Urgent Action – Contact Your Senators

Last Friday Senators John Boozman (R-AR) and Peter Welch (D-VT) along with 30 bipartisan cosigners sent a letter to Senate leaders calling for a legislative solution to protect access to Medicare services by canceling the 3.37% cut to physician Medicare payments that went into effect on January 1.

If your Senators signed the letter (click link for full list), we encourage you and your membership to reach out to their offices on social media, email or phone via the Senate switchboard to thank them for their support and to remind them that the job is not done.

Time is of the essence—in the coming days Congress is expected to take up the 2024 appropriation funding bills, and we must ensure that full relief from the devastating 3.37% cut is included in this package. Behind the scenes negotiations are ongoing and it’s imperative that your Senators are engaged in fixing the problem.

If your Senators did not sign the letter, it’s still important that you contact them and let them know how damaging these cuts are to physicians and their patients in your state.

For additional resources please visit fixmedicarenow.org for more information.

The time is now to cancel the cut!

Echo VOL | 13 Issue 2

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Images from the Heart – Call for Photos

The ASE Foundation is accepting photograph submissions for the 2024 Images from the Heart photo exhibit. We are bringing back this beautiful display and we want your best shots! We are looking for pictures that you’ve taken from the heart that have meaning to you; they do not have to be medical in nature. Think of the phrases, “I left my heart in…” and “This has my heart” when considering what photos to submit. We invite you to share these memories (and tell us what they mean to you) for our exhibit, to be held during the ASE 2024 Scientific Sessions in Portland, OR, June 14 – 16.

Entries will be accepted until April 19. Full submission details can be found here. Give us your best shot! 

Vote for New Officers and Board of Directors by March 24

An important role in your ASE membership each year is to cast your vote for the ASE Board of Directors. Now is the time for you to select the 2024 Slate of Officers and Directors by using this ballot. You may choose to vote for the person nominated or write-in a nominee in the blank space provided. However, you can only vote for one person for each position, and all write-in nominees must be active ASE members. Your ballot must be received by March 24, 2024.

The new officers and directors will be introduced at the 35th ASE Scientific Sessions during the State of ASE Presidential Address on Saturday, June 15, 2024. This session is open to all Scientific Sessions registrants and will be streamed live for virtual attendees.

ASE Needs Your Help!

We urge all members of the Society to contact their Senators by today or tomorrow (deadline is Thursday EOB Feb. 22) and request support of the Boozman-Welch Doc Cut Fix bill. This bill urges Senate action on the 3.37% Medicare physician fee schedule conversion factor reduction that went into place on January 1, 2024, and references year-over-year cuts, workforce shortages, and the need for long-term payment reform.

Here is an example of the message you can send to your U.S. Senate representatives:

“On behalf of the American Society of Echocardiography’s physicians and Medicare patients alike, I request your commitment to work together with your colleagues in a bipartisan fashion to include physician payment relief policies in the March 1st government funding legislation.”

Please contact your Senate offices (link goes to a site to help you identify your representative and send this message) and ask them to cosign this letter and support the medical community and your patients.

Are You …Ready For February CASE?

The latest issue of CASE is now available with intriguing reports, including “Coronary Artery Aneurysm Rupture in Kawasaki Disease and SARS-CoV-2 Infection” by Wood et al. Editor-In-Chief Vincent L. Sorrell, MD, FASE, remarked, “This CASE report describes an amazing rapid increase in coronary artery dimensions in a two month old with acute Kawasaki disease. Their images graphically demonstrate the profound changes seen with serial transthoracic echocardiography. The proximal coronaries were demonstrated to increase from normal size to large aneurysms with Z scores of >8 (RCA) and >20 (LAD) on day nine. I was flabbergasted by the massive dilation that occurred [over such a short time-frame] and saddened, but not entirely surprised, by the devastating clinical outcome.”

