A brief history of the Maryland Chapter. Thanks go to former Chapter President Ed Kasper for the information he provided.
In the 1970s, a group of 50 cardiologists met in in Baltimore in response to questions about privileging for ECG readers. The late Leonard Scherlis, MD, FACC, Chief of Cardiology at the University of Maryland, chaired the meeting. The group formed the Maryland Society of Cardiology to deal with issues related to the practice of cardiology. This group became the voice of cardiology in the state. Donald Dembo, MD, FACC was its first president. The highlight of the year was a catered event and there would be an eminent speaker. It attracted virtually every cardiologist and cardiac surgeon in the area and was very well attended.
At that time, there was no ACC Maryland Chapter, but there were ACC Governors for Maryland. Some of you may have known Ed Kasper, MD, FACC, J. O’Neal Humphries, MD, FACC, the late Kenneth Baughman, MD, FACC, Donald Dembo, MD, FACC, Stephen Achuff, MD, FACC, the late Bernadine Healy, MD, FACC, and Keith Lindgren, MD, FACC, to name but a few.
In the late 1980s, the ACC was actively creating state chapters. On October 26, 1993, at Heart House in Bethesda, Md., the ACC accepted the Maryland Society of Cardiology as the state Chapter.
Even in the late 1970s, Maryland was a center of controversy with regard to procedures. In the early 1980s, the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen, led by Sidney Wolfe, reported – on the basis of hospital record face sheet data alone – that 33 percent of permanent pacemakers inserted in Maryland during 1979 and 1980, were “unnecessary or questionable.” Maryland ACC’s predecessor, the Maryland Society of Cardiology, with Doctors Scherlis and Dembo, reviewed 610 of 817 patients so classified. They published their results in the American Journal of Cardiology and concluded that, “Although coded as having received permanent pacemakers, 16 percent received only a temporary pacemaker or generator change. The proper diagnosis justifying a pacemaker was omitted in 53 percent of face sheets, and coding errors were found in 39 percent. A review of the complete medical record demonstrated valid indications in 95 percent of hospital records reviewed. Hospital record face sheets are inadequate for assessing the appropriateness of permanent pacemakers.” ( Scherlis L, Dembo DH. Problems in health data analysis: the Maryland permanent pacemaker experience in 1979 and 1980. Am J Cardiol. 1983 Jan 1;51(1):131-6.)
Before this rebuttal report was published, virtually every pacemaker implanted in Maryland needed to be preauthorized, and this was a significant time waster, since rarely was one deemed not to be indicated. After the report came out, the rules for preauthorization were relaxed, but it took a while before people realized how Wolfe’s report was seriously flawed.
We are still fighting these battles. Preauthorization is again adding to patient care delays and high administrative costs. This is just one small demonstration of how a healthy ACC can help to improve the care of our patients and make it easier for us to manage them.