The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently shared some good news for Medicare beneficiaries who need health insurance coverage for preventing and treating heart disease: supervised exercise therapy is now covered under Medicare for the treatment of peripheral artery disease (PAD).
According to the CMS, Medicare coverage will be approved if the 36 sessions during a 12-week period are:
- 30-60 minutes in length and include therapeutic training for patients with claudication
- Delivered in a physician’s office or hospital outpatient setting
- Conducted by qualified auxiliary personnel who are trained in supervised exercise therapy for PAD
- Under direct supervision of a physician, physician assistant, nurse practitioner or clinical nurse specialist who is trained in advanced life support techniques
“We know that exercise helps patients with PAD feel better, allowing them to increase their exercise capacity, which enhances their ability to get around,” said Dr. Brian Pollack, a cardiologist at Cardiac Specialists. “Many patients with PAD will benefit from exercising in a supervised environment. When Medicare incentivizes patients to exercise, especially those patients who have not previously, helping them find a place where there’s support for them on a regular basis, it can make a significant impact on outcomes, especially quality of life. Funding by Medicare to make exercise programs accessible will greatly help the treatment of patients with PAD.”
Current Heart Disease Coverage under Medicare
Medicare Part B fully covers such cardiovascular disease screenings as blood tests for cholesterol, lipid and triglyceride levels every five years. In addition, Medicare Part B fully covers one visit per year with your primary doctor aimed at helping you lower your risk for cardiovascular disease. For comprehensive and/or intensive cardiac rehabilitation programs, patients pay 20% of the Medicare approved amount if they receive services in a hospital, and pay a copayment if receiving the services in a hospital. Patients eligible for this coverage include those who have had a heart attack within the previous year, coronary artery bypass surgery, and other specific conditions.
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