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Rehabilitation

Rehabilitation

Improving the way a patient moves through each stage of care can dramatically improve outcomes.

As the number one and number five killers in America, heart disease and stroke can also present daunting challenges for those who survive these life-threatening diseases. Patients can often face a long and challenging road to recovery. Luckily, there are several policy solutions that can make this rehab easier. The AHA/ASA supports:

Expanding Cardiac Rehabilitation Services
Cardiac rehabilitation is an essential Medicare benefit that reduces mortality, hospitalizations, and use of medical resources while improving the quality of life following a cardiac event. However, in order be covered under Medicare, programs must have a Medical Doctor who ensures programs are safe and medically appropriate for patients. Unfortunately, this requirement creates an unintended roadblock to cardiac rehab services by placing a more stringent staffing requirement on these services than it does for similar outpatient services.

To address this problem, we supported legislation that would allow physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and clinical nurse specialists to supervise cardiac rehab programs. Additionally, non-physician practitioners are already used in a number of other critical care environments, including emergency rooms, intensive care units, and health centers. They are highly trained to respond should emergencies arise. We were pleased to see this legislation pass in early 2018 and will be working to ensure it's timely implementation. Check out our Pulse blog post for more information. 

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Rejecting Stroke Therapy Caps
Those who have experienced stroke often need 3-5 speech, physical, and occupational therapy sessions per week while they recover. But under current Medicare guidelines, beneficiaries are limited to $1,900 worth of care (often referred to as a therapy cap), which means many patients would reach their “cap” in less than two months.

The AHA/ASA has joined with more than 50 health advocacy groups to urge Congress to address this issue, remove the caps, and help stroke survivors get the vital care they need. We were pleased to see legislation pass in early 2018 that finally addresses these therapy caps and will work to ensure it's timely implementation. 

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