WASHINGTON, June 24, 2019 – Alliance for Aging Research President and CEO Susan Peschin, MHS, issued the following statement on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) final National Coverage Determination (NCD) for Medicare coverage of Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) in the treatment of severe symptomatic aortic valve stenosis:
When CMS makes decisions about how procedures and services are covered, there are almost always winners and losers. For more than seven years, older Medicare patients with aortic stenosis have been stuck in the midst of a professional sea change in heart valve disease treatment involving the specialist clinician, as well as between major medical centers and smaller, community-based and rural hospitals. CMS’ final decision on TAVR coverage not only continues unequal treatment access, particularly for older rural and minority patients, but potentially restricts it even further by escalating some of the requirements. This decision comes at a time when FDA will likely expand TAVR approval to patients at low-risk for surgery, which will increase demand, further lengthen waiting lists at larger hospitals, and put patients at an increased risk of death as they wait for their procedure. Medicare is supposed to put value over volume and patients over paperwork, but this decision fails to meet those goals.
About the Alliance for Aging Research:
The Alliance for Aging Research is the leading nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the pace of scientific discoveries and their application to vastly improve the universal human experience of aging and health. The Alliance was founded in 1986 in Washington, D.C., and has since become a valued advocacy organization and a respected influential voice with policymakers. For more information, please visit www.agingresearch.org.