The American Assn. of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation reports that:
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• About 1,000 programs have received professional certification.
• Programs typically provide an individualized exercise plan and education and counseling about diet, risk reduction and disease management.
• Medicare will pay for 36 sessions for eligible seniors. It does not pay for cardiac rehabilitation for patients who have congestive heart failure.
• Home-based cardiac rehabilitation programs are an alternative in some parts of the country, but Medicare and private insurance won't cover these services.
By the numbers
A June 2009 study of more than 600,000 Medicare patients in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found:
• 21% to 34%: Five-year survival rate of patients who commit to cardiac rehabilitation programs
• 18%: Number of older adults who began cardiac rehabilitation who took full advantage of its potential by attending 36 sessions.