Sens. Captio, Klobuchar introduce bill to increase patient access to cardiovascular and pulmonary care

Washington-DC
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WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) introduced the Increasing Access to Quality Cardiac Rehabilitation Care Act of 2021.

The bipartisan legislation would expand and expedite access to cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation services by authorizing physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and clinical nurse specialists to order cardiac rehabilitation and pulmonary rehabilitation under Medicare and begin supervising this care in 2022.

“Ensuring timely access to cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation programs is critical to improving the lives of people who need cardiovascular care, especially in rural areas,” Senator Klobuchar said. “Our bipartisan legislation will expand who can refer patients to these programs, helping connect more people to the care they need and ensuring they get that care faster.”

Headshot photo of U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito standing with arm relaxed on counter.

Over the past year, we have seen how vital access to quality health care is. Never have cardiac rehabilitation and pulmonary rehabilitation been needed more, but we continue to see that not nearly enough patients—especially those in rural and underserved areas—are receiving these services. This legislation will allow additional providers to order and supervise these programs sooner, making it easier to ensure patients are able to access the care they need and deserve.”

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.)

Currently, only physicians are authorized to order and supervise cardiac or pulmonary rehabilitation for Medicare patients, which can create unnecessary obstacles, delays, and paperwork before patients can receive the rehabilitation services that are needed on a timely basis, and make it challenging for programs to operate in areas where physicians are scarce.

The Increasing Access to Quality Cardiac Rehabilitation Care Act builds upon the innovative Improving Access to Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehabilitation Act—legislation that was passed as part of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, which authorized physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and clinical nurse specialists to supervise cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation beginning in 2024.

The bill is supported by several organizations, including, the American Heart Association, the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation, the American College of Cardiology, the American Nurses Association, the American Association for Respiratory Care, the American Academy of Pas, the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, WomenHeart, and the Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association.

To view the full bill, click here.

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