CMS will no longer cut reimbursement for Impella heart pumps

CMS this month announced that, after continued analysis of Abiomed’s Impella RP system, it will no longer be cutting its reimbursement rate for the heart pump in October.

In April, CMS proposed reducing reimbursement for the Impella pump and related procedures by 27%, effective October 1 of this year. But in a statement issued August 2 the agency reversed its proposal, deciding instead that there would be “no reduction versus the prior year” for Abiomed’s product.

The Impella pump came under scrutiny earlier this year after an FDA post-approval study suggested patients treated with the system were seeing higher mortality rates than those observed in initial premarket studies. The FDA admitted it was concerned about the evidence but in May issued a statement clearing the technology as safe, so long as it was being used for appropriate indications in appropriate patients.

CMS’ final decision about Impella reimbursements will take effect in October and remain effective for 12 months. And not only are reimbursements going to escape a cut—in some cases, it looks like they’ll increase from anywhere between 3% to 7%.