Last week, a dozen American Heart Association volunteers came to Washington, D.C. to urge their members of Congress to support increased access to Cardiac Rehab.
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Cardiac rehabilitation is a Medicare benefit that reduces mortality, hospitalizations and use of medical resources while improving a patient's quality of life following a cardiac event. However, only about 20-30% of eligible patients take advantage of cardiac rehabilitation.
An outdated requirement to receive Medicare reimbursement has created unintended barriers to these services. To receive reimbursement currently, cardiac rehab sessions must be supervised by a physician. This has become particularly difficult in rural areas where physicians are scarce. Right now, there is a bill in Congress that can help increase access to these vital rehabilitation programs. The proposed bill updates this requirement to allow physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and clinical nurse specialists to supervise cardiac rehabilitation on a day to day basis, which would increase access for many patients.
Our advocates spent their time in D.C. discussing this important legislation with their lawmakers. Their voices were heard and you can join them in urging your members of Congress to support increased access to vital rehabilitation programs for cardiac patients.