SASCI: Annual General Meeting 2015

  • October 06, 2015

SASCI Annual Report 2015

It is my honour to take over the reins of a society which has such an important role to play in the ever changing cardiovascular health care environment. 
I would like to thank SASCI members for attending the AGM during AfricaPCR and for their contribution to the election of a new executive committee and office bearers. A society is only as strong as its members and is highly reliant on willing contributors to get involved in order to give guidance to the broader cardiology environment that we operate in.

Farrel Hellig has stepped down as President after the maximum of two 2-year terms as president and will continue to advice and guide the Exco as ex-officio president. Farrel has handed over a society full of drive and inspiration.  Whilst attending EuroPCR recently it occurred to me that like few before him, Farrel has succeeded in putting SA interventionists on the map. His 12 years of service on the Exco and especially the 4 years that he served as president are appreciated by all the members of the society. I know that I will frequently be knocking on his door over the next months and years. Farrel, thank you so much for the integrity, competence, and huge vision that you have so generously shared over the years.  Yours is a hard act to follow! Len Steingo and Graham Cassel also stood down after numerous years of active contribution to the society. Graham was involved from the inception of SASCI as originator Exco member and made key contributions to create the dynamic society we have today and deserves special recognition for his years as President and ex-officio.  Len has always been a hard worker, and persistent contributor doing much uncelebrated but vital work in varied committees.  Gentleman, thank you.  Your contributions make us what we are and will not be forgotten.

I am pleased to welcome Gavin Angel who has joined the team. The following members continue on the Exco until 2017: D Kettles (President), F Hellig (Ex-officio President), A Horak (Vice President), C Badenhorst (Treasurer), M Abelson (Secretary),  S Khan, M Ntsekhe, C Zambakides, J Vorster, G Angel and JP Theron.

Industry Exco Members carry on until the AGM 2016: Tracey du Preez, Dan Willemse and Andrew Sartor.  We acknowledge your vital roles.
The following SASCI Educational initiatives took place:

SASCI Rota Workshop for experienced interventionalists
The convener of these meetings is Adie Horak. In January 2014, more than 50 delegates attended the 1st exploratory meeting including delegates from Kenya, Namibia and Mauritius. In March 2015 an expert meeting was held and more than 25 delegates attended.

Visiting Professor Program
The 2015 Visiting Professor Program was a huge success.  Prof Jean Marco visited South Africa from 15 March to 15 May. His passion for teaching and the quality of his lectures and discussions accentuate the standard that is the core of this program. Not only did he give of his valuable time, knowledge and expertise, he also gave a part of himself to the patients, doctors and staff of the hospitals where he was positioned. The value of his mammoth input will live on long after his departure. If you are interested, look at his blog on the EuroPCR website, and you will get a flavour of his contributions.  In due course we will be announcing further visitors to our country: I continue to be amazed at the calibre and the enthusiasm of those we have been privileged to learn from.
The 2016 Visiting Professor has been confirmed and we are proud to announce that Professor Gus Pichard (USA) will be the next visiting professor.  We are further investigating the possibility of another international superstar visiting in 2017! The consistent and longstanding support from Medtronic and Pharma Dynamic is noted and appreciated.

Boston Scientific RC Fraser International Fellowship
Ahmed Vachiat (Cardiology Consultant at Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital) was at Prof Simon Redwood’s unit in March 2015 and the feedback regarding his experience and participation are very positive. Pieter van der Bijl (Tygerberg) went in April 2015. With GMC certification he was able to gain hands on experience as well. Both colleagues gave very positive feedback regarding a truly formative fellowship made possible by generous sponsorships. 

SCAI Fall Fellows Course
Four of our South African interventional cardiology fellows once again attended the Annual SCAI Interventional Cardiology Fellows Course (USA). The SCAI program brings wonderful enrichment to our local fellows training and the successful candidates for 2015 were Jane Moses, Mukesh Chhiba, Andile Xana and Parmanand Naran. This program is sponsored by SCAI, SASCI and Boston Scientific.

EuroPCR Course 2015
The world-leading Course in interventional medicine took place from Tuesday 19 - Friday 22 May 2015 in Paris, France. SASCI hosted a dual session with the Irish. Thanks to our members who supported this session.  There were numerous South African faces to be seen on panels and presenting in a number of different fora.  Thank you to our colleagues for your hard work at this meeting, and for the quality contributions that were made.

SASCI Fellows Workshop
This is an integral part of SASCI’s public and private partnership which exposes “cardiologists in training” to operators in private sector practice as well as colleagues from other public sector units in South Africa and beyond. This event was once again attended by 80% of Cardiology Fellows in South Africa as well as a few recently qualified South African cardiologists and 6 colleagues from Ethiopia, Mauritius and Kenya; 40 doctors in total and 20 members from industry.  
Drs Jean Vorster and Cobus Badenhorst convened our 2015 training course with faculty members Jean Vorster, Dave Kettles, Gavin Angel, Chris Zambakides, Cobus Badenhorst, Farrel Hellig, Adie Horak and Shaheen Pandie.  We covered a lot of ground over two days: this program continues to be tweaked to meet the expressed needs of our trainees, and its attendance attests to the effectiveness of the program. 

