Medicare Coverage Decision on CCTA is bad for patients...
Medicare patients and their doctors are up in arms about a proposed decision that could halt seniors’ access to heart scans.
The Centers for Medicare
and Medicaid Services (CMS) have issued a proposed National Coverage
Decision (NCD) for Cardiac Computed Tomography Angiography (CCTA),
putting patients with heart disease at risk.
CCTA is a diagnostic
noninvasive medical imaging tool used to detect Coronary Artery Disease
(CAD), the most common type of heart disease--and the number one killer
for both men and women, according to the National Institutes of Health.
It is a proven technology used in more than 2,000 centers nationwide
and approved by local Medicare carriers in all 50 states.
In 2006, 50,000 patients
used CCTA, but beginning March 13th, current and future Medicare
beneficiaries will be without access if this NCD is finalized as
currently proposed. The only option remaining for patients will be
invasive and expensive tests requiring hospitalization.
Rather than cutting off
coverage completely, CMS should consider allowing local carrier
decisions to remain in place, at least pending approval of the first
clinical trial or establishment of an approved registry.
CMS’ has already closed the
public comment period for this decision, but thankfully several Members
of Congress have accepted the call to action. Representatives Carolyn
McCarthy (NY-4), Joe Pitts (PA-16), and Gene Green (TX-29) have joined
together and asked their colleagues to sign-on to a letter they will
send to CMS on March 5th. Many other Members of the House of
Representatives and the Senate have also weighed in with the agency to
express their concerns about the effect this NCD will have on their
02-21-2008 1:49 PM