CMS has approved Heart Failure (EF<35%) as an admitting diagnosis for Cardiac Rehabilitation. The actual date for usage of the diagnosis has yet to be determined, although we’re hoping for Spring 2014 date. By some estimates, the Heart Failure diagnosis, may increase your potential pool of eligible patients for your Cardiac Rehabilitation Program by 25-35%. That presents a tremendous opportunity, as well as, a tremendous responsibility. CRP’s will have to look carefully at their education and instruction programs, their exercise training and surveillance programs and the way a CRP will handle untoward events in this population.
We must keep in mind that the primary reason CMS approved Heart Failure as an admitting diagnosis was to reduce heart failure readmissions. The concept is “cost avoidance” and is the primary driving force behind this opportunity. Next Month we’ll look at some specific ways to adjust our Program to optimize treatment outcomes and reduce hospital readmissions in this population.