Coverage and benefits for a blood pressure device has been extended by the Centers for Medicaid Services (CMS).
The new extended coverage is for Medicaid beneficiaries who get stressed out and report abnormal blood pressure levels in clinical settings.
This specific blood pressure device measures blood pressure over a 24 hour period. CMS previously only covered the use of this monitor in the doctors office, if the patient reported being anxious. At that point, with a stressed patient, readings can be incorrect and unreliable.
But now, with extended coverage, the patient can be calm and be reliably monitored over a 24 hour period. Readings are transmitted to patients doctor. The data allows the doctor to make an accurate conclusion of the patient’s blood pressure during normal activity.
In addition, the device can also be used for patients with low pressure inside the doctors office. Medicare covers the use of the device once a year per patient.
Blood Pressure: Extended Coverage Helps Patients
The CMS reviewed research on the device and gathered feedback from stakeholders as part of its decision to extend coverage. The agency has covered the use of ambulatory blood monitoring devices for some patients since 2001.
In addition to expanding coverage of the devices, Medicare also lowered its definition of hypertension. A reading of 140/90 is now down to 130/80 to reflect medical societies’ latest recommendations.
The agency said in its news release the change “will allow more patients to use monitoring and receive appropriate treatment if needed.