News & Views checked in with AACVPR President Dean Diersing to get a line on the association's movements since late last year. In this quick question-and-answer session, he fills us in on what has been accomplished during the first half of his presidency and what work is still in front of the organization. Based on Diersing's responses, AACVPR is getting things done, with no signs of slowing down! Read more below.
What word best describes the AACVPR “experience” in 2021 so far, and why?
ACCELERATE. After a year of global crisis that forced us all to navigate the challenge of safely providing critical cardiopulmonary rehabilitation services, we are finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Vaccinations are being widely distributed and in-person rehab is returning at full capacity. Our new normal is settling in and now, we’re stepping on the gas. The energy this year – palpable in our community’s enthusiasm and collaboration – is electric. We’re on the cusp of the future of cardiopulmonary rehabilitation and we’re going full throttle into a post-pandemic world.
What kind of progress has been made at the association level during the first half of the year? Where are we now? What challenges still lie ahead?
Last year at the virtual Annual Meeting, I shared our 2021 goals as outlined in the 2020-2022 AACVPR Strategic Plan. A critical pillar of that plan is advancing the scientific basis and evaluation of outcomes for CR and PR. Even through a tough year, we’ve seen high engagement with our key program offerings including AACVPR program certification, the Certified Cardiac Rehabilitation Professional (CCPR) certification, year-round education and monthly webcasts.
In addition, I’m pleased to share that we are on track to our goal of establishing a data analytic center for the AACVPR Registries. We’ve moved from the policies and procedures stage to begin evaluating the quality and completeness of existing registry data. I’m looking forward to reporting more progress later this year at the 36th Annual Meeting. More on that in a bit!
AACPVR continues to lead the strategy for innovative methods of delivery of CR and PR. Last fall, a landmark event, the Million Hearts Think Tank, brought together key stakeholders across the entire field of cardiac rehab to discuss new care models. An outcome of that meeting was a strategic plan focused on advancing these new models to help CR programs meet the changing landscape and continue to serve patients, including many who do not have access to our critical, lifesaving services now. AACVPR is committed to continuing our work in this space alongside our partners and you can expect to hear regular updates on our progress.
In March, we launched the Virtual Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehabilitation Module Series. This three-part series is free to AACVPR members, thanks to support from Chanl Health and Phas3 Health, and guides you through evidence-based virtual delivery, components of delivery, regulatory considerations, and real-world case studies. If you haven’t yet, I highly recommend exploring the modules.
I’m also so proud at the turnout for our first-ever virtual Day on the Hill (DOTH). More than 125 AACVPR members met virtually with Congressional representatives to promote the SOS: Sustaining Outpatient Services Act. Without the need to travel to Washington D.C., more programs across the country were able to represent themselves in presenting the urgent need for expanded capacity and more convenient rehab locations for our patients.
Let’s keep up that same energy when we are asked to garner support for HR 1956, which will move the effective date that NPPs will be able to order and supervise CR/ICR/PR services to January 2022. That’s two years earlier than the current effective date of January 2024, thanks to a bill that AACVPR worked hard to pass in 2018.
What is the ONE THING, #1 priority, for AACVPR by the end of 2021?
If I had to pick just one priority for the rest of this year, it’s our people. Everything we do is to create a stronger, collaborative community and to accelerate down this road of the healthy side of business. AACVPR is committed to program quality and sustainability, ensuring our members and programs have the tools and resources available to meet the evolving healthcare landscape. All of that culminates at the AACVPR Annual Meeting and I’m so happy to welcome you all in person to my home state this fall. I hope you are making plans to join us October 6-9, in San Antonio to make connections and discover valuable tools and skills that will enhance your program and help you provide quality patient care.
Until we can reconnect in Texas, I hope to “see” y’all on AACVPR Central, our new members-only online community. Every day I learn something new from our members on “The Pulse,” an open discussion forum for asking questions and crowd-sourcing ideas and solutions. You’ll also find groups specific to cardiac rehab and pulmonary rehab.
We are stronger together and I am looking forward to discovering the future of cardiopulmonary rehabilitation alongside this community of exceptional professionals.