- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Dear Sgt. Shaft:

My doctor has approved use of the Phillips Self Testing PT/INR machine. Medicare will pay 80 percent of the test strip cost. Does TRICARE cover PT/INR self testing? Thank you.

Anna G.
Via the Internet

Dear Anna:

I am told that TRICARE for Life (TFL) will cover this testing, as Medicare now does. See description below:

On March 19, 2008, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that it will significantly expand coverage for home monitoring of prothrombin time (PT/INR) for Medicare beneficiaries to include patients with chronic atrial fibrillation and venous thromboembolism. Since 2002, Medicare has covered home PT/INR monitoring solely for patients with mechanical heart valves. The expanded coverage will now include Medicare beneficiaries meeting the following conditions:

• The beneficiary requires chronic oral anticoagulation with warfarin for a mechanical heart valve, chronic atrial fibrillation, or venous thromboembolism;

• The beneficiary has been anticoagulated for at least three months prior to use of the home INR device;

• The beneficiary has undergone a face-to-face educational program on anticoagulation management and demonstrated the correct use of the device prior to its use in the home;

• The beneficiary continues to use the device correctly in the context of the management of the anticoagulation therapy following initiation of home monitoring; and

• Home-testing with the device occurs no more frequently than once a week.

Shaft Notes

• Kudos to Rep. Jeff Miller, Florida Republican, chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, and Rep. Bob Filner, ranking member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee for their bipartisan support of our nations veterans. Mr. Miller and Chairman Marlin Stutzman, Indiana Republican, of the committee’s Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity introduced H.R. 1383, the Restoring GI Bill Fairness Act of 2011.

This bill will temporarily authorize the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to pay tuition and fees on behalf of eligible veterans attending non-public education and training institutions under the Post 9/11 GI Bill, in an amount that is the greater of $17,500 or the maximum in-state rate for undergraduate tuition and fees in effect on Oct. 27, 2010.

This temporary change would prevent students who have already enrolled in high-cost non-public schools from experiencing a reduction in tuition and fees paid by VA on their behalf due to changes made under Public Law 111-377, the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Improvements Act of 2010.

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