Home INR testing improves safety for women on warfarin Coumadin® (warfarin) has been prescribed for over 60 years to prevent dangerous blood clots which can lead to heart attack or stroke. Historically, preventative treatment has favored men receiving warfarin over women over fear of falls and bleeding risk in women despite women’s increased risk of heart disease and stroke over men.
Good new for women taking Coumadin® (warfarin) came March 19, 2008 when Medicare announced expanded coverage for patients to test their blood in the privacy of their home. The policy extends benefits to Medicare beneficiaries who have been taking warfarin for at least 90 days for any of the following reasons: atrial fibrillation, mechanical heart valve replacement or venous thromboembolism (DVT/ PE).1
What is home INR testing?
Home INR testing allows patients taking warfarin to test their blood at home with a small finger-stick sample of blood –- not too different for women with diabetes who check their blood for insulin levels. For Coumadin® patients, they simply phone their home test results into their physician through a toll-free number and their results are electronically entered into their chart.
Coumadin® is a medication that requires a small sample of blood to measure the effect of prolonging the bleeding time designed to prevent dangerous blood clot development. Medicare and many private insurance company’s provide reimbursement for up to, but not more frequent, than weekly home testing to reduce bleeding risks.1
Home INR testing however, requires a physician’s prescription for one of the FDA-approved, small, hand-held monitors and for testing supplies. The monitor and testing supplies are not available in retail pharmacies but can be obtained through specialty distributors such as Quality Assured Services, Inc. (QAS). QAS is a Medicare and private insurance provider that distributes, trains and communicates patient’s home test results to the patient’s physicians.
Who is a candidate for home INR testing?