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Medicare to update reimbursement criteria for degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, MS, Parkinson’s disease

What Medicare Will Cov­er Even if You’re Not Like­ly to Get Bet­ter (The New York Times):

Should the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment cov­er the costs of many kinds of treat­ments for patients who aren’t going to get any bet­ter? It didn’t, for many years. But after the set­tle­ment of a land­mark class-action this week, Medicare will soon begin pay­ing more often for phys­i­cal, occu­pa­tion­al and oth­er ther­a­pies for large num­bers of peo­ple with cer­tain dis­abil­i­ties and chron­ic con­di­tions like Alzheimer’s dis­ease, mul­ti­ple scle­ro­sis and Parkinson’s dis­ease…

The idea that you would have to show improve­ment when you have a degen­er­a­tive dis­ease is bla­tant­ly absurd,” said Amy Com­stock Rick, chief exec­u­tive of the Parkinson’s Action Net­work. In her world, hold­ing steady or degen­er­at­ing more slow­ly than you might oth­er­wise is often the def­i­n­i­tion of suc­cess…

The biggest ques­tion mark may be for the large num­bers of peo­ple who suf­fer from demen­tia. Accord­ing to Robert Egge, vice pres­i­dent for pub­lic pol­i­cy at the Alzheimer’s Asso­ci­a­tion, there are many ben­e­fits that come from delay­ing the long-term pro­gres­sion of demen­tia. Leslie Fried, direc­tor of pol­i­cy and pro­gralaw­suit ms at the Nation­al Coun­cil on Aging, said there had been a par­tic­u­lar Medicare claims bias over the years in apply­ing the improve­ment stan­dard to peo­ple with demen­tia and oth­er forms of cog­ni­tive impair­ment.”

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