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CMS begins Medicare coverage of using AuSCT for (AL) Amyloidosis patients.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced it will begin providing Medicare coverage for autologous stem cell transplants (AuSCT) for patients suffering from primary amyloid light chain (AL) Amyloidosis. The new coverage went into effect on March 15, the day of the announcement.

"This decision is part of Medicare's ongoing commitment to ensure access to the most up-to-date cancer treatment alternatives and increase access at any age for its beneficiaries," Mark McClellan, MD, CMS administrator, said in a press release.

AuSCT can treat AL Amyloidosis, a rare blood disorder that affects the heart, kidneys, nervous system and gastrointestinal system and results in extensive organ system impairment. Stem cells are retrieved from a patient's bone marrow or blood, stored, and then transplanted back into the patient following high dose chemotherapy used to treat various cancers.

Prior to March 15, CMS refused to cover the stem cell procedure for patients age 64 and older. CMS said it analyzed the medical and scientific evidence and considered recommendations of professional societies and other experts in the field before making a determination that AuSCT can provide a health benefit for Medicare beneficiaries of any age with primary AL Amyloidosis.

The expanded coverage decision recommends coverage for beneficiaries who meet the following specific criteria: amyloid deposition in 2 or fewer organs and cardiac left ventricular ejection fraction of greater than 45%.

CMS added the final decision is responsive to public comments on the proposed decision that suggested eliminating a serum creatinine requirement of 2.0mg/dl or less and lowering the ejection fraction to 45%.

The final decision memoranda is available on CMS Web site:
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Title Annotation:Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services; autologous stem cell transplants
Comment:CMS begins Medicare coverage of using AuSCT for (AL) Amyloidosis patients.(Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services)(autologous stem cell transplants)
Publication:Transplant News
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 31, 2005
Previous Article:Bill establishing a national cord blood stem cell bank introduced in House.
Next Article:Legislation banning all forms of human cloning introduced in US Senate.

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