’s annual research grant program funds dedicated time for investigators working to demonstrate cardiovascular ultrasound’s premier relevance in the changing healthcare environment, and to promote new and innovative applications of the technology. In 2014, Victor Mor-Avi, PhD, FASE, received a $200,000 multi-year grant; the largest in the Foundation’s history.  At this year’s Scientific Sessions, he presented the results of his fusion of CTCA and 3D echocardiography research. The full presentation is available on the Foundation’s website.

Do you have a research idea but need funding to get it started?  The Foundation is now accepting proposals for its annual research grant program. The organization has placed an emphasis on the Structural Heart Disease area for this year’s grant cycle. We invite research proposals relevant to the value of echo-guided procedures in the cath lab and its impact on patient outcomes. Please visit ASEFoundation.org/2017-research-grant for details. Applications are due by October 31, 2017.

In this era of dwindling government research funding and support for research fellowships, the ASE Foundation plays a crucial role in supporting the progress and future of cardiovascular ultrasound. Support this initiative today with a donation to the ASE Foundation.

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Now Available! New Guideline Posters for Sale

The new Aortic Regurgitation, Aortic Valve Stenosis, Mitral Regurgitation, and Tricuspid and Pulmonic Regurgitation Posters can all be yours for the low price of $60 for all four posters. Based on the latest guidelines, Recommendations for Noninvasive Evaluation of Native Valvular Regurgitation: A Report from the American Society of Echocardiography Developed in Collaboration with the Society for Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance and the Recommendations on the Echocardiographic Assessment of Aortic Valve Stenosis: A Focused Update from the European Association of Cardiovascular Imaging and the American Society of Echocardiography, you can purchase the posters today at ASEMarketPlace.com.

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Don’t Forget to Submit Your Images for the 2018 Image Calendar Contest

There is still time to upload your images for the 2018 Image Calendar Contest. The image competition winners will be featured in a colorful, 12-month calendar that will be given to all members who renew by December 31, 2017. The deadline for image submission is Monday, August 14 to allow voting to begin on August 16. Voting closes Friday, September 15.

To upload your images, head to the ASE 2018 Calendar Contest Library on Connect@ASE:

  1. Login to Connect@ASE using your username (email address) and password.
  2. Using the top navigation, scroll to Libraries.
  3. Click on Image Library.
  4. Click on the folder called ASE 2018 Calendar Contest.
  5. Click “New” under Folder Contents on the right hand side of the menu and upload your image. Image files need to be no larger than 30 MB.
  6. You are able to upload as many images as you would like.

Please note this is a membership competition and is open to members only. If you have any questions, please contact Arissa Cooper at acooper@asecho.org.

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2018 MPFS AND HOPPS Proposed Rules

ASE is working on a detailed and targeted analysis of the CY 2018 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) Proposed Rule and the Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System (HOPPS) Proposed Rule. ASE will issue comments to the CMS once these proposals have been thoroughly evaluated. Comments from the healthcare community on both proposed rules will be accepted by CMS until September 11, 2017.  Learn more here.

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CASE – Third Issue Now Online

“Four cusps is NOT better than three.”  Find out what Dr. Brian Malm, Yale University School of Medicine, means by reading his case report, “Severe Aortic Insufficiency in a Patient with a Functionally Bicuspid Quadricuspid Aortic Valve,” which is published in the new issue of CASE. His aortic anomaly case is joined by nine other stellar articles that cover topics including idiopathic left ventricular aneurysm, infection versus CAT, cardiac papillary fibroelastoma, myocardial infarction by angiosarcoma, mechanical Wenckebach, ECMO, and a pulsatile puzzle. Sign up for CASE content alerts at cvcasejournal.com, and join the discussion about CASE content at Connect@ASE. Don’t forget to test your wits with the new “What is This Image?” feature on the CASE homepage. This issue’s “What is This Image? was contributed by Amr Abouelnour, MD, assistant lecturer of cardiovascular medicine at Assiut University, Egypt.

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Value of Echo Summit

In case you missed that ASE sponsored a Value of Echo Summit during our 2017 ASE Scientific Sessions, we are making the presentations available to everyone interested in this topic. The session was intended to help provide some understanding of the U.S. healthcare system as it undergoes a significant transformation from fee-for-service to value-based healthcare and developing new alternative payment models (APMs). The summit was divided into two sessions. The first session focused on understanding the impending changes to the overall healthcare system and the impact to you. The second session featured experts identifying the best strategies and practices to ensure you maximize all opportunities and thrive in this challenging environment.

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Submit Your Images for the 2018 Image Calendar Contest

ASE is excited to announce that the Image Calendar Competition is back for 2018! The image competition winners will be featured in a colorful, 12-month calendar that will be given to all members who renew by December 31, 2017. The deadline for image submission is Monday, August 14 to allow voting to begin on August 16. Voting closes Friday, September 15.

 

To upload your images, head to the ASE 2018 Calendar Contest Library on Connect@ASE:

  1. Login to Connect@ASE using your username (email address) and password.
  2. Using the top navigation, scroll to Libraries.
  3. Click on Image Library.
  4. Click on the folder called ASE 2018 Calendar Contest.
  5. Click “new” under Folder Contents on the right hand side of the menu and upload your image. Image files need to be no larger than 30 MB.
  6. You are able to upload as many images as you would like.

If you have any questions, please contact Arissa Cooper at acooper@asecho.org.

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QPP Proposed Rule Released

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a proposed rule that would make changes in the second year of the Quality Payment Program (QPP) as required by the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA). CMS has proposed a number of changes to the program, many of which are aimed at easing the reporting burden on small practices. A few highlights from the proposed rule include:

  • CMS will again assign a weight of zero to the MIPS Cost Category. Other categories will be weighted as follows: Quality = 60, Improvement Activities = 15, Advancing Care Information = 25
  • CMS has proposed to modestly raise the performance threshold to 15. The performance threshold for the 2019 payment year is three. This means a final score at or above 15 will allow an eligible clinician to avoid a negative adjustment in 2020.
  • CMS is not proposing modifications to the submission criteria for quality measures.
  • CMS will continue to allow eligible clinicians to use electronic health record technology certified to the 2014 edition for the 2018 performance year to receive credit under the Advancing Care Information Category.
  • CMS is proposing additional flexibilities for clinicians in small practices, including adding bonus points to their final MIPS score.
  • CMS is proposing requirements for MIPS participation at the virtual group level.
  • CMS will add performance standards for scoring improvement in the Quality and Cost categories.
  • CMS will begin determining whether eligible clinicians are APM Qualified Participants using an All-Payer Combination Option that looks at a clinicians participation in a Medicare Advanced APM, as well as an Other Payer Advanced APM.

ASE is continuing to analyze this rule and a more detailed and targeted analysis will follow.

Here is a fact sheet on the proposed rule. The proposed rule (CMS-5522-P) can be downloaded from the Federal Register.

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CMS finalized increase to echo code 93306 and accepted the cardiology community’s proposal that prevents cuts to echoes with contrast