Though deaths from heart disease fell between 1999 and 2011, they increased in 2018, a new study shows. The study, published in The BMJ, examined data for 12.9 million people who died between 1999 and 2018 in the U.S. from heart disease. Overall, the number of deaths from total heart disease fell from 752,192 in 1999 to 596,577 in 2011, but the number then increased to 655,381 in 2018.
The rate of mergers between health systems and independent cardiology groups over the past decade has been “staggering,” according to a new report from Global Healthcare Advisors. In 2018, 84 percent of cardiologists practiced in an integrated setting rather than a private setting, per the report, with the shift toward integration reflecting cardiologists’ efforts to protect themselves from climbing reimbursement pressures and administrative burdens.
US cardiologists are increasingly opting out of solo or small practices, and joining larger practices, according to a new analysis of US data from 2013 and 2017. In 2013, 34.2% of US cardiologists worked in practices of 5 or fewer cardiologists. That number dropped to just 27% by 2017. On the flip side, the proportion working in practices with 25 cardiologists or more rose from 26% in 2013 to 35.8% in 2017. The investigators had no direct data from which to ascertain the reasons why cardiologists have tended to move from smaller to larger practices, but they did conduct a multivariable linear regression analysis to better understand possible market-level factors that may be influencing these trends. What they found was that as hospital market concentration increased, practice sizes also increased.
Over the past several years, there has been a noticeable shift in procedures from the inpatient to the outpatient setting due to advances in technology and the goal of achieving a lower cost of care. Cardiology procedures have been no stranger to this site of service shift. CMS policies have spurred an increase in office-based laboratories (“OBLs”), including catheterization laboratories and vascular access centers and recent CMS rulings have continued to spur the shift of select cardiology procedures to the outpatient setting. As more cardiovascular procedures are moved to an ASC setting, VMG Health has seen the emergence of a Ôhybrid’ business model, which combines an OBL with an ASC. In a hybrid model, the facility typically operates as an OBL on certain days of the week and as an ASC on the others. This model allows a broader range of cardiovascular services to be provided in these hybrid facilities.
Mount Sinai Health System and Cross County Cardiology announced a new cooperative partnership that will include five cardiology practices located throughout Bergen and Hudson counties in New Jersey. Cross County Cardiology-Mount Sinai Doctors will work to enhance clinical care for patients with cardiovascular disease bringing the most advanced techniques within the field of cardiology and vascular care to the region. “Mount Sinai Health Network is excited to collaborate with Cross County Cardiology and to welcome this talented team of cardiac specialists in the New Jersey region into Mount Sinai’s growing network of hospitals, clinical practices, and polyclinics,” said Arthur Klein, MD, President of the Mount Sinai Health Network.
For a cardiovascular service line leader, addressing challenges in an evolving healthcare climate is a constant. Understanding the dynamics that influence the service line can arm the leader with information necessary to make timely, informed decisions – particularly the impact of continued migration to the outpatient setting. When the 2019 CMS reimbursement strategy for cardiovascular procedures approved additional cardiovascular procedures for ambulatory surgery centers (ASC), it made collaboration between administrators and physicians imperative to maintain market share and achieve specific cardiovascular service line strategic goals. The lower cost, highly efficient and convenient ACS environment is an ideal location for cardiovascular procedures, but requires a change in strategy for the ambulatory market.
Cardiologists participating in the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) in 2020 didn’t exactly plan on providing care during a global pandemic. Fortunately, CMS has bent the rules a bit for 2020, providing assistance in the wake of COVID-19. The American College of Cardiology (ACC) summarized the latest on this topic on its website, noting that CMS will not use data collected during the first six months of 2020 when calculating Medicare quality reporting and value-based purchasing programs. In addition, the ACC pointed out, cardiologists who have been hit especially hard by the pandemic can submit an Extreme & Uncontrollable Circumstances Application to reweigh “any or all of the MIPS performance categories” for 2020.
Five cardiology leaders discuss changes they expect to see in the cardiology arena over the next three years. Respondents shared their insights with Becker’s June 23-29.
A new study raises the alarm that young adults are developing metabolic syndrome at a faster rate than other Americans. Metabolic syndrome is a group of conditions that increase the risk of developing serious diseases like heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. The study, which analyzed trends in the prevalence of metabolic syndrome in the U.S. between 2011 and 2016, found that about 20% of adults under the age of 40 now have it. And while metabolic syndrome is rising among all adult age groups, Americans between the ages of 20 and 39 saw a 5% increase in just five years. The effects of metabolic syndrome in younger people haven’t been widely studied, but researchers are concerned about the possible cumulative effect of living with these conditions for many years.
Seven cardiology leaders shared small changes that have made a big difference in their programs’ clinical, financial or operational outcomes. Respondents shared their insights with Becker’s via email June 17-23.
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