Why Most American Seniors Don’t Receive Heart Failure Rehabilitation?

Nikki Attkisson | Last Updated : November 13, 2021

Heart failure still remains the main cause of death among the millions receiving Medicare. Even then, less than 10% of them are prescribed heart failure rehabilitation. This, according to health experts, is a cause of concern.

Why Most American Seniors Don’t Receive Heart Failure Rehabilitation?

The existing disparity in Medicare coverage and certain categorization are the main villains here, a recent study shows.

Heart failure rehabilitation does the following for a patient:

  • Prevents deaths
  • Reduces hospitalizations
  • Improve overall health
Why Most American Seniors Don’t Receive Heart Failure Rehabilitation

Despite these apparent benefits, only a few people utilize this facility.

As per the current statistics, 90% of heart failure patients will not receive the treatments meant to improve their quality of life. There is sufficient evidence to suggest that the exercise routine meant for cardiac patients will keep them away from hospitals for long. The team plans to present its findings in the American Heart Association’s meeting next Monday.

In 2014, Medicare widened its safety net to offer heart failure rehabilitation to adult heart failure patients with reduced ejection fraction. This is a condition when the heart fails to pump the blood your body needs. They did it after several studies pointed out the benefits of cardiac rehabilitation.

During the time period of 2014-2017, the percentage of Medicare beneficiaries enrolling in cardiac rehabilitation programs showed a slight increase. It rose from 4.3% to up to 5.5%. But the rise is negligible; only 10% annually, studies point out.

The high cost of such a program may be the thing that prevents people from availing it. Insurance protection is critical to increasing participation in rehabilitation programs. This applies even to those availing Medicare coverage. Another reason for the lack of participation is the criteria the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have set up for the same. As per CMS requirements, patients have to wait for 42 days after being hospitalized for heart failure before applying for the rehabilitation program. Even the slightest delay in the matter adversely affects participation in rehabilitation programs. It even has a negative impact on the outcome of patients.

In the meanwhile, over 1.1 million people are hospitalized due to heart failure every year in the US. And it is one of the main reasons of hospitalization among those 65 and above. Medicare is the program that takes care of most of their healthcare expenses. There are also others who acknowledge the situation. The country has to adopt a new mechanism for those unable to afford rehabilitation programs, they say.

Online heart failure rehabilitation program is one experiment worth trying. It, according to health experts, will widen the safety net of heart failure rehabilitation. They also recommend that cardiac rehabilitation be given equal importance with medications. Doing this will ensure that those who deserve it are availing of the facility.

The study, presented in meetings, is treated as preliminary observations until is published in a journal.

Here is everything else you need to know about the program:

What is cardiac rehabilitation

Cardiac rehabilitation is a program that offers ongoing medical supervision to those suffering from heart ailments. Following groups of people are considered eligible for this facility:

  • Heart attack patients
  • For those who had a heart failure
  • For those who had heart valve surgeries
  • For patients who had coronary artery bypass grafting
  • For those who require percutaneous coronary intervention

The program assists patients in adopting a healthy lifestyle designed to minimize the risk of hospitalization and death. The program offers you the following:

  • Training in heart exercise
  • Education on heart health
  • Counseling to minimize stress
  • Assistance in returning to normal life

Are you a cardiac patient? If yes, go for a heart failure rehabilitation program. It will save you hundreds of dollars in medical bills.

Nikki Attkisson

With over 15 years as a practicing journalist, Nikki Attkisson found herself at Powdersville Post now after working at several other publications. She is an award-winning journalist with an entrepreneurial spirit and worked as a journalist covering technology, innovation, environmental issues, politics, health etc. Nikki Attkisson has also worked on product development, content strategy, and editorial management for numerous media companies. She began her career at local news stations and worked as a reporter in national newspapers.

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