Public Health Impact of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Decision on Pass-Through Add-On Payments for Drug-Coated Balloons: A Call to Action

JACC Cardiovasc Interv. 2018 Mar 12;11(5):496-499. doi: 10.1016/j.jcin.2018.01.233.


On Wednesday, November 1, 2017, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) made a public decision to end the transitional pass-through add-on payment for drug-coated balloons beginning January 1, 2018, without creating a new ambulatory payment classification rate for these devices. In this Viewpoint, the authors highlight the disconnect between the CMS's decision not to create a new ambulatory payment classification category for drug-coated balloons despite demonstrated clinical superiority. The authors believe this decision is more in line with a rigid fee-for-service payment system than a value-based system that encourages quality over quantity, and disadvantages both the elderly and the poor. They call on all who advocate for patients with peripheral artery disease to action, encouraging their engagement on CMS decisions regarding payment.

Keywords: Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services; drug-coated balloons; fee-for-service; pass-through add-on payments; public health; value-based system.

MeSH terms

  • Angioplasty, Balloon / economics*
  • Angioplasty, Balloon / instrumentation*
  • Angioplasty, Balloon / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Cardiovascular Agents / economics*
  • Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, U.S. / economics*
  • Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, U.S. / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Coated Materials, Biocompatible / economics*
  • Drug Costs
  • Equipment Design
  • Government Regulation
  • Health Care Costs* / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Health Policy / economics*
  • Health Policy / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Health Services Accessibility / economics
  • Healthcare Disparities / economics
  • Humans
  • Policy Making
  • Reimbursement Mechanisms / economics
  • United States
  • Vascular Access Devices / economics*


  • Cardiovascular Agents
  • Coated Materials, Biocompatible