National Blood Clot Alliance (NBCA) has requested that the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) waive the 90 day delay imposed on Medicare beneficiaries seeking to test their blood at home when they start treatment with warfarin blood thinner. These patients need to be tested frequently when warfarin treatment begins in order to make sure they achieve proper INR levels to ensure they remain in the correct therapeutic range to prevent blood clots. Current Medicare policy requires that they return to the hospital, a physician’s office, or an independent laboratory to receive Medicare covered services.
Randy Fenninger, President of NBCA, said “Many patients can test themselves at home so they don’t have to take time consuming trips to be tested.” According to Jack Ansell, MD, Chair of NBCA’s Medical and Scientific Advisory Board, “The inconvenience to patients leads to missed or cancelled visits and the patients are not tested. Frequent testing is most crucial at the beginning of treatment to maintain stable INR levels, and this is most readily achieved when patients are able to test themselves at home.” Fenninger pointed out that “for discharged hospital patients starting warfarin, readmissions increase when they are not tested frequently at the beginning. We are asking for this waiver from CMS to improve patient care, to reduce disruption in the lives of those on blood thinners and to reduce healthcare costs.”