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Medicare News

Medicare Adds Free Annual Cardiovascular Discussion with Health Care Provider

Part of joint Million Heart initiative with CDC; Senior citizens and others get Medicare help in fighting number one killer

Nov. 9, 2011 - Medicare is adding coverage for a number of preventive services to reduce cardiovascular disease, including a free annual face-to-face meeting with a care provider to determine the best way to help prevent cardiovascular disease.

This new coverage policy, announced yesterday by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), will add to the existing portfolio of free preventive services that are now available for seniors and others with Medicare that has been expanded by the Affordable Care Act, sometimes referred to as “Obamacare.”

 

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The cardiovascular consultation must be furnished by primary care practitioners, such as a beneficiary’s family practice physician, internal medicine physician, or nurse practitioner, in settings such as physicians’ offices.

During these visits, providers may screen for hypertension and promote healthy diet as part of an overall initiative to reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease in the United States.

Cardiovascular disease characterizes conditions affecting the heart and blood vessels, including hypertension, coronary heart disease, heart failure and stroke. Cardiovascular disease is also the leading cause of mortality in the United States. Today’s new coverage policy does not change current Medicare coverage for beneficiaries diagnosed with cardiovascular disease to receive assessment and intervention services.

Million Hearts Initiative

This new cardiovascular preventive service contributes to the Million Hearts initiative led jointly by CMS and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in partnership with other HHS agencies, communities, health systems, nonprofit organizations, and private sector partners across the country to prevent one million heart attacks and strokes in the next five years.

WHAT IS MILLION HEARTS?

Million Hearts is a national initiative to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes over the next five years. Heart disease and stroke are two of the leading causes of death in the United States.

Million Hearts brings together communities, health systems, nonprofit organizations, federal agencies, and private-sector partners from across the country to fight heart disease and stroke.

“Access to preventive services helps Medicare beneficiaries identify health risk factors and disease early to provide greater opportunities for early treatment,” said CMS Administrator Donald M. Berwick, M.D., when the new program was announced yesterday.

“CMS continues to carefully and systematically review the best available medical evidence to identify those preventive services that can keep Medicare beneficiaries as healthy as possible for as long as possible.”

Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced its Million Hearts national initiative, aimed at preventing a million heart attacks and strokes in the U.S. by 2017. Through Million Hearts, CMS, the CDC and other HHS agencies are working together with public and private sector organizations to make a long-lasting impact against cardiovascular disease.

“This coverage decision reinforces CMS’ commitment to the work of the Million Hearts initiative,” said Patrick Conway, M.D., CMS chief medical officer and director of the Agency’s Office of Clinical Standards and Quality.

“One of the main ways we will prevent cardiovascular disease in this country is to empower Americans to make heart-healthy lifestyle changes, and Medicare’s new cardiovascular disease preventive services will allow more beneficiaries to do just that.”

For more information about Million Hearts, visit millionhearts.hhs.gov.

To read the new policy, visit the CMS website at: http://www.cms.gov/medicare-coverage-database/details/nca-decision-memo.aspx?NCAId=248

 

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