Medicare broadens ultrasound coverage

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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) yesterday announced the decision to provide coverage for Doppler monitoring of cardiac output in certain settings. CMS said it has determined that the current evidence is adequate to revise its longstanding Ultrasound Diagnostic Procedures National Coverage Determination and remove the past non-coverage of this diagnostic test in these settings.

CMS will amend the National Coverage Determination “Ultrasound Diagnostic Procedures” at section 220.5 of the NCD manual by adding “Monitoring of cardiac output (Esophageal Doppler) for ventilated patients in the ICU and operative patients with a need for intra-operative fluid optimization” to the list of covered uses.

Cardiac output monitoring is used to guide intravenous fluid replacement and pharmacologic therapy to maintain adequate flow of blood to the patient’s organs.