CMS increases 2011 reimbursements for SynCardia artificial heart

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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has approved new technology add-on payments of up to $53,000 for the SynCardia temporary Total Artificial Heart (TAH-t) through its fiscal year 2011 Hospital Inpatient Prospective Payment System (PPS) final rule. The decision is effective Oct. 1.

“Commenters supported our proposal to continue add-on payments for the TAH-t … for patients with bi-ventricular heart failure, the TAH-t continues to represent a substantial clinical improvement,” CMS stated in the PPS.

SynCardia Systems, manufacturer of the Total Artificial Heart, said that the use of its 13.5 lb Freedom portable driver increased the operating costs of the Total Artificial Heart. As a result, the Tucson, Ariz.-based company requested that the new technology add-on payment be increased accordingly. However, CMS noted that because the Freedom driver is undergoing an investigational device exemption study and is not FDA-approved, it is unable to increase the new technology add-on payments for FY 2011.