ACC-Supported Cardiac Rehab Bill Introduced in Senate

Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) introduced the Increasing Access to Quality Cardiac Rehabilitation Care Act of 2021 (S. 1986) in the Senate this week. Your ACC has long supported passage of this legislation, which would accelerate and expand the ability of physician assistants, nurse practitioners and clinical nurse specialists to supervise cardiac rehabilitation (rehab) programs under Medicare. The bill expedites the effective date of these changes to Jan. 1, 2022, and allows these practitioners to administer programs in their offices, prepare and sign treatment plans, and prescribe exercise.

"Over the past year, we have seen how vital access to quality health care is," Senator Capito said. "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."

"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."

The Increasing Access to Quality Cardiac Rehabilitation Care Act builds upon the 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.

Read the full bill.

Clinical Topics: Diabetes and Cardiometabolic Disease, Prevention, Exercise

Keywords: ACC Advocacy, Cardiac Rehabilitation, Nurse Clinicians, Medicare, Physician Assistants, Exercise, Nurse Practitioners


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