Patient Advocacy Update: Our Community Submits 250+ Comments to Medicare in 24 Hours
Written By: Adam Pick, Patient Advocate, Author & Website Founder
Published: June 6, 2022
The gals and guys in the HeartValveSurgery.com community are downright wonderful. When I need your help, you always show-up for me and, more importantly, for all the patients in our community.
For example, I recently asked for your help regarding a Medicare reimbursement problem specific to surgical ablation for the treatment of atrial fibrillation during heart valve procedures. As you might recall, up to 35% of patients with heart valve disease also have AFib. In that post, I asked the patients at HeartValveSurgery.com to submit a letter to Medicare requesting enhanced reimbursement to hospitals performing surgical ablation during heart valve surgery.
Our “Patient Voice” Is Loud & Authentic
Immediately, after posting this story, our patients got involved and took action.
Our Facebook page lit up.
Our email newsletter exploded.
And, this post received over 1,500 social media shares. Incredible!!!
Then, I went to the Medicare website.
My jaw dropped.
In just 24 hours, the number of comments for this advocacy initiative surged by 250 patient submissions.
Together, our “patient voice” came through loud, fast and in a truly authentic form. Here’s one of many unique posts that demonstrate just how important this initiative is for current and future patients.
If you can’t read the screenshot above, here’s what the patient comment submitted to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) says:
I didn’t know that my periodic heart flutters were anything till I had a stroke. Attentive doctors and extensive tests determined that my “flutters” were atrial fibrillation which were associated with a failing mitral valve. My surgery involved great surgeons replacing the valve with a porcine one, ablation was performed to minimize the chances of future “afib”, and the mitral appendage was removed to prevent the chance of a future blood clot from causing another stroke.
I realize that Medicare has to financially balance the well being of open-heart patients with atrial fibrillation and the well being of all Medicare patients. However, it does not seem financially prudent that Medicare patients should have to undergo multiple procedures when their atrial fibrillation can and should be treated during the same open-heart operation. It’s been two-and-a half years since I was treated.
The surgeons and the hospital continue to give great care and treat other patients while I go on with my life, working, exercising, and, with improved health, the renewed opportunity to enjoy my children and grandchildren. Not to be too redundant, multiple surgeries would have limited my time as well as the time the doctors and the hospital would have to give others a chance to enjoy a future such as mine. Both money and time are wasted when a series of medical procedures can be performed during one episode.
Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!
On behalf of all the patients with heart valve disease and AFib, I would like to extend a humongous “Thank You!” to the wonderful people in our community! I am so touched, moved and inspired by your constant and endless support of one another. I cannot thank you enough.
As you might imagine, I will continue to update our community as we learn more about the outcome of this patient advocacy initiative. If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to my free newsletter here, to get the latest medical news, doctor insights and patient updates from the HeartValveSurgery.com community.
Keep on tickin!