Cardiac rehabilitation (CR) is a safe and effective service that reduces mortality, hospitalizations and use of medical resources while improving a patient’s quality of life following a cardiac event.
thumbnail_alt_text===Cardiac Rehab passed!
Fortunately, access to this vital service has recently increased. Earlier this month, the Improving Access to Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehabilitation Act was included as part of the two-year budget deal passed by Congress.
Previously, to receive reimbursement under Medicare, services had to be provided under the direct supervision of a physician – meaning that a physician must be at the site of the program and immediately available and accessible at all times. We know nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and other medical professionals are more than qualified to supervise these programs. Allowing more, well trained medical professionals to supervise the activities will greatly increase access to these safe and effective services. The passing of this legislation removed an outdated requirement and has given more patients an opportunity to participate in CR programs. This will mean better health for individuals, families, and communities struggling with cardiovascular disease.
Unfortunately, due to federal budget constraints, the CR provisions will not be enacted until 2024, but rest assured, the American Heart Association will continue to work with Congress to improve this timeline.