CardioWest Artificial Heart Implants May Increase Hospital Reimbursements


February 10, 2009

February 10, 2009 - Hospitals will be eligible in Medicare’s 2009 fiscal year for up to an additional $53,000 in reimbursement when they implant a CardioWest temporary Total Artificial Heart (TAH-t) compared to subsequently transplanting a donor heart.

This is according to a shift in policy by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). CMS agreed that “the TAH-t fulfills a role that no other mechanical circulatory support device can for patients in irreversible biventricular failure.”

Originally designed as a permanent replacement heart, the CardioWest artificial heart is currently approved as a bridge to human heart transplant for patients dying from end stage biventricular failure.

On July 31, 2008, CMS issued its final decision to reimburse the CardioWest artificial heart through the highest paying Diagnostic Related Group codes, MS-DRG 001 and 002. These are the same DRG codes used for reimbursement of heart transplants and left ventricular assist devices (LVADs). In addition, CMS approved the CardioWest for add-on payments of up to $53,000.

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