Medicare Covers Test to Assess RA Disease Activity

Medicare Covers Test to Assess RA Disease Activity

Vectra® DA—a test that is used to monitor rheumatoid arthritis (RA) disease activity—is now a covered benefit for Medicare beneficiaries.

RA disease activity refers to the level of ongoing inflammation, symptoms, and/or joint damage. Information about disease activity allows doctors to monitor a patient’s response to treatment, and to adjust treatment as needed. Traditional measures of disease activity consider factors such as lab test results, patient-reported symptoms, and counts of swollen or tender joints.

A newer way to measure disease activity is with the Vectra DA test, which is an innovative blood test that allows doctors to test for several biological markers (or biomarkers) of RA simultaneously. Vectra DA measures the levels of 12 proteins in the blood—biomarkers that have been linked to RA disease activity—and then combines them into a single score (between 1 and 100) that classifies RA disease activity as “low”, “moderate”, or “high”. The test does not replace a doctor’s evaluation, but it does provide a precise, objective measure of the underlying biology of the RA.

The goal of the Vectra DA test is to help optimize the management of RA, and Medicare coverage will expand the number of people who have access to the test.

Source: Crescendo Bioscience news release. Crescendo Bioscience® announces Medicare coverage for Vectra® DA to measure disease activity in rheumatoid arthritis. July 8, 2013.