Cardiac Rehabilitation

Updated:Feb 22,2016
Nurse and patient who is lifting weights

Each year, roughly 935,000 Americans will have a coronary event, and more than 30% will suffer a second and potentially fatal one. But cardiac rehabilitation (CR) can help reduce the risk of a future cardiac event by stabilizing, slowing, or even reversing the progression of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Cardiac rehab is a medically supervised program consisting of exercise training, education on heart-healthy living, and counseling to reduce stress -- all of which can help patients return to an active lifestyle and recover more quickly.

Though cardiac rehab can be a vital resource on the road to recovery, just 12% of eligible Medicare beneficiaries ever participate. One reason participation rates have historically been low is a Medicare rule that requires a physician to directly supervise these programs, which can limit access and add on unnecessary costs.

The American Heart Association supports H.R. 3355 and S. 488 that would allow physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and clinical nurse specialists to supervise cardiac rehabilitation services on a day-to-day basis under Medicare.  The legislation will not alter the requirement for medical direction of these programs, but rather would allow non-physician practitioners to meet the direct supervision requirement.

To find cardiac rehab resources for patients, survivors, and caregivers, click here.


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Why are cardiac rehab programs vital for patients?

Man and doctor in a cardiac rehab session

Clinical research has shown cardiac rehabilitation reduces mortality by over 50% compared with those patients who do not participate.
Learn more here!

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Take Action for Cardiac Rehab!

Urge your congressional representative today to cosponsor bipartisan legislation that would allow non-physician providers to supervise cardiac rehab programs and make cardiac rehab accessible to more Medicare patients.

To take action, click here for Cardiac Rehab!!