Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is reconsidering its policy on whether or not and under which circumstances Medicare will cover Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR). TAVR is a minimally-invasive procedure that repairs heart valves for the millions of Americans who are diagnosed with aortic stenosis, a serious heart valve disease.
Although not right for everyone, TAVR is a life-changing option for many patients. I should know—I’ve had two open-heart procedures throughout my life. Both were exhausting, took weeks—if not months—to fully recover from, and were extremely costly. I only learned of TAVR as an alternative option after my second surgery. Had I known about TAVR prior to having two open-heart surgeries, I would have most certainly opted for TAVR.
As more people are diagnosed with severe aortic stenosis every year, it’s important that those patients have access to the treatment that is right for them. CMS should not restrict access to TAVR procedures but instead further encourage medical professionals to guide patients to the treatment that’s right for them.