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President's Message
April 2021

Dear VCACC Members:

Our chapter has been busy over the last six months despite the difficulties that the virus has presented. Below is a comprehensive overview of our community activity. This will be my last newsletter as the current Virginia ACC president. I have enjoyed my time interacting and serving our Virginia ACC community immensely. Taking over for me is Evan Ownby, MD, FACC, an interventional cardiologist from Lynchburg, Virginia, who I have no doubt will be highly successful in this position. We look forward to a highly successful upcoming three years!

Thank you,

Michael Kontos, MD, FACC

President, Virginia Chapter ACC

2020 Mid-Atlantic Capital Cardiology Symposium (MACCS) The annual MACCS regional ACC meeting, a collaboration among the Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and DC Chapters, was held November 22, 2020. Despite the virtual format, it was highly successful, with over 174 registrants, including attendees from eight states outside our region and three nations. Initiated three years ago, the Saturday FIT Forum was organized and led by Shashank Sinha (VA) and Sammy Zakaria (MD) and attracted over 40 FITs. The Forum covered important non-clinical topics concerning the practice of cardiology, including Strategizing Your Job Search, the Art of Negotiation, Perspectives from Practice, RVUs/Physician Payment, Personal Finance, and Work-Life Integration. Our FITs greatly value this practical information from experienced cardiologists. The full agenda for the 2020 FIT Forum can be found here.

The Sunday MACCS Conference itself was themed around Diversity, Inclusion, and Women’s Cardiovascular Health, was organized and led by Doctors Andrew Choi (DC) and Victor Soukoulis (VA) and was funded in part by an ACC Chapter-Section grant co-authored by MDACC President Dr. Garima Sharma. The keynote speaker for MACCS was Dr. Quinn Capers of Ohio State, a renowned authority on the topic of Implicit Bias in medicine and its potential effect on medical school admissions and disparities in care (talk available here). The day also featured outstanding lectures on Cardio-Obstetrics, Post-Partum Hypertension, Menopause and CV Health, PFO Closure, Pulmonary Hypertension, and Cardiac Amyloidosis.

The FIT Young Investigators Award competition was won by Dr. Todd Teigeler of Virginia Commonwealth University. The other YIA finalists were: Binaya Patel (DC), Anum Minhas (MD), Toral Patel (VA), and Shaneke Weerakoon (DC). There were 32 additional FIT abstracts accepted. Top Poster honors were awarded to: Imran Aslam (MD), Dinesh Kadariya (VA), Chau Vo (VA), Eunice Yang (MD), and Charan Yerasi (DC). Congratulations to all our FIT and CVTeam presenters and award winners! Planning for MACCS 2021 planning will start soon. Please forward any questions, ideas, and suggestions for the 2021 conference to!

FIT Jeopardy This year as with many other programs, FIT Jeopardy has been competed virtual. The competition among the fellow programs was held in February, with the team from University of Virginia winning and representing the state of Virginia (and defending the VA national championship from 2019, the last time the competition was held) in the national competition. In preliminary competition between Georgia, Florida, Maryland, New Hampshire, and PennsylvaniaVirginia came out on top! They move the national semi-finals to be held at the time of ACC.21.

Virginia 2021 Winter Legislative Meeting Similarly, this spring, the Virginia ACC, working in concert with other VA specialty organizations in collaboration with the Medical Society Virginia, helped to promote a number of important health related legislative initiatives. Two were directly applicable to cardiology practice. The first, Support for the Expansion of Telehealth and Telemedicine, was to expand the range of reimbursable telehealth services and encourage payers to cover audio-only telehealth services. The final bill included language on prescribing after establishing a patient relationship, money for remote patient monitoring for Medicaid, and expanded audio-only for telehealth services. The second was expansion of the Clinician Well Being Program, SafeHaven™. This was expanded to include nurse practitioners, pharmacists, medical students, PA students, pharmacy students, and nursing students. These efforts were supported unanimously through the legislature and was signed last week by Governor Northam.

National ACC Legislative Conference and initiatives The ACC's 2020 Legislative Conference was the largest to date, with 614 participants spanning the entire cardiovascular care team. Virtual educational sessions helped to educate clinicians about the most pressing health policy issues before Congress and a total of 327 virtual meetings were held with members of Congress and/or their staff. Virginia had a strong contingent who met virtually with many of our state representatives and our two senators to promote legislative initiatives including protecting telehealth services, increasing patient access to cardiac rehabilitation, promoting clinician well-being, and decreasing administrative burdens (which addressed streamlining pre-authorization practices and increasing transparency).

