Sending Office: Honorable Lynn Jenkins
Sent By:

Help Improve Patient Access to Critical Cardiac Rehabilitation


Dear Colleague:

Please join us in sending the attached letter urging the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) to create a demonstration program focused on improving patient access to critical cardiac rehabilitation services in the Medicare Program.  We believe
a cardiac rehabilitation demonstration program could save thousands of lives each year and prevent countless hospitalizations.

The goal of cardiac rehabilitation is to reduce patients’ risk of a future cardiac event by stabilizing, slowing, or even reversing the progression of cardiovascular disease. Cardiac rehabilitation programs are medically-supervised and consist of exercise
training, education on heart-healthy living, counseling to reduce stress and other activities aimed at helping patients return to an active lifestyle.  Cardiac rehabilitation can be a lifesaver for many Medicare beneficiaries; reducing hospital readmissions
and cardiovascular disease mortality by roughly one-third.

Despite its clear and tangible benefits, patients across the country lack access to cardiac rehabilitation programs and certain populations, including women and minorities, are particularly impacted by lack of cardiac rehabilitation services in their communities.
A recent review from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that only 1 in 3 heart attack survivors reported receiving cardiac rehabilitation after suffering a heart attack.

To help improve health outcomes for patients and health care costs, we urge the CMMI to test ways to reduce barriers to participation. These barriers can include low referral rates, lack of a strong physician endorsement, limited awareness of the benefit
of cardiac rehabilitation, financial burdens on beneficiaries, and lack of access to program sites.  These demonstrations could explore the use of patient and provider incentives, as well as hybrid approaches that include a mix of center- and home-based approaches.
We believe these demonstrations are necessary to identifying ways to reduce barriers to this high value benefit.

A recent estimate showed that increasing participation in cardiac rehabilitation from 20% to 70% among those eligible would save 25,000 lives and prevent 180,000 hospitalizations annually.  By finding innovative ways to improve cardiac rehabilitation participation
by Medicare beneficiaries, a CMMI demonstration is an important step toward the goal of making these projections a reality.

Thank you for joining this important effort to improve access to care and outcomes for patients with cardiovascular disease. If you have would like to sign the attached letter or have any questions, please contact Baruch Humble (
in Rep. Jenkin’s office or Megan Herber ( in Rep. Matsui’s office.




Lynn Jenkins, CPA                                                                 Doris Matsui

Member of Congress                                                              Member of Congress