Ultromics receives FDA clearance for AI-powered Decision Support System, EchoGo Core

Ultromics, one of ASE’s Industry Roundtable (IRT) partners, has received 510(k) clearance from the FDA for their AI-powered image analysis system, EchoGo Core. To find out more, read the press release here.

Call for Committee Volunteers Now Open

ASE depends on its members to get involved and advance our mission. Our volunteers help set standards, develop products, create courses, direct subspecialty activities, advocate for echo on the federal and state levels, and so much more. If you are a new volunteer interested in serving on an ASE committee or a member currently serving on a committee and would like to continue to serve, log in to your ASE member portal, click on “Resources” on the top menu bar, select “Call for Committee Volunteers” from the dropdown, and complete the interest form and annual disclosure statement.

The application process will remain open through January 6, 2020. The term of service for new appointments will be July 2020-June 2021.

Call for Officers and Board Nominations Deadline Approaching

ASE is seeking the best and brightest members to move forward the mission and goals of the Society and the ASE Foundation. Now is your opportunity to become a leader in ASE/ASEF. Active members who meet the criteria outlined on the Open Positions and Criteria page, ask a friend or colleague who is also a member to submit a nomination on your behalf. Positions are available on the ASE Board of Directors, ASE Foundation Board of Directors, and ASE Council Steering Committees. With ASE’s new governance structure, the ASE Foundation Board is now a separate entity from the ASE Board of Directors.  All positions are open to any member regardless of specialty (sonographer, pediatrician, critical care, anesthesiologist, etc.). ASE is looking for a diverse pool of nominees.

The process is easy and guidelines for submitting nominations can be found on ASE’s nominations page. The deadline for submission of nominations is November 29, 2019. Ask an active ASE member TODAY to submit your nomination. Please contact Nominations@ASEcho.org with any questions or to submit nominations.

CMS Finalizes 2020 Medicare Reimbursement Rules

On Friday, November 1, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released the calendar year (CY) 2020 final rules for the Physician Fee Schedule (PFS), Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS) and Quality Payment Program, which includes several significant policy and payment changes impacting our U.S.-based members.

A new echo technology achieved CPT editorial panel category 1 status for the first time in decades! The new Myocardial Strain Imaging CPT Code +93356 recognizes that strain imaging has a great diagnostic and therapeutic value for improving patient care. Thank you to all the ASE members who helped document their use of myocardial strain imaging in an effort to gain this new CPT Code that can be used beginning January 1, 2020.

There will be a slight increase in Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) conversion factor. The CY 2020 PFS conversion factor was finalized at $36.09, a slight increase above the CY 2019 PFS conversion factor of $36.04.

A topline summary of the most important changes to the payment rates and policies for services paid under Medicare is available online. ASE is currently reviewing the details of the final rules and will be providing comments for those items that remain open for comment. We will keep you updated as we learn more. In the meantime, the proposed rules are available at:

MPFS Rule Text: Final Rule          CMS Fact Sheet

OPPS Rule Text: Final Rule          CMS Fact Sheet

For more information visit the Advocacy web page. If you have any questions please email Irene Butler, Vice President of Health Policy at IButler@ASEcho.org.

Groundbreaking Content in November JASE

The November JASE contains  “Similarities and Differences in Left Ventricular Size and Function among Races and Nationalities: Results of the World Alliance Societies of Echocardiography Normal Values Study,” by Federico M. Asch, MD, FASE, et al. Dr. Asch said that, “The clinical usefulness of echocardiography is based on the detection of abnormalities, which relies on the accurate definition of “normality” across different countries or races. Currently, available echocardiographic ‘reference values’ that define ‘normality’ are mostly based on cross-sectional observations of Caucasians from the United States and Europe. The WASE study evaluated individuals from multiple countries and races with the aim of describing normative values that could be applied to the global community world-wide, and to determine differences and similarities among people from different countries and races. The current report focuses specifically on 2D left ventricular dimensions, volumes, and function.”

Other papers in this issue cover prognostic value of LV and RV ejection fractions measured by 3D echo, several papers on echo in percutaneous valve interventions, a paper on the influences of basal septal thickening on myocardial strain measurements, the novel role for myocardial strain assessment in HFpEF, assessment of aortic coarctation by fetal echo, and a pre-clinical investigation on the imaging of ischemic memory complemented by an editorial, “Ischemic Memory Imaging: The Quest for the Holy Grail Continues,” by Yin Ge, MD, and Howard Leong-Poi, MD, FASE. A brief research communication explores the feasibility and reproducibility of transthoracic echo in obese patients. The 20th Annual Feigenbaum Lecture topic on Precision Medicine that was presented in June is also included. The President’s Message by Madhav Swaminathan, MD, MMCi, FASE, explores ASE’s exciting new Leadership Academy and its inaugural group of outstanding members. The Sonographers’ Communication by Neha Soni-Patel, BS, RDCS, (AE/PE), RCCS, FASE, looks at barriers to sonographer education, and becoming life-long learners.

