The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is proposing that Medicare coverage be expanded to cover cardiac rehabilitation (CR) for patients with chronic heart failure (CHF).
The proposed CMS decision memo issued November 21 outlines the process that the agency took to research outcomes around CR. Counter to its 2009 finding that "there was little evidence in the existing literature that supported CR," the latest review conducted by CMS definitively concludes that "exercise intervention is beneficial and can be safely performed by selected patients with CHF."
APTA submitted comments that supported access to rehabilitation for CHF patients, but advocated that physical therapy be made available outside the CR program and covered under the existing Medicare outpatient therapy benefit. This allowance would ensure that patients with CHF "have access to the most clinically effective rehabilitation services at the appropriate time, in the appropriate setting, and by the most appropriate provider," according to the APTA comments.
CMS is accepting public comments on the proposed decision memo until December 21, 2013. APTA plans to submit additional comments on the proposal.
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