Increasing Access to Quality Cardiac Rehab Care

A new bill introduced by Representatives John Lewis (D-GA) and Adrian Smith (R-NE), HR 3911, would increase access to cardiac rehabilitation for women with Medicare. Legislation passed last year authorizes advanced practice providers, including physician assistants and nurse practitioners, to supervise patients’ day-to-day cardiac and pulmonary rehab under Medicare, taking the burden off physicians only. However, that law doesn’t go into effect until 2024. This new bill would make it effective in 2020 and would authorize advance practice providers to order cardiac and pulmonary rehab under Medicare as well.

While cardiac rehab is an incredibly effective treatment, it is under-utilized. One reason is that women, as well as Black, Hispanic, and Asian patients, are less likely to be referred for cardiac rehab compared to men and White patients. In addition, cardiac patients in rural areas or other places where physicians are scarce may not have access to cardiac rehab services within a reasonable distance. Allowing more qualified providers to order and supervise cardiac rehab will open the doors to more people, including women, who could benefit from this treatment.

WomenHeart supports this legislation, the Increasing Access to Quality Cardiac Rehab Care Act of 2019. Read more on our fact sheet.

If you have a personal story about barriers or challenges to accessing cardiac rehab, let us know. We can help share your story to promote policies aimed at increasing access to care for women with heart disease. Send your story to afriedrich@womenheart.org.

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