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ACC files complaint against HHS Secretary in U.S. District Court

October 10, 2017

"These cuts will devastate patient access to care," said Alfred A. Bove, M.D., president of the ACC. "Already practices are closing their doors and their patients have nowhere to turn. Hospitals do not have the capacity or the specialized ability to absorb the influx of patients. Tests will be delayed, diseases will worsen and patients will become sicker and sicker. Many patients, especially those living in rural settings and urban centers will lose their access to critical cardiac care."

The complaint was filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida. Co-plaintiffs include the American College of Cardiology, Florida Chapter; American Society of Nuclear Cardiology; the Association of Black Cardiologists; and the Cardiology Advocacy Alliance.

For the past six months, the nation's 37,000 cardiovascular specialists have worked diligently to inform members of Congress and the administration about the dangers of this proposed rule. To date, approximately 120 members of Congress have written letters to Sebelius asking for clarification and intervention. Since July 1, 2009, ACC members have sent more than 19,000 communications to members of Congress and have attended more than 400 meetings on Capitol Hill.

In November, after the cuts were announced, the ACC launched the Campaign for Patient Access, a nation-wide grassroots campaign to raise awareness of the issue. Last week, Rep. Charlie Gonzalez (D-TX) introduced a bill with 55 bipartisan original co-sponsors to freeze cuts at the 2009 reimbursement levels. Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) is currently leading a sign-on letter regarding the cuts in the Senate.

"We've been hearing a lot of talk coming from Washington about reforming the nation's health care system because we need to lower costs and increase access," said Lewin. "That's absolutely right but with this flawed rule about to take effect, cardiology is likely to get more expensive and less inclusive. That's why the ACC is continuing to exhaust every legal, legislative and regulatory avenue available on behalf of our 37,000 members and the patients they serve."

SOURCE American College of Cardiology