MEDICARE ANNOUNCES EXPANDED COVERAGE OF MAGNETIC RESONANCE ANGIOGRAPHY
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) today announced it intends to expand diagnostic options for certain Medicare beneficiaries by making Magnetic Resonance Angiography (MRA) available to patients with abdominal and pelvic vascular disease under certain clinical circumstances.
Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) is a non-invasive diagnostic test that uses magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). MRA provides images of normal and diseased blood vessels, allowing physicians to better view and quantify blood flow through these vessels. Medicare currently covers MRA for patients with vascular disease of the abdomen and pelvis only when there is damage to the wall of the aorta (a large artery).
"By expanding MRA access, we are improving the quality of life for many Medicare beneficiaries," CMS Administrator Tom Scully said.
"Expanding coverage for MRA adds an important diagnostic tool for treating vascular disease in the Medicare population" said Sean Tunis, MD, acting chief medical officer of CMS and deputy-director of its Office of Clinical Standards and Quality. "Identifying a remediable cause for end stage renal disease, which currently affects 500,000 individuals, may help reduce the number of Americans requiring kidney dialysis or transplantation."
CMS intends to expand coverage to include 1) MRA to evaluate renal arteries in patients without a damaged aorta; 2) MRA to evaluate pelvic arteries in patients without a damaged aorta, and 3) Catheter angiography in addition to MRA when clinically warranted.
Details of the decision memorandum announced today can be found at http://www.cms.gov/ncdr/trackingsheet.asp?id=51