Remote Cardiac Monitoring Payment Rate Cuts

 

***Attention cardiologists and electrophysiologists in New England and New York.***

Our region’s Medicare Administrative Contractor (MAC) wants to cut the technical fee for remote cardiac monitoring from $250 per patient per month to $32 or possibly less. Originally scheduled to happen during the current COVID-19 pandemic, pressure on Medicare about the absurdity of this timing has successfully forced them to table the cuts.

But this move is only temporary. The proposed cut would dramatically hurt our ability to provide safe and effective remote monitoring to high-risk patients with cardiac devices. We need to keep advocating for why these cuts are wrong.

Please copy the letter below and send it to Dr. Carolyn Cunningham, Medical Director of the National Government Services overseeing regional MACs at Carolyn.Cunningham@anthem.com.

 


Dear Dr. Cunningham,

I am writing to ask that you rescind the March 12, 2020 NGS Update on Fees for HCPCS G2066.

Remote cardiac monitoring has been considered the standard of care by the Heart Rhythm Society since 2015, based on the highest possible level of evidence. It has been proven to reduce costs while improving outcomes and keeping people out of the hospital.

The proposed cuts to cardiac monitoring tech rates would dramatically hurt our country’s ability to provide safe and effective remote monitoring to high-risk patients with cardiac devices.

Of the approximately 10 million patients on remote cardiac monitoring devices across the country, most are elderly and frail. 

  • 16.7% of patients developed arrhythmia and 7.2%, acute cardiac injury.
  • Patients with established cardiovascular (CV) disease who may come down with COVID-19, even after the crisis has passed, have a 10.5% mortality rate — nearly five times higher than the average mortality
  • Additionally, COVID-19 therapeutics potentially cause adverse CV effects and clinicians delivering CV care are at risk of developing the illness or can transmit the infection.

A cost analysis conducted by Rhythm Management Group, a large cardiac monitoring company that provides services to thousands of patients across the country, found that the cost of delivering the initial remote monitoring transmission is about $231 and that each subsequent transmission costs about $178. In addition, it takes almost 6x times longer to process monthly implantable loop recorder transmissions compared to those from pacemakers.

The current reimbursement rate covers these costs, overhead, and labor. Cutting reimbursement to $32 or less would clearly be insufficient, forcing remote cardiac monitoring companies to stop delivering services to vulnerable patients.

Reimbursement cuts would increase emergency visits and hospitalizations. Such a move would be ‘penny wise and pound foolish’ when the average hospital stay costs about $30,000.

These proposed cuts should be completely canceled, as the reimbursement provides for high quality care that keeps vulnerable cardiac patients healthy and out of the hospital.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]