Effective on January 5, CMS now recognizes interventional cardiology as its own specialty.
CMS in May had granted a request from the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions for a new specialty designation for interventional cardiology; the new designation can now be used.
The new specialty designation, C3, will enable interventional cardiologists to be compared against each other in performance metrics, rather than against all cardiologists, Peter Duffy, MD, MMM, FSCAI, secretary and chair of the advocacy and government relations committee for SCAI, said during a society organized webinar in December.
“We pushed quite hard to get this [specialty designation] because [interventional cardiologists] make up a distinct group of individuals practicing cardiology, and should be recognized aside from general cardiologists and even our colleagues who are invasive but noninterventional cardiologists,” he said. “More accurate physician profiles and fair comparison are critical to our success in the future.”
Performance scores are linked to physician profiles, but “the concern is that if we are compared to general cardiologists, we are going to be seen in some cases as overutilizers of procedures; our length of stay may be different; our mortality, even risk-adjusted, may be different. We want to … be able to compare ourselves to our colleagues who are doing pretty much the same work that we are doing. That hadn’t been possible in the past. With that comparison, we will be able to improve quality, find outliers … and improve performance across the board.”
The new designation will also allow interventional cardiologists to be reimbursed for consulting with noninterventional cardiologists, which was not possible before because the two were considered the same specialty, Duffy said during the webinar.
To change designation, an interventional cardiologist should notify his or her local coverage determination contractor, Duffy said. – by Erik Swain