November 16, 2009
The Medicare program is seeking public input on the national coverage of bone marrow and umbilical cord blood transplantation to treat myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) for Medicare patients. The National Marrow Donor Program® (NMDP) is encouraging patients, families and physicians to show their support by submitting personal stories and comments to CMS no later than Dec. 10, 2009 at http://www.cms.hhs.gov/mcd/viewnca.asp?nca_id=238.
Bone marrow is the only known curative treatment for MDS, a group of diseases that affects the bone marrow and blood. Promising new data show that transplantation for MDS is an effective treatment for the Medicare population.
“Currently, Medicare-aged patients 65 and older represent 80 percent of all patients diagnosed with MDS,” said Dr. Jeffrey W. Chell, CEO, NMDP. “Expanding Medicare coverage of bone marrow and cord blood transplantation to include MDS is vital to ensuring that patients can benefit from this treatment before their disease becomes more severe.”
The national coverage analysis is based on efforts by a committed coalition comprised of the NMDP, American Society of Blood and Marrow Transplantation (ASBMT) and other stakeholders. Public comments are a vital part of Medicare’s decision-making process. The information will be used to determine if Medicare should extend current treatment options to include marrow and cord blood transplants.
About the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP)
The National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) is a not-for-profit organization entrusted to operate the C.W. Bill Young Cell Transplantation Program created by Congress in 2005. As a leader in the field of marrow and cord blood transplantation, the NMDP manages the Be The Match Registry, facilitates transplants worldwide, conducts research to help transplant recipients live longer, healthier lives, and provides education to patients and health care professionals. The NMDP is dedicated to creating an opportunity for all patients to receive the transplant therapy they need. Since operations began in 1987, the NMDP has provided more than 35,000 transplants to help give patients a second chance at life. For more information, visit www.BeTheMatch.org or call 1 (800) MARROW-2.