Advocacy for outpatient cardiac rehabilitation globally

Abraham Samuel Babu, Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, Randal J. Thomas, Wanrudee Isaranuwatchai, Artur Haddad Herdy, Jeffrey S. Hoch, Sherry L. Grace

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Background: Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are the leading cause of death globally. Cardiac rehabilitation (CR) is an evidence-based intervention recommended for patients with CVD, to prevent recurrent events and to improve quality of life. However, despite the proven benefits, only a small percentage of those would benefit from CR actually receive it worldwide. This paper by the International Council of Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation forwards the groundwork for successful CR advocacy to achieve broader reimbursement, and hence implementation. Methods: First, the results of the International Council's survey on national CR reimbursement policies by government and insurance companies are summarized. Second, a multi-faceted approach to CR advocacy is forwarded. Finally, as per the advocacy recommendations, the economic impact of CVD and the corresponding benefits of CR and its cost-effectiveness are summarized. This provides the case for CR reimbursement advocacy. Results: Thirty-one responses were received, from 25 different countries: 18 (58.1 %) were from high-income countries, 10 (32.4 %) from upper middle-income, and 3 (9.9 %) from lower middle-income countries. When asked who reimburses at least some portion of CR services in their country, 19 (61.3 %) reported the government, 17 (54.8 %) reported patients pay out-of-pocket, 16 (51.6 %) reported insurance companies, 12 (38.7 %) reported that it is shared between the patient and another source, and 7 (22.6 %) reported another source. Conclusions: Many patients pay out-of-pocket for CR. CR reimbursement around the world is inconsistent and insufficient. Advocacy campaigns forwarding the CR cause, supported by the relevant literature, enlisting sources of support in a unified manner with an organized plan, are needed, and must be pursued persistently.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number471
JournalBMC health services research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 6 2016


  • Cardiac rehabilitation
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Insurance
  • Reimbursement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


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