Medicare to cover cardiac rehab diet regimens

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Medicare will cover the cost of two new dietary regimens for beneficiaries undergoing intensive cardiac rehabilitation (ICR), the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said recently.

The Ornish and Pritikin dietary programs will be available to Medicare ICR patients, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said in its Aug. 12 announcement. By covering these two programs, CMS hopes to increase access to ICR services and decrease the disproportionate impact heart disease has on minority populations, according to the Bureau of National Affairs.

According to diet website www.everydiet.org, the Ornish diet excludes all fats, oils, nuts, seeds, avocados, refined carbohydrates (including sugar, white rice, and white flour), and most all dairy. The Pritikin plan emphasizes a low-fat, carbohydrate-rich diet. More information on the new coverage guidelines can be found at the CMS website.