Counting will resume for minimums for ventricular assist device procedures at end of PHE

by A.J. Plunkett (

For hospitals with cardiac programs that include performing ventricular assist device (VAD) implants, The Joint Commission (TJC) offers the reminder that as of May 12, 2023, CMS will resume monitoring the number of procedures done by the VAD team as part of determining coverage under Medicare.

CMS halted a requirement to count the volume of VAD implants by surgeons under the national Public Health Emergency (PHE) for COVID-19. But that ends at close of day May 11, 2023.

In TJC’s May issue of Perspectives, the accreditation organization said that at the end of the PHE, (CMS) halted the requirement to count the “volume of ventricular assist device (VAD) implants by surgeons,” but that the count will resume in accordance with the National Coverage Determination (NCD) memo 20.9.1.

Under that memo, the VAD team must include “at least one physician with cardiothoracic surgery privileges and individual experience implanting at least 10 durable, intracorporeal, left ventricular assist devices over the course of the previous 36 months with activity in the last year,” noted TJC, which also offers certification of VAD programs.

“Counting VAD implants will resume on May 11, 2023. To meet eligibility requirements for VAD certification, programs must have at a minimum one privileged cardiothoracic surgeon who is actively working toward the minimum requirement of implanting no fewer than 10 VAD devices within the next 36 months as described in NCD 20.9.1,” according to TJC.

“During the 36 months between May 11, 2023, and May 11, 2026, each cardiothoracic surgeon who is granted privileges at a health care organization must implant a minimum of 10 VAD implants in that period with activity each year to meet eligibility requirements for VAD program certification,” according to TJC.

But you don’t have to wait 36 months. TJC says it will honor the counting if your hospital program continued to monitor the number of implants and meet minimum surgical volumes.

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