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Medicare cuts to affect CAPRI Heart & Lung Institute
The CAPRI Heart & Lung Institute is facing major changes, including closures, after Medicare cut major funding.
At this moment, the House of Representatives has completely cut pulmonary rehab, said CAPRI Heart & Lung Institute spokeswoman Diana George.
Feeling the effects of the government, pulmonary rehabilitation programs have had decreased funding throughout the past year. As of January 2008, Pulmonary Rehab will no longer be reimbursed by Medicare, according to a news release.
(The cuts) means we will have to shut down Poulsbos and Port Orchards facilities and cut back at Bremerton, she added. What will happen all depends on what the Senate will do.
George added that the current procedures for cardiopulmonary rehabilitation involve nurses tending to patients as doctors oversee the progress. With the lack of Medicare funding, doctors will oversee individual patients, creating a mountain of higher costs.
Its killing (cardiopulmonary rehab facilities) with kindness, she added.
Helping Kitsap County battle cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases for 29 years, George said they help patients make a healthy, steady comeback overcoming the challenges of their life-altering diagnoses.
This includes teaching the patients better nutrition, physical activity and how to take their medication.
For our pulmonary rehabilitation, I dont know too many gyms that will allow people to work out with their oxygen ... We work them slowly but surely, she added. You have to put it back together slowly ... a heart you dont see, but its like any other muscle.
The CAPRI Heart & Lung Institute is the icing on the cake for Harrison Medical Centers Cardiac programs, George added.
If patients are not in cardiac rehab within two years, they will have a relapse (according to statistics), George said. If were decreasing a couple people from having heart attacks, were actually saving our government money.
She added that due to the Medicare cuts, residents in their 20s and 30s will not have the program available to them in the future. These changes also could make these programs too expensive for hospitals and freestanding clinics to exist. Although the funding is dim, there is hope.
At this time, the Pulmonary and Cardiac Rehabilitation Bill is with the Senate Finance Committee awaiting approval. If it passes through this committee, it will continue through the whole Senate. If it does not pass, CAPRI will lose 25 percent of its budget, according to a news release.
Were kind of sitting (right now), George said. (People can help) by writing to your government to tell them its important to keep these types of programs in Medicare.