Medicare and Medicaid Coverage: Therapies and Supplies for Inflammatory Bowel Disease

GAO-06-63 Published: Dec 15, 2005. Publicly Released: Dec 15, 2005.
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Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) affects an estimated one million Americans. IBD patients often have difficulty digesting food. As a result, they may require parenteral nutrition (intravenous feeding) or enteral nutrition (tube feeding), medically necessary food products to supplement their diets, and medications. In addition, some IBD patients must care for their ostomies--surgically created openings for the discharge of digested food. IBD advocates have recently expressed concerns regarding the ability of IBD patients to obtain the health care they need. The Research Review Act of 2004 directed GAO to study the Medicare and Medicaid coverage standards for individuals with IBD, in both home health and outpatient delivery settings. GAO (1) identified the Medicare and Medicaid coverage standards for five key therapies used for the treatment of IBD and (2) determined what specific supplies used in these therapies Medicare and Medicaid programs will pay for. In this work, GAO examined Medicare's national and local coverage policies and conducted a survey of Medicaid programs in the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

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