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House Health Reform Amendments Round-Up: AAA Screening Report, No IMAC

This article was originally published in The Gray Sheet

Executive Summary

Amendments to ban reduced payments for pain treatments and make screenings for aneurysms a priority are just two provisions added to a health reform bill during the House Energy and Commerce Committee's marathon mark-up sessions July 30 and 31

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Medtronic AAA advocacy

Firm unveils "Find the AAAnswers" campaign, designed to draw attention to prevention and treatment of abdominal aortic aneurysms, at a New York City press conference Sept. 22. Medtronic's AneurRx AAAdvantage and Talent stent grafts are used in endovascular repair of AAA. The campaign, sponsored by Medtronic and supported by the Society for Vascular Surgeons, the American College of Preventive Medicine and the Society for Vascular Ultrasound, will include education and screening events, an interactive web portal (FindtheAAAnswers.org) and public service announcements. A one-time Medicare AAA ultrasound screening benefit for at-risk beneficiaries took effect in 2007, but screening rates have not climbed as much as hoped. At-risk patients are defined by Medicare as male smokers or men and women with a family history of the condition. AAA advocates are pushing to expand coverage beyond the one-time screen, which must occur within 12 months of enrollment, as part of health reform legislation (1"The Gray Sheet" Aug. 10, 2009)

Medtronic AAA advocacy

Firm unveils "Find the AAAnswers" campaign, designed to draw attention to prevention and treatment of abdominal aortic aneurysms, at a New York City press conference Sept. 22. Medtronic's AneurRx AAAdvantage and Talent stent grafts are used in endovascular repair of AAA. The campaign, sponsored by Medtronic and supported by the Society for Vascular Surgeons, the American College of Preventive Medicine and the Society for Vascular Ultrasound, will include education and screening events, an interactive web portal (FindtheAAAnswers.org) and public service announcements. A one-time Medicare AAA ultrasound screening benefit for at-risk beneficiaries took effect in 2007, but screening rates have not climbed as much as hoped. At-risk patients are defined by Medicare as male smokers or men and women with a family history of the condition. AAA advocates are pushing to expand coverage beyond the one-time screen, which must occur within 12 months of enrollment, as part of health reform legislation (1"The Gray Sheet" Aug. 10, 2009)

House panel limits CE research

In a last-minute markup session on health reform legislation before breaking for its August recess, the House Energy and Commerce Committee agreed by voice vote to limits on comparative effectiveness research. One amendment, offered by Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., states that the research cannot be used to deny or ration care. A second amendment from Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Ga., specifies that CMS cannot base coverage decisions on federally funded clinical comparative effectiveness research. At press time, markup on the bill was expected to be completed, and the entire package approved by the panel, before the House recessed. The Senate Finance Committee said July 31 it will not vote on its version of health reform until the Senate returns from its recess in September

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