Heart Rhythm Society Commends CMS' Final Decision on Expanding ICD Coverage

Hundreds of Thousands of Cardiac Patients Are Now Eligible

Jan 27, 2005, 00:00 ET from Heart Rhythm Society

    WASHINGTON, Jan. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- The following is a statement
 attributable to Stephen C. Hammill, M.D., President, Heart Rhythm Society
 (formerly NASPE):
     "We strongly support the final decision of the Centers for Medicare and
 Medicaid Services (CMS) to expand coverage of implantable cardioverter
 defibrillator devices (ICDs) for Medicare beneficiaries.  Since private
 insurance companies will likely follow suit, this is a landmark decision that
 could potentially save the lives of hundreds of thousands of patients with
 heart failure and heart disease.
     "As the professional society for heart rhythm specialists who diagnose and
 treat patients with heart rhythm disorders including ICD implantation, we
 applaud CMS for implementing coverage immediately and providing patients with
 access to this lifesaving therapy.
     "In addition, the Society is supportive of the national ICD registry
 called for in CMS' recent coverage decision.  The registry will track the
 certification of implanting physicians, which will be extremely important in
 assessing the quality of care.  We agree with CMS' decision to 'strongly
 encourage credentialing and certification of physicians who insert ICDs by
 appropriate national organizations, such as the Heart Rhythm Society.'
     "The Society is working with the American College of Cardiology (ACC) and
 other stakeholders including CMS on the future ICD Registry.
     "We also are extremely pleased that CMS has decided to expand coverage to
 the following patient populations:
     *  Patients with left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) of 35 percent
        or less due to either ischemic or non-ischemic cardiomyopathy
        independent of QRS duration; and
     *  Class IV patients who meet criteria for cardiac resynchronization
     "CMS also has removed the 'shock-only' language and requirement as a
 baseline for coverage and will now allow ICDs capable of pacing.
     "We look forward to helping both CMS to implement its coverage decision
 and patients to gain wider access to this life-saving technology.  We strongly
 support CMS' decision to expand access to a technology that has been proven as
 a primary prevention therapy for sudden cardiac arrest."
     The Heart Rhythm Society is the international leader in science,
 education, and advocacy for cardiac arrhythmia professionals and patients, and
 the primary information resource on heart rhythm disorders.  Its mission is to
 improve the care of patients by promoting research, education and optimal
 health care policies and standards.  The Society was incorporated in 1979, and
 has a membership of over 3,500 physicians and associated professionals in over
 65 countries around the world.  Its office is in Washington, DC.
 Available Topic Expert(s): For information on the listed expert(s), click
 appropriate link.
 Stephen C. Hammill, MD
 Anne B. Curtis, MD, FACC

SOURCE Heart Rhythm Society