- In a letter sent to Senate leadership, American College of Cardiology President Mary Norine Walsh, MD, advised lawmakers to ensure access to “meaningful insurance coverage and quality, cost-effective care” for the nation’s patients.
After the House narrowly passed the American Health Care Act (AHCA), the bill has moved to the Senate, where it is expected to undergo serious revision or be completely rewritten. This window has allowed healthcare organizations and payers to get back into the discussion.
“In the midst of a rancorous public debate, we must all fix our sights on a single goal: to improve healthcare in America. It is a goal we all share, regardless of where we stand on the political spectrum,” said Walsh.
“Any successful health reform legislation must expand access to and prevent loss of health care coverage through public and private programs.”
The ACC suggestions to Senate leaders are based on principles already adopted by the organization.
A primary ACC objective is the fundamental goal of expanding affordable access to healthcare across the population, especially for patients with cardiovascular disease and other pre-existing conditions. This includes healthcare coverage through both public and private insurance programs.
The healthcare industry will need to embrace new technologies and provider models, including policies that promote usability and interoperability of health information technology.
The group further underscored their support for continued investment in research, prevention, public health, and disease surveillance.
To combat a trend, cited by the ACC, towards decreased personal contact between the patient and provider, the society called for an increase in patient-centered, evidence-based care.
This care would have an emphasis on professionalism, transparency, and the collaborative clinician-patient relationship to improve quality and promote better outcomes.
It would also involve an increase in development and expansion of team-based care models, such as accountable care organizations, that promote and reward value and shared decision making by providers.
In its final suggestion, the ACC called for a reduction of obstructions to healthcare delivery. It reiterated its goal of efficient, high-quality cardiovascular care across practice settings.
The ACC has 52,000 members, whose mission is to transform cardiovascular care and to improve heart health. The organization prides itself as a leader in health policy, standards and guidelines.
This includes the operation of a national registry to measure and improve care. The ACC also offers accreditation to hospitals and institutions, provides medical education, disseminates research and bestows credentials upon cardiovascular specialists who meet stringent qualifications.
“I ask you and all of your colleagues to prioritize protection for the most vulnerable Americans as health reform efforts move forward,” Walsh concluded. “The ACC and its members in every state will continue to work with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to promote solutions that maintain patient access to the coverage and care they need.