Since taking effect on October 1, 2012, new rules from the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) have made reducing unplanned hospital readmissions a critical priority. Hospitals that exceed the Medicare thresholds will be assessed financial penalties that are expected to reach an aggregate of nearly $300 million this year alone, and nearly $1 billion by 2015, if improvements are not made.
Even with optimal care, today nearly a quarter of all Medicare heart failure patients are readmitted to the hospital within 30 days, making heart failure a major driver of hospital readmission rates, far ahead of myocardial infarction and pneumonia. Because heart failure patients with elevated galectin-3 are two-to-three times more likely to be readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of discharge, identifying these high-risk patients through galectin-3 testing is a potentially valuable and cost-effective tool in a hospital's strategy to reduce unplanned 30-day readmissions. Identifying those at greater risk with galectin-3 testing enables hospitals to better direct their intervention strategies and resources to those who need them most, potentially providing a way to improve outcomes while also controlling costs and avoiding penalties.
"Patient stratification tools that help predict risk of near-term readmission would allow the clinician to better direct more resource-intensive heart failure disease management efforts to patients at higher risk," said Rudolf A. de Boer, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Cardiology at the University Medical Center Groningen in the Netherlands. "Such tools would be usable upon discharge, with a simple interpretation such as a single threshold value. Galectin-3 is such a tool and should be considered for heart failure readmissions programs. Baseline galectin-3 is a powerful predictor of unplanned hospital readmissions and, importantly, adds significantly to other risk factors such as age, reduced renal function, diminished left ventricular pumping capacity and BNP levels."
The BG Medicine booth at AHA will include an interactive demonstration that will enable health care professionals and hospital administrators to determine the financial impact of utilizing galectin-3 testing at their hospitals as part of a comprehensive readmissions reduction strategy. The BG Medicine Galectin-3 Readmissions Calculator being introduced at AHA will enable users to determine the potential financial impact of galectin-3 testing instantly, factoring in the costs of testing and of implementing a targeted intervention initiative, as well as the reduction in costs associated with lower readmissions and avoidance of Medicare penalties.
"Galectin-3 testing is a powerful tool for those seeking to make their intervention strategies on patients with clinical variations more targeted, efficient and effective," said Eric Bouvier, President and CEO of BG Medicine. "We look forward to expanding our efforts to help health professionals address this urgent issue."
The BGM Galectin-3(R) Test is cleared by the FDA as an aid in assessing the prognosis of patients with chronic heart failure.
About Galectin-3 and Heart Failure
Galectin-3 is a unique carbohydrate-binding lectin, or protein, that binds to carbohydrates called beta-galactosides. Galectin-3 has been implicated in a variety of biological processes important in the development and progression of heart failure, and is believed to be a primary mediator of progressive cardiac fibrosis (abnormal thickening and stiffening of the heart muscle) and adverse remodeling (changes in the structure of the heart). Higher levels of galectin-3 are associated with a more aggressive form of heart failure and 30% or more of mild to moderate heart failure patients will have elevated levels of galectin-3. Heart failure affects an estimated 5.8 million Americans, with approximately 670,000 new cases occurring each year. The direct and indirect cost of heart failure in the United States for 2010 is estimated to be $39.2 billion.
About BG Medicine, Inc.
BG Medicine, Inc. /quotes/zigman/3133698/quotes/nls/bgmd BGMD -8.45% is a life sciences company focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of novel cardiovascular diagnostics to address significant unmet medical needs, improve patient outcomes and contain healthcare costs. The Company's first commercialized product, the BGM Galectin-3(R) Test for use in patients with heart failure, is available in the United States and Europe. BG Medicine is also developing the CardioSCORE(TM) Test, a blood test designed to identify individuals at high risk for near-term major cardiovascular events, such as heart attack and stroke. For additional information about BG Medicine, heart failure and galectin-3 testing, please visit www.bg-medicine.com and www.galectin-3.com .
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Special Note Regarding Forward-looking Statements
Certain statements made in this news release contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, that are intended to be covered by the "safe harbor" created by those sections. Forward-looking statements, which are based on certain assumptions and describe our future plans, strategies and expectations, can generally be identified by the use of forward-looking terms such as "believe," "expect," "may," "will," "should," "could," "seek," "intend," "plan," "estimate," "anticipate" or other comparable terms. Forward-looking statements in this news release address our understanding that heart failure patients with elevated galectin-3 are two-to-three times more likely to be readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of discharge than other heart failure patients; our belief that identifying these high-risk patients through galectin-3 testing is a potentially valuable and cost-effective tool in reducing unplanned readmissions; our belief that identifying patients at greater risk with galectin-3 testing enables hospitals to more efficiently and cost-effectively direct intervention strategies and resources; our belief that increased usage of galectin-3 testing by the healthcare system may improve health outcomes and reduce healthcare costs. Forward-looking statements are based on management's current expectations and involve inherent risks and uncertainties which could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements, as a result of various factors including those risks and uncertainties described in the Risk Factors and in Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations sections of our recent filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including our most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q. We urge you to consider those risks and uncertainties in evaluating our forward-looking statements. We caution readers not to place undue reliance upon any such forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date made. Except as otherwise required by the federal securities laws, we disclaim any obligation or undertaking to publicly release any updates or revisions to any forward-looking statement contained herein (or elsewhere) to reflect any change in our expectations with regard thereto or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statement is based.
1 Data.Medicare.Gov Hospital Outcomes of Care Measures -- National Average. https://data.medicare.gov/d/i2h8-79qx . Accessed September 28, 2012.
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SOURCE: BG Medicine Inc.
CONTACT: Charles Abdalian EVP & Chief Financial Officer (781) 890-1199