Educational Activities planned for later this year:
SA Heart Congress 2015

The 16th Annual SA Heart Congress will be taking place this year from Sunday, 25 – Wednesday, 28 October, at Sun City in the North West Province. Robert Burns is an excellent and versatile Irish speaker who has accepted the invitation to be the SASCI international speaker at SA Heart. Sajidah Khan SASCI congress convener is also organising a pre-congress Radial Course. More information will be distributed to all SASCI members as the details are confirmed.

CTO Workshop
The date for the meeting is the 20-21 November and will consist of lectures, live cases and canned cases. The organising committee is: Chris Zambakides, Jean Vorster, Gavin Angel and Anthony Becker with Farrel Hellig assisting.  This looks to be a very useful couple of days for anyone considering tackling this ultimate frontier of PCI.  The faculty include international experts such as Prof Galassi and Simon Walsh, and the course will be well structured with a great balance between watching cases, and absorbing didactic teaching, from the basics to the most complex.

ESC e-learning
This is a training module with the focus on training in interventional cardiology. Sajidah Khan is the national coordinator. If you need further clarification or if you are interested in enrolling, please email Sajidah Khan at  or contact the SASCI office on all communication

Other activities where SASCI has been actively involved:
Coding Guideline (handbook)
JP Theron must be acknowledged for his tireless work and endless hours spent in compiling a coding handbook for cardiology that was communicated to members. We are still facing the problem where even with inclusion in SAMA, DBM individual funders (administrators) still need to decide to firstly include new codes in their coding structure and then decide on the funding level. The Exco received a mandate from their members to officially publish the first edition of the coding guideline and to engage the major funders and explain the coding handbook as a position statement of SASCI. The manual will also be supplied to CMS and other 3rd parties (incl. practice management and those involved in claiming). The coding handbook is a guideline on how to appropriately code based on peer group agreement and as such a powerful tool. SASCI will keep their members updated on the status and new developments.  We believe that the publishing of this guideline will be of enormous assistance to our members when they encounter various queries from funders.  This environment and contact with funders is frankly becoming increasingly difficult and at times combatorial: we will need to carefully chart these waters in the months ahead.

Competition Commission
The competition commission’s period for submissions has been extended by 6 months. Members agreed during the AGM that SASCI needs to secure legal opinion to submit a full submission to Competition Commission (rather than just responding to “allegations”). We have now submitted a document in close cooperation with our legal adviser. 

Alternate Reimbursement Model (Global): During the 2014 AGM members supported our discussions with Discovery Health on development of a voluntary “Global Fee” structure. SASCI signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Discovery Health, but not all SASCI members have as yet been approached to discuss the proposal (voluntarily participation). SASCI continue to engage with Discovery Health on these matters on behalf of the members.   A SASCI Peer Review Board has also been established that will review the uptake of this program by members and advise member’s on issues pertaining to use of the episode fee. Thanks to our colleagues Tony Dalby, Saleem Dawood, Basil Levetan, Dave Gillmer and Adriaan Snyders who have already met as this board, which will function independent of SASCI Exco.

The POPI act:  An extensive review has been developed by Elsabe Klinck and has been circulated to SASCI members. We hope that this type of information is adding tangible value to our member’s practices.   

STEMI Education: I need to acknowledge the tireless and consistent effort by Adriaan Snyders and his team towards ensuring that we save heart muscle by appropriate reperfusion treatment. More comprehensive reviews are available else ware but suffice to say the Adriaan needs our support and tangible assistant to address this mammoth task. Much is currently being done across the length and breadth of the country in terms of educational initiatives.  This is a key area where the input of interventional cardiologists surely is mandatory. 

ISCAP:  Dianne Kerrigan and her team continue to astound us with their vision and effective roll-out. The impact of their effort should be noticeable during each and every procedure! Read more elsewhere.  

The following corporate supporters have been committed to our society and have been supporting education in Cardiology in South Africa for many years: Amayeza, Angio Quip, Aspen, AstraZeneca, Baroque, B Braun, Biotronik, Boston, Cardiac Output, Condor Medical, Cordis, Edwards, Logan Medical and Surgical, Medtronic, Obsidian, Paragmed, Pharma Dynamics, Sanofi, Surgical Innovations, Torque Medical and Volcano. We are looking forward to continuing and expanding our professional collaboration.  We thank you for your generosity, and acknowledge your immense contributions.

I wish to assure our members that the SASCI Exco will continue to work tirelessly to represent your interests, educate, and inform interventional cardiologists in our country.  We deeply value, and need your support.  Please feel free to get involved at any time.  By all means, let us know if and where we can be further assistance to you as you deliver the best service possible to your patients.

Dave Kettles
SASCI President

Download the Annual SASCI Report 2015

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