Medicare Part D May Hurt Heart Patients

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The new Medicare Part D program may make it difficult for a significant number of indigent patients with systolic heart failure (SHF) to access evidence-based medical therapies, according to new research.

Researchers followed 382 patients with SHF belonging to Louisiana's Chabert Medical Center's SHF disease management program. Patients had Medicare, and many utilized pharmaceutical-sponsored, medication-assistance programs (MAP) to access their life-saving therapies. MAP programs are potentially threatened as a result of the current change over to Medicare Part D. Patients had a mean age of 66.7 years and a median household income of $11,800 annually.

In total, 95 percent of these patients with SHF used ace inhibitors, 96 percent used beta-blockers, and 65 percent obtained their medications via the MAP. Researchers conclude, that as a result of Medicare Part D payments and copayments, a considerable amount of patients with SHF may lose access to medications.

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