Heart Association commends CMS model for cardiac care
“Cardiac rehabilitation can greatly improve the health outcomes and lives of patients suffering from cardiovascular disease, but [its] benefits are largely untapped,” Houser said. “That’s why we are extremely pleased that this final rule will help more Americans attain the high-quality, evidence-based care they deserve. We urge the new administration [of President-elect Donald Trump] to move forward with this demonstration program to help identify and remove barriers to this life-saving service.”
The decision closes recent treatment gaps between cardiac rehabilitation and intensive cardiac rehabilitation. The American Heart Association cited 2013 as an example, when only 20 percent of Medicare patients sought cardiac rehabilitation. The new law is expected to overcome low referral rates and lack of accessibility along with Medicare requirements.
The rulings affect services administered by Medicare; Advancing Care Coordination through Episode Payment Models; the Cardiac Rehabilitation Incentive Payment Model; and the Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement Model.
Houser said Medicare waiver requirements were not addressed completely, saying that CMS’ “requirement for physician supervision was not site specific.” To that end, he added, the American Heart Association would continue to lobby for laws to permit practitioners to oversee cardiac rehabilitation daily.
Overall, however, the association acknowledged the improved incentives as progress toward value-based payment and new models for health care.
“We appreciate the attention CMS paid to the concerns of patient groups, like ours, and its commitment in the final rule to put in place heightened monitoring and evaluation, as well as explore additional risk adjustment methods to protect patients from potential unintended consequences,” Houser said.