Cardiac Pathways has recently received Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) pass-through Medicare reimbursement for its innovative Chilli and Chilli Realtime Position Management (RPM) catheter product lines. The use of the HCFA pass-through reimbursement codes can enable hospitals to potentially recoup the additional costs associated with utilising these new technologies.
"The approval represents a major milestone for our customers", stated Thomas M. Prescott, President and Chief Executive Officer of Cardiac Pathways. "The Chilli and Chilli RPM products have demonstrated to physicians that they are important tools in the diagnosis and treatment of cardiac arrhythmias. Our clinicians tell us these tools can significantly reduce procedure times and improve the effectiveness of the procedures. Now their hospitals can potentially offset any incremental costs associated with using these new tools."
Last July, HCFA modified its reimbursement levels to conform to Medicare's new Ambulatory Payment Classification (APC) codes. These codes however did not include pioneering technologies, such as the Chilli Cooled Ablation Catheter. Subsequently, HCFA established new criteria allowing for separate reimbursement for certain medical technologies that qualify as pass-through medical devices, helping ensure adequate reimbursement is provided.
The United States Food and Drug Administration approved the sale and marketing of the Chilli RPM Cooled Ablation Catheter last March. It is the only catheter of this kind approved by the FDA for ablation of non-idiopathic ventricular tachycardia. Its closed-path fluid circulation controls the catheter tip temperature during ablation. Studies have shown that by controlling the temperature, electro-physiologists have been better able to deliver energy and larger lesions to ablate cardiac tissue responsible for the arrhythmia.
Used in combination with the company's RPM Tracking System, physicians have been able to accurately manipulate the Chilli catheters within the heart during ablation procedures without the aid of fluoroscopy. The RPM System allows physicians to view the catheters in three dimensions and in real time, offering the potential for reduction in procedure times.
In turn, East Lansing, Michigan-based Sparrow Health System, recognised by Baltimore information management company HCIA as among the Top 100 Heart Hospitals in the United States, has been using Cardiac Pathways' revolutionary products to ablate patients with a variety of heart arrhythmias. The results to date have been very successful.
"This Cardiac Pathways system not only provides the physicians with an electrical map of the heart, but it also gives them an anatomical one as well", stated Dr. Ranjan Kumar Thakur, an electro-physiologist at the Sparrow Heart Center. "This computerised mapping system allows a physician to create accurate lines of lesions or burns, elevating the patients with atrial flutter, tachycardia and other arrythmias to the next level of care."
Sparrow is the latest in a growing list of top cardiac hospitals using Cardiac Pathways products. Among the others are the Johns Hopkins Medical Center in Baltimore, and hospitals in the Midwest, South and West of the United States, as well as several sites in Germany and the Netherlands.