Washington, D.C., Nov. 22, 2013 — American Heart Association President, Mariell Jessup M.D., issued the following comments today on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) proposal to allow patients with chronic heart failure to qualify for Medicare coverage of cardiac rehabilitation services:
“We are extremely pleased that CMS has decided to take this action on behalf of the 5.1 million Americans who suffer from chronic heart failure. Allowing a majority of these patients to obtain cardiac rehabilitation services under Medicare will substantially improve their outcomes and help them achieve a better quality of life.
As our population ages, more Americans will struggle with chronic heart failure. A recent association report projected that the number of people with heart failure will climb 46 percent – from 5 million in 2012 to 8 million in 2030. Cardiac rehabilitation services are an important component of treatment for these patients. These services provide crucial exercise intervention and educate patients about medication adherence, diet, tobacco cessation, and other lifestyle and behavioral risk factors.
The American Heart Association and its volunteers joined with other organizations to strongly recommend that CMS expand coverage to include heart failure patients. We are gratified that the agency recognized the evidence that pointed to the need for this expansion, and look forward to the day when this coverage will enable millions of heart failure patients to reap the benefits of cardiac rehabilitation.”