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Healthcare Economics & Policy


A $14 million price tag isn’t the only thing standing between cardiac patients and cholesterol-lowering PCSK9 inhibitors anymore—access to the drugs could be further blocked by insurance companies, according to a study published in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes this week.

The new voluntary bundled payment model announced by CMS on Jan. 9 offers payment for 32 clinical episodes, including several of the cardiovascular variety.

Royal Philips announced the relocation of its North American headquarters in Massachusetts from Andover to Cambridge in 2020. The new location, including a 243,000-square-foot facility, will house 2,000 employees, while 300 ultrasound system manufacturing positions will stay in Andover, according to the Boston Globe.

CMS is on the verge of rescinding a policy that has for years barred heart patients from MRI coverage if they had an implanted pacemaker or cardioverter defibrillator.

Neighborhood characteristics—not just individual socioeconomic standing—could have a significant impact on the cardiovascular health of a community and its residents, reports a study published this week in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.


Recent Headlines

AHA makes 1st-ever statement on meditation: It could be helpful, but no substitute for traditional care

In its first-ever scientific statement on the subject, the American Heart Association said meditation could be a useful treatment tool for cardiac patients, but the organization was careful not to recommend the practice over traditional medical recommendations.

Only 1 in 3 referred for PCSK9 inhibitors can afford them

Just over 30 percent of patients who receive a pricey prescription for the cholesterol-lowering medications known as PCSK9 inhibitors (PCSK9i) are able to pay for the drugs, new research states.

Study: Exact pill dispensing reduces waste, boosts adherence

A study of antibiotic delivery methods in France revealed an important finding that could be applied to other pharmaceuticals around the world: patients receiving a per-unit dispensing of pills demonstrated greater adherence to the medication than those receiving prepackaged boxes.

Lawsuit: St. Jude waited years before recalling faulty defibrillators

A collection of third-party insurance payers has filed a class-action lawsuit seeking $9.9 million from St. Jude Medical and parent company Abbott Laboratories, claiming St. Jude knew about a battery defect in its cardiac defibrillators nearly five years before issuing a recall.

Produce carts seeing increased health benefits for low-income customers

Researchers who surveilled of a handful of “Green Carts” in lower-income regions of New York are suggesting increased access to fresh produce—and the ability to pay for those fruits and vegetables with food stamps—could have a positive effect on overall health in disadvantaged areas.

Discussing the underlying causes of overtreatment

Recent research from PLOS One estimates half of all stents could be unnecessary. No matter how aware and vigilant cardiologists—and, of course all physicians—are in the face of overtreatment, that single statistic is alarming.

8 things to know about income, demographic trends for U.S. cardiologists

Income for American cardiologists continues to rise, with private physicians closing the gap on their integrated counterparts.

Disadvantaged groups more likely to be recommended for statin use, less likely to afford it

Recent guidelines in the U.S. suggest cholesterol-lowering statins should be prescribed more widely to prevent heart disease and aid diabetics, but most people who are newly recommended for the medication can’t afford it.

CMS's proposed physician fee schedule stokes concern in interventional cardiologists

Due to a lack of data, CMS has proposed blending the non-surgical and surgical malpractice factors used in rate setting for cardiology procedures—a possibility met with alarm by interventional cardiologists, who perform riskier procedures and pay higher malpractice premiums than general or non-invasive cardiologists.

CRF names Granada president and CEO

The Cardiovascular Research Foundation (CRF) announced Juan F. Granada, MD, has been appointed president and CEO on Monday, Sept. 11.