The American College of Cardiology headquarters known as Heart House in 2012
|Type||Nonprofit medical association|
|President||Mary Norine Walsh, MD, FACC|
|C. Michael Valentine, MD, FACC|
|Location||Washington, D.C., United States
The American College of Cardiology (ACC), based in Washington, D.C., is a nonprofit medical association established in 1949. The ACC is the professional home for the entire cardiovascular care team. The mission of the College and its more than 52,000 members is to transform cardiovascular care and to improve heart health. The ACC leads in the formation of health policy, standards and guidelines. The College operates national registries to measure and improve care, offers cardiovascular accreditation to hospitals and institutions, provides professional medical education, disseminates cardiovascular research and bestows credentials upon cardiovascular specialists who meet stringent qualifications. The ACC also produces the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, ranked number one among cardiovascular journals worldwide for its scientific impact.
In 1949, 13 cardiologists, led by Franz Groedel, MD, MACC and Bruno Kisch, MD, MACC, founded the American College of Cardiology during what is often called "The Golden Age of Cardiology." In his book "American Cardiology: The History of a Specialty and Its College," Bruce Fye, MD, MACC, details how in the period following World War II, factors like the increasing prevalence of heart disease, the advent of federal research funding, breakthroughs in technological innovations, and the growing availability of health insurance worked together to shape cardiology into a major academic and clinical discipline.
Given these dramatic changes taking place in the field of cardiovascular medicine, the College's founders, including Franz Groedel, MD, MACC, Robert P. Glover, MD, MACC, and others, made continuing education of practicing clinicians the mission of the College. Groedel articulated this mission best when he ordered that any ACC educational endeavor had to impart "a chunk of useful knowledge" to the practicing cardiologist.
The ACC established its headquarters, called Heart House, in Bethesda, Maryland, in 1977. In 2006, the College relocated to Washington, D.C.'s West End neighborhood.In January 2016, the ACC merged with the Society for Cardiovascular Patient Care (SCPC), which was renamed ACC Accreditation Services.
More about ACC's history is available at www.acc.org/about-acc/our-history.
Past papers for the ACC are held at the National Library of Medicine in Bethesda, Maryland.
The ACC has more than 52,000 members, including physicians, registered nurses, clinical nurse specialists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, doctors of pharmacology and practice administrators, specializing in cardiovascular care. Becoming a Fellow of the American College of Cardiology (FACC), Associate Fellow (AACC) or Affiliate member is based on training, specialty board certification, scientific and professional accomplishments and duration of active participation in a cardiovascular related field. At least 75 percent of professional activities must be devoted to the field of cardiovascular disease. Those achieving highest distinction in the field are awarded the title Master of the American College of Cardiology (MACC), a title bestowed upon a maximum of three practicing cardiologists each year.
ACC's member volunteers are the College's greatest asset when it comes to achieving strategic priorities and realizing its mission of transforming cardiovascular care and improving heart health. Member volunteers govern the organization, are the driving force behind the development of educational programming, products and guidelines, and shape ACC positions on both state and federal legislation.
As such, substantial - and largely unprecedented - changes to the College's governance structure were approved in December 2015 by the ACC Board of Trustees (BOT), with the goal of making the College more nimble, strategic, accountable and reflective of the diversity and breadth within the global cardiovascular community.
The ACC's governance structure and processes are based on a set of 11 principles approved by the Board of Trustees to ensure the ability of the College to be nimble, strategic, accountable and inclusive of the diverse needs of the global cardiovascular community. The College is governed by a small, centralized Board that is strategically focused on the ACC's mission to transform cardiovascular care and improve heart health. The BOT is supported by six Board standing committees, with additional committees and councils reporting up to these standing committees and responsible for tactical and operational decision-making related to College programs, policies and products.
The ACC is governed by its BOT, which also includes the President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer. Members of the Board of Governors serve as grassroots liaisons between the local chapters and the College's national headquarters and serve as an advisor body to the BOT. The President serves a one-year term.
More details about ACC's member and staff leadership can be found at www.acc.org/about-acc/leadership.
The ACC maintains 48 chapters, representing all 50 states in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Chapters are legally distinct entities from national ACC and do not share budgets or staffing. However, as of 2009, national members automatically become members of a local chapter.