Gratitude, Reflections, and Parachutes – Dr. Madhav Swaminathan’s November Presidential Blog

You cannot do a kindness too soon because you never know how soon it will be too late.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Charles Plumb, a fighter pilot in the United States Navy, was captured and spent six years in a Vietnamese prison after his plane was shot down. He had ejected and parachuted into enemy territory, and he survived. Many years later, at a restaurant, a man walked up to him and said: “You’re Plumb! You flew jet fighters in Vietnam from the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk. You were shot down! I packed your parachute. I guess it worked!” Plumb replied, “It sure did. If your chute hadn’t worked, I wouldn’t be here today.” Plumb realized that we often fail to recognize those who play an important part in providing us what we need to get through our day. Gratitude is often an underused social emotion. Read more here

Accreditation Perceptions Survey by IAC

To measure perceptions related to the value of imaging and intervention-based procedure accreditation from a wide range of stakeholders, across multiple specialties, Authentic Testing has been engaged by the Intersocietal Accreditation Commission (IAC) to develop a survey. This survey is applicable to those accredited by any accrediting organization and also facilities that are not currently accredited. All are encouraged to respond to the survey; the results will be used to improve the accreditation process and ensure that the needs of those involved in imaging and intervention-based procedures are being met.  Respondents will be kept anonymous.

This survey should only take 4-5 minutes to complete. Thank you in advance for your time.

ASE Foundation Announces Three E21 Research Grants for Clinician-Scientist and Engineering

The ASE Foundation, the American Society of Echocardiography (ASE), and the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine’s (AIUM) Endowment for Education and Research are pleased to announce the funding of three, highly innovative research proposals, totaling almost $600,000 in supported research. Additional funding support for these grants was provided by the National Board of Echocardiography, Inc., Bracco, Inc., and Lantheus Medical Imaging, Inc. Read more here.

ASE’s Involvement with Chagas Disease Expected to be the Catalyst for More Action

Dr. Federico Asch, MedStar Health, recently represented ASE as the only U.S.-based speaker at a congress in Mexico City commemorating the 110-year discovery of Chagas Disease. Dr. Asch’s involvement as co-chair of ASE’s 2018 guideline document on Chagas disease (translated in Spanish, Portuguese, and Chinese) and his role as the ASE leader of “Project Chagas,” an ASE Foundation (ASEF) global health initiative that focused on pre-identified patients diagnosed with Chagas disease, made him a logical choice for this speaking engagement.

A collaboration between government and academia, the three-day meeting was organized by Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, one of the largest public universities in Latin America, and CENAPRECE, the preventative disease group within Mexico’s national Department of Health. The overarching goal was to increase awareness of Chagas disease among the community and to understand the status of multiple initiatives being conducted at a regional and national level to improve disease detection and treatment through collaborations between institutions and caregivers at different levels. The meeting focused on three sections – the parasite, the vector, and the disease – and was attended by microbiologists, epidemiologists, and physicians, mostly from within Mexico.  Dr. Asch’s presentation was on the findings of the ASEF Project Chagas activity in Mérida, which were previously presented at ASE Scientific Sessions 2019 in Portland.

The Chagas conference gave representatives from ASE and Mexican government and academia the opportunity to come together. Left to right: Dra. Bertha Espinoza Gutierrez, UNAM, CDMX; Dr. Federico Asch, ASE; Dr. Adolfo Chavez Mendoza, Instituto Nacional de Cardiologia and Secretariat of Health; Yurika Manuel Valencia, CENAPRECE.

The goal of ASEF’s Project Chagas was to investigate the prevalence of Chagas cardiomyopathy, detect those individuals previously undiagnosed, and connect them with local cardiologists who would provide proper cardiac care within the regional public system. ASE physician and sonographer volunteers worked alongside representatives from CENAPRECE and the Yucatan Health Service, volunteers from the National Cardiology Association of Mexico (ANCAM), and industry partners from Philips Mexico Commercial S.A. de C.V.  The event was hosted by the project’s institutional partner, Hospital General Agustin O Horan in Mérida.

When asked about his takeaways from the meeting, Dr. Asch stated, “My main take was how the ASEF/ANCAM experience brings a call for reality, understanding how underdiagnosed the cardiac disease of Chagas is, and how it brings an opportunity for action to detect and treat these people. The wide interest from experts around the country and the Public Services was strong and their intent for expanding Project Chagas into other regions of the country is there. We expect to be the catalyst for that action.”

For more information about cardiac imaging of patients with Chagas disease, read the 2018 ASE guideline document, and also this information about “Project Chagas,” the ASEF global health initiative held in August 2018 in Mérida, Yucatán, México.

 

 

Call for Officers and Board Nominations is Now Open

ASE is seeking the best and brightest members to move forward the mission and goals of the Society and the ASE Foundation. Now is your opportunity to become a leader in ASE/ASEF. If you are an active member and meet the criteria outlined on the Open Positions and Criteria page, ask a friend or colleague who is also a member to submit a nomination on your behalf. Positions are available on the ASE Board of Directors, ASE Foundation Board of Directors, and ASE Council Steering Committees. With ASE’s new governance structure the ASE Foundation Board is now a separate entity from the ASE Board of Directors.  All positions are open to any member regardless of specialty (sonographer, pediatrician, critical care, circulation and vascular ultrasound, anesthesiologist, etc.). ASE is looking for a diverse pool of nominees.

The process is easy. Candidates need to have one letter of nomination, up to three letters of support from active members that outline the candidate’s leadership abilities, a current CV, a one to two page personal vision statement, a completed brief online self-assessment survey, and a completed conflict of interest and disclosure statement. Guidelines for submitting nominations can be found on ASE’s nominations page.

The deadline for submission of nominations is November 29, 2019. Ask an active ASE member TODAY to submit your nomination. Please contact Nominations@ASEcho.org with any questions or to submit nominations.