News | April 12, 2012

Maryland Law Requires Peer Review of Coronary Stents Implants

Cardiologists praise assembly because of help adhering to evidence-based medicine

April 12, 2012 — The Maryland General Assembly set a high bar for the nation and showed its commitment to patients by passing legislation establishing an independent review of the placement of stents in heart patients to ensure consistency with guidelines developed by the American College of Cardiology and other organizations, the Maryland Chapter of the American College of Cardiology said.

“An independent peer review process is critical to continuously assess patient safety and to ensure quality care for this essential, life-saving service,” said chapter President Marc Mugmon, M.D., FACC.

The Maryland Chapter of the American College of Cardiology proactively sought legislation last year to deal with the inconsistent utilization of peer review and its proposals were adopted as an amendment to HB 1141. The chapter was the catalyst in seeking enhanced independent, external peer review.

The Maryland chapter, at the invitation of the Maryland Health Care Commission, will be an integral part of the regulatory process to implement regulations and ongoing performance measures as a member of the newly established Clinical Advisory Group.

"The cardiovascular community, especially members of the American College of Cardiology, look forward to working with the Maryland Health Care Commission to develop regulations for peer review,” Mugmon said.

“The peer review component of the bill, which requires the development of minimum standards in the next year, will set a national precedent in cardiac care,” Mugmon said. “Peer review is a fundamental component of any comprehensive continuous quality improvement effort and will enhance patient safety by providing constructive, objective feedback to cardiologists in a collaborative environment.”

“Independent, external review will be free of bias and politics, and by identifying individual operator strengths and weaknesses, it will help achieve the highest standard of performance,” Mugmon said. “This process will complement robust internal programs and will rapidly identify and address potential deviations from accepted evidence-based guidelines for the use of stents.”

The Maryland Chapter, led by past-President Samuel Goldberg, M.D., FACC, and assisted by a team of clinical, interventional and academic cardiologists throughout the state, advocated for this legislation for the past two years.

“We are grateful that the Maryland Health Care Commission and the general assembly listened and finally understand the importance of this legislation to heart patients in Maryland,” Goldberg said. “We hope this will serve as a model for other states.”

The bill now goes to Governor Martin O’Malley for signature.

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