Today, the Department of Justice announced that it has reached settlements in its investigation of hospitals for billing Medicare for ICDs implanted in Medicare patients that did not meet Medicare coverage requirements. The announcement includes 70 settlements involving 457 hospitals in 43 states for more than $250 million.Outdated CMS National Coverage Decisions from 2005 just whacked hospitals. "Misalignment's" Catch-22. So much for evidence-based medicine. So much for practice guidelines. So much for innovation in health care.
The Heart Rhythm Society (HRS) has recognized that the misalignment between the Medicare National Coverage Determination and the clinical practice guidelines created gaps between the payment policy and clinical decision-making and places physicians and their patients in an untenable position. To help mitigate the problem, HRS published "2013 HRS/ACCF/AHA Expert Consensus Statement on the Use of Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator Therapy in Patients Who Are Not Included or Not Well Represented in Clinical Trials”.
Moving forward, the Society’s priority is to do everything possible to assist the heart rhythm care community in managing the patient care pathway. HRS and other medical specialty societies are currently working with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to identify the appropriate time to reopen the existing national coverage policy. The Society will provide CMS with recommendations to update the clinical indications for reimbursement. With this preparation, we stand ready to work with our partners to revise the Medicare coverage policy to reflect current clinical practice.
CMS NCDs rule now, no matter how outdated, from now on.
The Justice Department has spoken.
References: Justice Department press release with list of hospitals affected.
More on the history of this action here.