Healthcare Industry News:  ventricular assist device 

Devices Cardiology Reimbursement

 News Release - February 10, 2009

Hospitals Eligible for up to $53,000 More for CardioWest Artificial Heart Implant Than for Subsequent Human Heart Transplant

TUCSON, Ariz.--(HSMN NewsFeed)--For Medicare’s 2009 fiscal year, hospitals will be eligible to be reimbursed up to $53,000 more when they implant a CardioWest™ temporary Total Artificial Heart (TAH-t) than when they subsequently transplant a donor heart, according to a shift in policy by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

In announcing the decision, CMS agreed that “the TAH-t fulfills a role that no other mechanical circulatory support device can for patients in irreversible biventricular failure.”

“The decisions by CMS to reverse its 1986 non-coverage policy for artificial hearts and to approve a New Technology Add-On Payment of up to $53,000 more for use of the CardioWest show that the artificial heart is becoming the standard of care for biventricular failure,” said Rodger Ford, CEO and president of SynCardia Systems, Inc.

On July 31, 2008, CMS issued its final decision to reimburse the CardioWest artificial heart through the highest paying Diagnostic Related Group codes, MS-DRG 001 and 002. These are the same DRG codes used for reimbursement of heart transplants and left ventricular assist devices (LVADs). In addition, CMS approved the CardioWest for add-on payments of up to $53,000.

Originally designed as a permanent replacement heart, the CardioWest artificial heart is currently approved as a bridge to human heart transplant for patients dying from end stage biventricular failure.

The CardioWest artificial heart is the first and only FDA, Health Canada and CE Mark approved Total Artificial Heart in the world. There have been more than 780 implants of the CardioWest artificial heart, accounting for more than 150 patient years of life on the device.

Source: SynCardia Systems

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