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Medicare Coverage News In Brief

This article was originally published in The Gray Sheet

Executive Summary

GE T-Wave doesn't measure up: Cambridge Heart's HearTwave II microvolt T-wave alternans test would remain the only such test covered by Medicare under a Feb. 14 CMS proposal. GE Healthcare had requested that the agency expand its 2006 policy to cover the firm's Marquette MTWA test, also used to risk stratify patients who might need implantable defibrillators but with a different calculation method than HearTwave (1"The Gray Sheet" Sept. 24, 2007, p. 21); CMS says the evidence for Marquette's method is limited and not yet convincing. Perhaps more significantly, the agency notes that before finalizing its decision it will review recently reported data from the Medtronic-sponsored MASTER 1 trial, which CMS says casts doubt on the general usefulness of MTWA testing. The study could cause the agency to reassess whether MTWA, regardless of method, should be covered at all. Comments on the proposal are due March 15, and CMS will make a final decision by May 14
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