By AACVPR President Wen-Chih “Hank” Wu, MD, MPH
The concept of interdisciplinary care is already common practice in cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation (CR/PR) – where exercise physiologists, physical therapists, nurses, nutritionists, pharmacists, mental health professionals, administrators, providers and others cooperate as a unified team to meet the physical and emotional needs of patients. However, as healthcare becomes more and more complicated for those we treat, this integration of different disciplines will be even more critical to simplify the patient experience and further sharpen the focus on quality care. With that in mind, one focus during my term as AACVPR President will be to break down silos and encourage interdisciplinary practice in CR/PR.
In line with that mission, the hope is that you’ll embrace AACVPR as part of your integrated practice team. We’re here to support you, your staff and their educational needs as you strive to elevate the quality of care you deliver. By equal measure, each cardiopulmonary rehab member staff member is a part of the AACVPR team. The vision we have for the future of our organization and our industry depends on your passion, your voice and your expertise.
In addition to the central theme of integration, AACVPR will continue to champion two key pieces of legislation that can help us to deliver the cardiopulmonary rehab of the future. The SOS: Sustaining Outpatient Services Act (HR 955/S. 1849) and Sustainable Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Services in the Home Act (HR 1406) will move us closer to that goal by making life-saving and life-changing CR/PR treatment accessible to all patients who need it – AND in the environment where they want or need it to take place. To ensure that the quality of CR/PR does not suffer when administered in virtual or remote formats, AACVPR will work in the coming months to craft a position statement providing best practices for how core elements of cardiopulmonary rehabilitation can be delivered in non-center-based modalities.
To help the programs succeed, AACVPR will collaborate with the different affiliates to continue to make programmatic adaptations in the educational offerings. We’ll do the same for the Annual Meeting, adjusting the agenda to better support professional growth and engagement – particularly for staff members who are newly introduced to cardiac or pulmonary rehab. We aim to equip CR/PR programs with tools to improve staff satisfaction and retention, and we also expect to share resources both to reach more culturally diverse patients and to minimize health inequities in our field.
As my presidency gets underway, I cannot emphasize enough that you and your program are not alone. Despite hectic schedules, AACVPR members have carved out the time to volunteer, educate and learn in order to become better at what we do. We are a community of dedicated professionals who work together to achieve the goals we’ve laid out. We can all do our part. What I ask of each one of you is to light that spark of energy and enthusiasm for the future and start making the changes in your program that can shape the cardiopulmonary rehab of tomorrow.
Wen-Chih “Hank” Wu is a cardiologist and director of the Lifespan Cardiovascular Wellness and Prevention Center in Rhode Island. He is on the faculty at Brown University – as a professor of medicine and an associate professor of public health – and also serves as medical director of the home-based cardiac rehab program at the Providence VA health care system. Active on the AACVPR Board of Directors since 2018, Dr. Wu was installed as President during the 38th Annual Meeting in Milwaukee.