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Physicians, Academics Clash Over Stents

Joe Cantlupe, for HealthLeaders Media, September 6, 2012

The 4,000-member Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions (SCAI), a Washington, D.C.-based organization representing invasive and interventional cardiologists, is one of the main special interest physician groups whose constituents perform such procedures. SCAI is watching the unfolding scenario involving HCA closely.

The group also monitors clinical trials and studies that often report contradictory findings about stent use, raising concerns among physicians. The question of unnecessary stenting goes to the heart of what SCAI is trying to do to improve outcomes for hospitals as well as physicians, and especially patients, says Jeffrey Marshall, MD, president of the SCAI, who practices at the Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville, GA.

With all the controversy involving stents, SCAI is stepping up its accreditation process for cardio labs and stepping up calls for hospitals to use registries to document stent use.

The organization has partnered with the American College of Cardiology to form a separate not-for-profit named Accreditation for Cardiovascular Excellence "to evaluate and accredit cath labs in our country," Marshall says. The organization was established two years ago. "These things started before (the HCA questions arose,) and now there is beginning to be a groundswell of support in the medical community for it," Marshall says.

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