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News & Press: Member News

From the desk of the President, Lori Kaczmarek

Monday, April 20, 2020  
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From the Desk of the President, Lori Kaczmarek, MSN, RN, VA-BC™

While much is happening in the world around us, I want to update you on what is happening within the Association for Vascular Access (AVA). First, I would like to recognize all AVA members and clinicians around the world as you continue to make an impact in the lives of your patients. For many, vascular access used to take a “back seat” in hospital budgets, often considered an “anyone can do it” item on the task list. It’s unfortunate that it takes a crisis like this to shine a spotlight on this vital specialty and the critical role practicing safe vascular access plays in our health care delivery.  

It’s apparent that COVID-19 is rapidly changing the health care landscape and will alter our practice forever. AVA is working to keep its members updated and educated via multiple platforms, such as webinars, episodes of the ISAVE That Podcast, the Journal of the Association for Vascular Access (JAVA), Intravascular Quarterly (IQ) and our robust social media platforms. Key organization leaders and industry partners continue to support this vital need through their sponsorship – thank you!

If you missed any recent webinars, check them out on AVA Academy and don’t forget to view the entire course catalog. And while I know it’s not on the top of everyone’s “to-do” list, don’t forget to renew your AVA membership so you don’t miss any of the benefits our organization offers.

Many want to know the status of the national AVA Scientific Meeting (AVASM), scheduled for September 12-15 in Denver, Colorado. At this time, there are no plans to postpone or cancel the event, however, this continues to be reassessed weekly. We are moving forward based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), local and national government recommendations along with the status of COVID cases in Denver. AVA is preparing for all contingencies including virtual meeting options should the need arise. We will continue to update you through our website, email and social media.

On a legislative note, AVA is among more than 160 stakeholders lending their support to the National Home Infusion Association (NHIA) asking Medicare to lift their restriction on home infusions during this public health emergency. There is disparity among a vulnerable population, namely our seniors covered by Medicare versus those covered by private insurance. Medicare recipients are required to present to outpatient infusion centers and hospitals while those covered by private insurance are often covered for the same infusion at home.

As a result, patients are skipping vital infusions due to stay at home orders, lack of transportation options due to the shutdown, or the fear of going to hospitals or infusion centers where they may face an increased risk of COVID-19 exposure. Alternatively, these seniors would need to pay out-of-pocket costs for a home infusion option. When you see the social media and messages from AVA and NHIA this week regarding this legislation, please share and retweet the message. Let’s get this matter before our state and national government officials so we can impact change!

Finally, an update on AVA’s search for our new CEO. In my last update, the Board of Directors was in the process of identifying an executive search firm. The Board has narrowed its option down to 2 or 3 companies. While we monitor the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, we decided to start an independent search and began advertising and reviewing applicants last week. More than 125 individuals submitted an application in just one week’s time. The board is busy narrowing the field of candidates for the position and selecting those that will advance to the interview process. The application submission period will likely remain open for another week based on responses, and it is my hope that we will have the field of candidates narrowed down by our next board meeting, scheduled for May 11.

In closing, on behalf of the AVA Board and its staff, you all are in our thoughts daily. Thank you again for those reporting to work, even placing your own health and safety at risk for others. To those staying at home, thank you as well. I see the staggering numbers of COVID-19 cases and deaths reported every day and realize that everyone in our membership and clinicians around the world are impacted. We will continue to support you and provide the needed education to make this a world with safe vascular access.