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Capitol Health Call
November 10, 2004

Expanding Medicare Coverage?

JAMA. 2004;292(18):2205. doi:10.1001/jama.292.18.2205-d

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services proposed in September to expand coverage of implantable cardioverter defibrillators and positron emission tomography (PET) for detection of Alzheimer disease.

The agency said it expects expanded coverage for implantable defibrillators will save thousands of lives a year by increasing the number of Medicare beneficiaries eligible for the device by one third, to nearly 500 000 individuals.

The expanded coverage for PET includes Medicare patients who meet the diagnostic criteria for both Alzheimer disease and fronto-temporal dementia who have been evaluated for specific alternate causes of dementia and for whom the cause of the clinical symptoms remains uncertain. Medicare coverage of PET also includes other patients with suspected Alzheimer disease who enroll in a large Medicare-approved clinical trial.