The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced on Tuesday that the expansion of coverage to chronic heart failure patients is official.

As reported in December, Medicare proposed including coverage for chronic heart failure (CHF) patients in 2013. The previous standard meant that patients only received coverage for major coronary events that took place within a certain time frame. But an analysis of cardiac rehab literature that began in 2006 convinced CMS that rehab is appropriate for patients with steady and chronic heart failure.

An article from MedPage Today states that, "Under the final decision, Medicare would pay for rehab services - exercise, behavioral risk factor reduction, health education, and personal counseling - for patients with left ventricular ejection fraction of 35% or less and New York Heart Association class II to IV symptoms with at least 6 weeks of heart failure therapy."

The 2009 HF-Action study that demonstrated the efficacy of exercise for heart patients solidified CMS's decision to broaden coverage, reports Family Practice News.

For the full memo from CMS, click here.

By Kindred Hospital Rehabilitation Services