PAD Task Force urges lawmakers to support establishment of intragovernmental workgroup on amputation reduction and oppose proposed Medicare cuts to PAD treatments
WASHINGTON– Members of the newly formed PAD Task Force – including the Association of Black Cardiologists, CardioVascular Coalition, Preventative Cardiovascular Nurse Association and Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions– today commended Congressman Erik Paulsen (MN-3) and Congressman Donald Payne (NJ-10) for sponsoring a Capitol Hill briefing yesterday to raise awareness about the risks of peripheral artery disease (PAD) and the need for policies to reduce preventable amputations.
PAD is a limb-threatening circulatory condition, that when left undiagnosed and untreated can result in lower-limb amputation. It is exacerbated by conditions like diabetes, chronic hypertension and renal disease, which are most prevalent in minority populations. According to estimates, PAD results in 180,000 amputations annually in the United States. These non-traumatic amputations often occur without any diagnostic testing, meaning PAD patients are losing limbs before they receive the testing to determine if limb-saving treatments are an option.
“I applaud Congressmen Payne and Paulsen for sponsoring today’s briefing and offering us a platform to call attention to the devastating impact of PAD on communities across the country, particularly minority populations that disproportionately experience preventable amputations,” said Bryan Fisher, moderator of today’s briefing and a member of the CardioVascular Coalition. “As we recognize PAD Awareness Month this September, we are urging policymakers to work with us to advance a comprehensive strategy to combat PAD in the United States that includes increased screening for at-risk patients as well as access to multidisciplinary care and vascular evaluations.”
Earlier this year, 32 members of the U.S. House of Representatives sent a letter – lead by Congressmen Paulsen and Payne – urging the Department of Health and Human Services and the Veterans Health Administration to adopt a national strategy to reduce non-traumatic amputations through increased awareness of peripheral artery disease (PAD), increased screenings for at risk populations, and improved access to multidisciplinary care.
Speakers at yesterday’s briefing included representatives from the PAD Task Force, which was formed to collectively advance a comprehensive strategy that combines increased public awareness and robust screening with non-amputation treatment measures and multidisciplinary care. Specifically, the PAD Task Force is asking the Administration to convene an intragovernmental workgroup to develop a standardized model for amputation reduction and raise awareness on the issue.
“As a member of the PAD Task Force, The Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions looks forward to with working with others in the vascular care community to advocate for the creation of an intragovernmental workgroup on amputation reduction. It is past time for a meaningful solution to this complex problem, which can only be achieved through enhanced screening, vascular evaluations before amputation and an emphasis on multidisciplinary care,” said Ehrin J. Armstrong, MD, MSc, MAS, FSCAI.
The Administration has the capacity to take significant steps towards the total elimination of PAD-related non-traumatic amputations by convening an intragovernmental workgroup to develop a standardized model for amputation reduction, which can be modeled after existing programs including the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Preventing Amputations in Veterans Everywhere (PAVE) program.
Further, members of the PAD Task Force are asking lawmakers to urge the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to prevent cuts of 30 percent or more to revascularization procedures used to treat PAD included in the 2019 Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) Proposed Rule. Stakeholders are concerned the cuts stem from CMS’ proposal to update equipment and supply pricing data in the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule database based on inaccurate and incomplete data.
“We hope lawmakers in Congress will support the delivery of quality PAD care, oppose deep Medicare cuts to PAD treatments and advance the establishment of a standardized model for amputation reduction,” added Foluso Fakorede, MD, Association of Black Cardiologists’ PAD Initiative Co-chair and CEO, Cardiovascular Solutions of Central Mississippi. “Yesterday’s briefing is a positive step toward the development of a standard model for PAD care and amputation reduction that I hope will save limbs and save lives for individuals diagnosed with PAD.”