This issue presents two cases in Valvular Heart Disease, including one involving acute transvalvular MR after bioprosthetic MVR, and a report illustrating unique approaches to the management of acute prosthetic valve embolization including LVAD setting manipulation. Just Another Day in the Echo Lab offers two reports, one exemplifying the potential clinical merit of manufactured ultrasound enhancing agents to reveal the actual grade of MR, and another showing the value of TTE for patients presenting with a clinical syndrome suspicious for an acute myocardial infarction. Finally, a report for Veterinary Clinical Cardiovascular Medicine contains a surgical video with demonstrations of epicarditis and pericarditis in a dog, exploring the various origins of pericardial pathologies. Dr. Sorrell compares the impact of a worldwide pop star phenomenon to the daily impact of echo in this month’s editorial.

Looking for a journal to submit your case report to? We want to hear from you! Email us with questions or submit your report today. Be sure to check out the latest Sonographer Sound-Off and Unlock the CASE features on the CASE Homepage to view more extraordinary work from your colleagues.

ASE Welcomes Children’s Mercy as a New Participant in the ImageGuideEcho™ Registry

Children’s Mercy Kansas City is the latest institution to join ASE’s ImageGuideEcho™ Registry, the nation’s first echo-specific clinical data registry for quality improvement. ImageGuideEcho Registry Committee Chair Jordan Strom, MD, MSc, FASE, says, “We are thrilled to welcome Children’s Mercy as the first pediatric hospital to join the ImageGuideEcho Registry. Their participation will strengthen their already strong commitment to providing quality care for children with congenital heart disease. As the Registry continues to grow and expand, we look forward to working with Children’s Mercy to help pioneer the future of echocardiography.”

As a benefit of ASE membership, members can participate in the ImageGuideEcho Registry for FREE. For more information about your how institution can enroll, email Info@ImageGuideEcho.org or call 919-297-7174.

Echo Hawaii Online Library Now Available

Now is the time to purchase access to the Echo Hawaii Online Library that includes all the recorded content (except workshops) from the 2024 live course that took place January 15-19, 2024. This online activity includes thelatest methods for evaluating ventricular systolic and diastolic function, valve function, pericardial disease, ischemic heart disease, critical care echo, and use of TEE. Additional sessions on the assessment and guidance of cardiac devices, integration of echo in patients with cardiomyopathies, contrast ultrasound for cavity opacification and perfusion, strain echocardiography, and 3D imaging round out the content. This activity does not include CME and is available until January 31, 2027. Remember to log in to your ASE Member Portal to receive your discounted member price of $125 USD.

Shape the Future of Cardiovascular Ultrasound! Participate in ASE’s 2024 Trends Survey

Don’t miss the chance to influence critical aspects of healthcare within the dynamic field of cardiovascular ultrasound. Complete ASE’s 2024 Trends Survey today!

The survey is open until Thursday, February 28, 2024. It only takes 15 minutes to complete and dives into key areas such as practice management, equipment, workflow, specialized areas of practice, and emerging technologies. Your responses play a pivotal role in shaping ASE programs, resources, and providing a comprehensive overview of the challenges and opportunities in the field.

Participants will have the opportunity to enter a drawing for one of two $100 Visa gift cards. Simply provide your name and email at the end of the survey.

We also encourage you to amplify the impact! Share the survey link with fellow professionals in the echo community and post it on relevant non-ASE medical forums. This survey is open to both members and nonmembers. The more people who participate, the better!

2024 Council Travel Grants Available

Applications Close April 15

The ASE Foundation funds Council Travel Grants for trainees to support their attendance at the ASE 2024 Scientific Sessions, which this year will be held in Portland, OR, June 14-16. These grants are part of an ongoing effort by ASEF and the Council Steering Committees to encourage trainees in cardiovascular specialties, provide echo-specific educational opportunities, and encourage participation of these enthusiastic new members in the ASE Councils.

Recipients will receive a $1,000 USD travel stipend to support their attendance at ASE 2024. Don’t miss your opportunity to apply for a 2024 ASE Foundation Travel Grant.

Application instructions can be found online. Contact Suzanne Morris at SMorris@ASEcho.org with any questions.