In this issue, read about how transcatheter aortic valve replacement is shaping the future of the specialty—including details on the new national coverage determination, exciting changes in store for the STS National Database, two STS members who received grants from The Thoracic Surgery Foundation, the latest STS member needs-assessment survey, and more.
With trends emerging and new data available, the time may have finally come to designate transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) as the preferred treatment for aortic stenosis in most patients. Since the first valve implantation in 2002, TAVR’s feasibility and effectiveness have consistently been substantiated by an accumulation of rigorous, evidence-based clinical experience.
A major transformation is under way to the STS National Database that will change the way that participants interact with the Database, monitor performance, and use the Database for quality improvement initiatives at their own institutions. The Society will be using a new data warehouse that will provide Database participants with cloud-based technology, interactive dashboards, unique insights using real-time results, and resource savings through streamlined data collection.
My mother always said that we need to rise to the occasion when things seem challenging in our personal or professional life. Challenges met successfully enhance our ability to tackle the next big obstacle; she would say “pressure makes diamonds.” For our specialty, recent circumstances surrounding the public reporting of surgical outcomes have and will continue to create a beachhead and challenge our profession to rise to the occasion.
If physicians used clinical research the way that the health care industry uses physician compensation surveys, patient outcomes would be as unpredictable as practice valuations. Most market participants believe that compensation surveys establish a fair market value of physician compensation. Defining ranges of fair market value of physician compensation using these surveys, however, reveals a systemic misunderstanding of the data and leads to an indefensible valuation practice.
For most people, April 15 means IRS (tax day). For me, April 15 meant STS (first day on the job as Executive Director). Paying my taxes can be painful; joining STS has been joyful. For more than 25 years, I’ve worked on health care issues and/or been in the professional association management world. Combining my passion for both into one STS executive director position has been energizing, exhilarating, and only occasionally exhausting.
Find the latest updates on STS member job changes and promotions, including for Drs. Doug Wood, Stephen Lahey, Sloane Guy, Faiz Bhora, Gilbert Massard, Hiroo Takayama, Kenton Zehr, José Luis Navia, Antonio Laudito, Gordon Cohen, and Andy Kiser.
For cardiothoracic surgeons establishing their research programs or pursuing advanced surgical training, grants from The Thoracic Surgery Foundation (TSF) can serve as stepping stones to bigger endeavors. Two previous grant recipients have found that the support provided by TSF has had a significant impact on their careers.
Practice arrangements are changing and professional challenges are becoming more intense for many STS members, according to the most recent member needs-assessment survey. Approximately 800 members (12%) responded to the online survey, conducted in November and December 2018.
Read about new research on coronary artery bypass grafting surgery and the opioid crisis, scientific abstract submission for three educational events, international conferences attended by the Society's leaders, and more.
Patient access to transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) will be expanded while patient safety requirements are maintained with the recent publication of a new national coverage determination (NCD) for TAVR. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has made several important changes to existing Medicare coverage terms for this procedure.