CMS evaluates PET scans for Alzheimer’s

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced it is designing a demonstration to evaluate the potential role of positron emission tomography (PET) for patients with suspected dementia, as well as a multidisciplinary expert meeting to fully explore the value of PET for Alzheimer’s disease.

Medicare presently does not cover PET for Alzheimer’s disease. CMS representatives say that the clinical benefit to patients has not been demonstrated. Medicare coverage is provided for clinical evaluation of cognitive impairment, as recommended by the American Academy of Neurology.

For more information, visit www.cms.hhs.gov/ncdr/ncdr_index.asp.


Home care has positive effect on heart patients

A survey by Duke University Medical Center in Durham, NC, that was funded by the Agency for Healthcare Quality Research, found that heart disease patients who received home health care after discharge from the hospital reported better quality of life than those who had no home health visits. The study consisted of 1,300 patients recently hospitalized for heart problems. They were contacted nine months after discharge and asked to fill out a survey on how they perceived their quality of life since hospitalization.

Researchers divided the patients into four groups, according to the reason for their hospital stay: unstable angina, heart attack, angioplasty, and coronary artery bypass surgery. More than a third of the heart attack patients (39%) and almost half of the bypass patients (49%) who received home care reported feeling "much better" after discharge compared to 19% and 45% respectively for those who did not receive home care.