URGENT: Will You Please Help Heart Valve & AFib Patients?
Written By: Adam Pick, Patient Advocate, Author & Website Founder
Published: June 1, 2023
Help! Please! It’s Urgent!
If you didn’t know, patients with heart valve disease are up to 35% more likely to experience atrial fibrillation (AFib) which can increase their stroke risk by 5 times, according to the American Heart Association. Unfortunately, AFib is not treated in up to 70% of heart valve procedures. Yikes!!!
To make the situation worse… I am learning that patients may not get adequate treatment due to low hospital reimbursements from Medicare. This means that instead of having one operation to treat heart valve disease and AFib at the same time, patients may need a second procedure during a different visit to treat AFib. As a result, patients have to stay on AFib medications, experience debilitating symptoms, and be concerned about stroke risk. Uggh!!!
I don’t know about you… But, this doesn’t seem right to me. Medicare should increase reimbursement rates to allow more AFib patients to be treated during heart valve surgery. FYI, current medical society guidelines state that treating both heart valve disease and AFib – at the same time – provide patients better long-term, surgical outcomes.
In 3 Minutes, You Can Make A Difference!
Here’s the potentially great news…
Medicare would like to hear from you – the patients in our community – about your feelings on this very important topic.
All you need to do is post a quick comment at the Medicare website. If you lend support for increased reimbursement for the hospitals, patient access to AFib treatment may not be restricted during heart valve surgery. Yes, your comment could help millions of patients!
Here are the steps to help:
Step 1 – Click here to submit your comment at Medicare’s website
Step 2 – Type or “cut-and-paste” a comment (see example below)
Step 3 – Choose the “Select a Comment Category” and select “Individual”
Step 4 – Insert your email address
Step 5 – Identify yourself as an “individual” or “anonymous” submitter
Step 6 – Click “Submit Comment” button
A Cut-And-Paste Comment Ready For You To Use
To help you submit a quick comment at Medicare’s website, here is a quick comment that you can cut-and-paste (or edit) for submission:
I am writing to request that Medicare change its policy to ensure that the hospital reimbursement payments for single heart valve procedures be updated to allow access to patients that are also in need of treatment of their atrial fibrillation at the same time. This would allow treatment of two life threatening problems in one hospital visit!
I have recently learned that the Medicare hospital payment for single heart valve procedures is insufficient to cover the added treatment costs of atrial fibrillation during the same operation.
As a heart valve patient, I believe it is important that all Medicare patients have access to the same treatment options as other Medicare patients regardless of economic and other differentiating factors.
I realize that Medicare has to financially balance the wellbeing of heart patients with atrial fibrillation and the wellbeing 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 heart operation. By allowing treatment of both problems, patients have a better quality of life and CMS would be using its money even more effectively.
Will You Please Help Me Today?
The deadline to submit your comment is June 9. That said, this is urgent! If you would please submit your comment today, future patients may live better, healthier lives because of your support of this patient advocacy effort.
Here is the link to submit your comment to Medicare. (Simply follow the steps above.) Please let me know if you have any questions.
Thanks so much!