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Frequently Asked Questions

 

  1. Is self-testing covered by CMS and insurance carriers?
  2. Why should people who take daily anticoagulation medication now consider testing their PT/INR levels once a week when once a month used to be often enough?
  3. Why are more doctors recommending that their patients self-test?
  4. How does Remote Cardiac Services help assure compliance?
  5. Who trains the patient how to use the Remote Cardiac Services INR self-test service?
  6. Can a patient subscribe to this service on their own?
  7. What happens if the meter needs checking or repair?
  8. How will your patient get new supplies like test strips and lancets for the self test?

 

1. Is self-testing covered by CMS and insurance carriers?

Medicare has approved PT/INR self-testing for patients taking warfarin (Coumadin) and who have mechanical heart valves, chronic atrial fibrillation or venous thrombosis, which includes deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism. While most health insurance companies have also approved reimbursement for the test, approval at other insurers may still be pending. If you prescribe the test, Remote Cardiac Services will handle all insurance inquiries and reimbursement requirements for your patient, and will provide you with the status of patient's insurance coverage before the service is started.

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2. Why should people who take daily anticoagulation medication now consider testing their PT/INR levels once a week when once a month used to be often enough?

Coumadin (warfarin) therapy must be closely managed because it has a narrow therapeutic range. Recent clinical research has shown that patients on daily oral anti-coagulants that check their PT/INR levels at least once a week stay in range more frequently than those who test only once a month, and they have fewer complications. Since maintaining the proper PT/INR level can be difficult for many people, more frequent testing is recommended for patient safety and it allows you to adjust medication dosage sooner, if needed.

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3. Why are more doctors recommending that their patients self-test?

A vast body of clinical evidence supports the benefits of self-testing and it gives patients better control over their health in several ways. First, because doctors can quickly be alerted if PT/INR levels are out of range, you can adjust your patients' dosage faster ito avoid any complications that might otherwise have occurred. Second, it better suits patient's lifestyles as it allows them to test when convenient and it allows them to test at home, avoiding travel to the lab. Thirdly, most health plans recognize the advantages of self-testing and offer reimbursement for it.

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4. How does Remote Cardiac Services help assure compliance?

A comprehensive system to encourage testing schedule adherence is provided to each patient. If a patient misses 1 test, an automated reminder call is sent. If 2 tests are missed, both an automated and live call are made. If 3 tests are missed, a live call is made and contact is made with the prescribing office. If 4 tests are missed, a letter is sent to both the patient and doctor. The patient will also receive periodic mail reminders throughout the year regarding the importance of self-testing. If a patient fails to resume scheduled testing without reason the physician is notified and the patient is removed from service.

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5. Who trains the patient how to use the Remote Cardiac Services' INR self-test service?

The patient can be trained either in the doctor's office or by a Remote Cardiac Services training professional. The training consists of instruction on how to use the portable self-testing meter, as well as how to call in the results after they test. Patients must demonstrate their ability to fully perform the test before the service is activated.

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6. Can a patient subscribe to this service on their own?

Doctors must prescribe the service in order for a patient to be entitled to receive full or partial insurance reimbursement. Patients must also wait at least 3 months after beginning anti-coagulation therapy before starting self-testing. For more information and a copy of CMS CPT codes and guidelines, click here.

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7. What happens if the meter needs checking or repair?

The meter is provided to the patient on permanent loan for the duration of the time they participate in our service. These meters are highly reliable, but should one fail or need repair, Remote Cardiac Services will promptly provide a replacement at no charge.

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8. How will your patient get new supplies like test strips and lancets for the self test?

Patients will contact Remote Cardiac Services directly when they have about one month of supplies remaining, and they will be sent a new shipment at no charge. If your patient is planning to travel to a location where it may be difficult to receive mail, they can call us before they leave and we will send them extra supplies for the duration of their trip.

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