ACC.21 Scientific Sessions The American College of Cardiology's 70th Annual Scientific Session & Expo is now an ALL VIRTUAL experience streaming live May 15 – 17, 2021, with “On Demand” access. Due to travel restrictions the decision was made to transition the meeting from a hybrid model to entirely virtual. Despite this, it promises to be great educational experience. For more information on registration, please click here.

BOG Grant Each year, the Board of Governors sponsors a number of state grants that are highly competitive. This year, Virginia, in collaboration with Iowa and Louisiana, received one of these grants. It has been recognized that a significant number of graduating fellows do not renew their membership dues as Early Career cardiologists. The goal of this grant is to address this issue by promoting and encouraging FITs who are transitioning to an early career to continue their membership in the ACC. Please stay tuned as this initiation as this grant is implemented over the next year.

COVID Vaccinations As efforts have increased and supplies have expanded, increasing numbers of our patients have been and/or are undergoing vaccination. It is likely that soon most patients who want to be vaccinated will have it done successfully. However, we will still have a significant number of our patients who are reluctant to undergo vaccination for a variety of reasons. The ACC has formulated a document explaining the benefits of vaccination that may be useful for you when you see your patients. Also, has a website dedicated to COVID information that is constantly updated as new data becomes available.

New Guidelines and A number of new guidelines in clinical statements have been released by the ACC. These include updated recommendations around hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and valvular heart disease. Additionally Expert Consensus Decision Pathways focused on Optimization of Heart Failure Treatment and same day discharge after PCI have also been released. The guidelines have been organized around “hubs” to increase ease of use that provides additional wealth or information. This include quick reference guides, slides, related clinical policies, apps and tools, education, and patient resources.

BVS and VCACC leadership

VCACC is proud to announce that we are the official international exchange partner with the British Cardiovascular Society (BCS). Members John Brush, MD, FACC, Christopher Kramer, MD, FACC and Michael Valentine, MD, FACC, signed the agreement at the BCS conference in Manchester, England at the beginning of June. On behalf of the BCS Sarah Clarke, MD, FACC, President, and Simon Ray, MD, President-elect welcomed the entire chapter. Plans are being made for the exchange of innovative ideas, patient care models, international clinical experiences that would be open to all VCACC members.


Our purpose is to contribute to the prevention of cardiovascular diseases, to ensure optimal quality of care for individuals with such diseases, and to foster the highest professional ethical standards.

british cardiovascular society Annual Conference 2021: Early Bird Registration is Open!

Click here for additional information

Congress All Ears on Telehealth Expansion Post-Pandemic 

With Medicare and many private payers now covering an expanded list of telehealth services as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress continues to wrestle with post-pandemic virtual care, particularly around quality of care and patient safety, privacy and security, and appropriate payment. Several key House and Senate committees have met to discuss options. Most recently, the House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing this week to discuss the expansion of access to telehealth for Medicare beneficiaries. This continues to be a priority issue for your ACC Advocacy team in ongoing discussions with Congress. ACC members are encouraged to help amplify these messages by meeting with lawmakers and sharing expertise and lessons learned. For help with scheduling a meeting, email

ACC Membership Renewal

The ACC and Chapter membership renewal deadline is just around the corner on December 10th. This year, the greater ACC community has rallied together to face unprecedented challenges to our practices and our communities. 

Be sure your voice is at the table in 2021. Our membership prices are the same. Additionally, if you’re unable to pay your full renewal amount—contact us. Your membership is worth more than a single year’s dues payment, and we’re happy to work with you on alternate payment options for 2021.

Additionally, at the Chapter level, we’ve been hard at work providing you with localized opportunities for involvement, education and networking—plus providing you with representation to lawmakers and decision makers at the local and state levels.

Keep ACC as your cardiovascular home as together we transform CV care and improve heart health.

Renew online or by calling ACC Member Care at 202-375-6000, ext. 5603.


The ACC has pulled together COVID-19 information and resources and is updating it daily. Click here for the COVID-19 Hub.  

For the free Summer Education Series, click here 


ACC CardioSmart recently published the infographic below to emphasize the importance of maintaining heart health through the epidemic. Click here for additional information.

Heart Health during COVID-19 graphic

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Virginia Chapter of the American College of Cardiology

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Charlottesville, VA 22911

Phone: 877-793-8171

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