A Million Hearts Welcome Expanded Cardio Coverage
In support of the Million Hearts initiative, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced, Nov. 8, that Medicare is adding coverage for a number of preventive services to reduce cardiovascular disease. This new coverage policy, made possible through the Affordable Care Act, adds to the free preventive services now available for people with Medicare.
Under this coverage decision, CMS will cover one face-to-face visit each year to determine the best way to help prevent cardiovascular disease. During the visit:
- Services must be furnished by primary care practitioners, such as a family practice physician, internal medicine physician, or nurse practitioner, in settings such as physicians’ offices.
- Providers may screen for hypertension and promote healthy diet to reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease.
The new coverage policy does not change current Medicare coverage for beneficiaries already diagnosed with cardiovascular disease to receive assessment and intervention services.
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of mortality in the United States. The aim of the national Million Hearts initiative is to prevent a million heart attacks and strokes in the United States by 2017. Through Million Hearts, CMS, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and other U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) agencies are working together with other organizations to help fight 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.”