The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced it will now cover the cost of one office visit per year for Medicare patients in an effort to prevent cardiovascular disease (CVD).

CVD is the leading cause of death in this country, with more than 2 million Americans experiencing a heart attack or stroke every year. The decision by CMS will hopefully contribute to its prevention, which is the key to controlling the soaring cost of heart disease—a figure that reached $450 billion in 2010, according to a new policy statement from the American Heart Association.

According to CMS, intensive behavioral therapy comprising the CVD risk reduction visit should consist of one of the following three components:

    • Encouraging aspirin use for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease when the benefits outweigh the risks for men age 45-79 years and women 55-79 years.
    • Screening for high blood pressure in adults age 18 years and older.
    • Intensive behavioral counseling to promote a healthy diet for adults with hyperlipidemia, hypertension, advancing age and other known risk factors for cardiovascular and diet-related chronic disease.


Physician’s Weekly wants to know…

  • How valuable do you think primary prevention is in cardiovascular disease?