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Medicare Announces Expanded Coverage for Anticoagulation Patients, Opening the Door for More Patients to Test PT/INR at Home
Date:3/19/2008

Self-testing could assist physicians in achieving better outcomes for AF,

venous thromboembolism patients

INDIANAPOLIS, March 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Medicare Part B will now cover and pay for meter training, equipment and supplies for all long-term warfarin users who monitor their own PT/INR results at home with portable meters, such as the CoaguChek XS System for Patient Self-Testing. This expansion opens the door to increased patient access to testing, which could lead to better outcomes.

Medicare previously reimbursed these expenses only for patient self- testers who had mechanical heart valves. The new coverage expands to include those on anticoagulant medication with chronic atrial fibrillation and venous thromboembolism.

"The decision to expand coverage to additional disease states allows physicians to manage more of their patients on warfarin therapy through home testing," said Dr. Alan Jacobson, cardiologist, Loma Linda University School of Medicine. "Studies show that more frequent PT/INR testing leads to improved clinical outcomes. The benefits of providing patients with improved access to testing are reductions in strokes, bleeds and deaths."

According to a 2006 international meta-analysis led by Dr. Carl Heneghan and published in the Lancet, patient self-monitoring of oral anticoagulation leads to a significant one-third reduction in death from all causes. The study also showed that thromboembolism was decreased by 55 percent and major hemorrhage was also decreased.(1)

Studies suggest that anticoagulation patients who self-test may experience fewer complications overall than those who do not because self-testing may increase patient time in therapeutic range. A 2001 study published in Z Kardiol reported that over a two-year period, 80 percent of PT/INR values recorded by mechanical heart valve patients who performed self-testing were in target therapeutic range, compared to only 64.9 percent of P
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SOURCE Roche
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