ACC's 21 Member Sections are optional member communities that fuel the College's activities related to subspecialty and special interest areas. The Sections allow professionals to connect in a forum that matches their career focus, and provide opportunities for networking, advancement, publication and leadership development. The Sections are often a source for new initiatives and ideas that push forward educational programs, member products and events. Each Section is governed by a member council, and guided by a staff liaison.
Furthering ACC's commitment to being member driven, ACC's committees and working groups offer an opportunity for members to get involved in specific initiatives of interest and drive concepts related to quality, education, science and more. Working groups are often organized under the leadership of an ACC Member Section.
As early as the 1980s, the ACC partnered with the American Heart Association (AHA) to develop the first clinical practice guidelines for cardiovascular practice. In the 1990s, the ACC used the guidelines to lay the groundwork for studies documenting discrepancies best and actual cardiovascular practices. The ACC works with national organizations such as the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) to continually develop and update these guidelines.
In 2000, the ACC partnered with the AHA to begin development and publication of national performance measurement standards and data standards for both inpatient and outpatient care based on the guidelines. Measurement sets developed by ACC/AHA include: coronary artery disease, hypertension, heart failure, atrial fibrillation, cardiac rehabilitation, STEMI/NSTEMI, primary prevention and peripheral arterial disease. In addition, the ACC has submitted its measures to the National Quality Forum (NQF), with the majority of its measures receiving endorsement as national standards.
The College has also collaborated with specialty societies to undertake the task of developing and publishing clinical data standards. Clinical data standards developed include those for acute coronary syndrome, atrial fibrillation, heart failure and electrophysiology.
The ACC has published criteria for Single-Photon Emission Computed Tomography Myocardial Perfusion Imaging (SPECT MPI), Cardiac Computed Tomography (CCT) and Cardiac Magnetic Resonance Imaging (CMR) Imaging, resting transthoracic and transesophageal echocardiography (TTE/TEE) and echocardiography. Appropriate use criteria on coronary revascularization have also been developed.
The ACC's National Cardiovascular Data Registry (NCDR®) is a recognized source for measuring and quantifying outcomes and identifying gaps in the delivery of quality care. Data from NCDR is used in select pay-for-reporting and/or performance programs to demonstrate the benefits and challenges of such incentive programs. To date, the ACC has developed five hospital-based cardiovascular registries. In addition, the PINNACLE Registry(TM) is the nation's first and largest practice-based cardiovascular registry. In 2011, the ACC and The Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) launched the STS/ACC TVT Registry(TM), which tracks transcatheter valve therapy (TVT) procedures.
Currently several key quality initiatives are underway to help translate science into practice and improve outcomes for cardiovascular patients. These projects include the Door to Balloon (D2B) Alliance, Hospital to Home (H2H) and Imaging in FOCUS.
Launched in November 2006, the D2B allicance is focused on helping hospital not only reduce, but successfully sustain door-to-balloon (D2B) times to meet the guideline-recommended time of 90 minutes or less. The D2B Alliance provides hospitals with the evidence-based strategies and resources to focus on process improvement, interdisciplinary cooperation and coordination to substantially impact their door-to-balloon times, and thus, dramatically improve patient outcomes.
The H2H initiative, led by the ACC and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), is a national quality improvement campaign to reduce cardiovascular-related hospital readmissions and improve the transition from inpatient to outpatient status for individuals hospitalized with cardiovascular disease. Launched in 2009, H2H seeks to examine and address readmission problems.
Imaging in FOCUS is a community designed to guide implementation of appropriate use criteria and ensure patients are receiving the right care at the right time; the initiative has produced innovations such as pocket cards and mobile applications; access to an online community; and access to webinars, educational programs and performance improvement tools.
The ACC Foundation (ACCF) offers a variety of educational programs and products tailored to the needs of clinicians in a variety of specialty areas at all stages of their careers, with a focus on the flagship education event held each year -- ACC's Annual Scientific Session--where late-breaking clinical research is shared, attendees connect and network, and more.
The U.S. health care system has undergone radical change over the last decade resulting in a drastic shift in how medicine is practiced. Regardless of the countless hurdles and threats cardiology has faced, the ACC remains focused on the ultimate wellbeing of patients, both in the U.S. and around the world.
Through its advocacy efforts, the ACC builds relationships with Congress, federal government agencies, state legislative and regulatory bodies, private insurers and other policy making groups to advance the College's mission of improving heart health. Globally, the ACC is active on policies that address non-communicable diseases.