Why the United States Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) should not extend reimbursement indications for carotid artery angioplasty/stenting.
In recent years, many important discoveries have been made to challenge current policy, guidelines, and practice regarding how best to prevent stroke associated with atherosclerotic stenosis of the origin of the internal carotid artery. The United States Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), for instance, is calling for expert advice as to whether its current policies should be modified. Using a thorough review of literature, 41 leading academic stroke-prevention clinicians from the United States and other countries, have united to advise CMS not to extend current reimbursement indications for carotid angioplasty/stenting (CAS) to patients with asymptomatic carotid stenosis or to patients with symptomatic carotid stenosis considered to be at "low or standard risk from carotid endarterectomy (CEA)." It was concluded that such expansion of reimbursement indications would have disastrous health and economic consequences for the United States and any other country that may follow such inappropriate action. This was an international effort because the experts to best advise CMS are relatively few and scattered around the world. In addition, US health policy, practice, and research have tended to have strong influences on other countries.