Critical Care Assessment

Practice Revenue Sources: Critical Care Assessment®
by Audrey “Christie” McLaughlin, RN

Critical Care Assessment® is a “non-invasive, fully automated computer-based system that provides Heart Rate Variability (HRV), blood pressure analysis and Pulse Wave Velocity (PWV) analysis for a quantitative assessment of the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) and Autonomic Balance (sympathetic and parasympathetic).”   This system has recently been upgraded to include the option to offer a separate Ankle-Brachial Index Test (ABI) which is a simple and reliable test for diagnosing Peripheral Artery Disease in its early stages before outward symptoms are present.

What does all that mean and what do those readings indicate?

In a nutshell, it means by utilizing this system in your practice, you will have the ability to run a non-invasive test on your patients, the test takes about 20 minutes, and can identify patients at risk for: sudden death, silent heart attack, hypertension, cardiac autonomic neuropathy, diabetic neuropathy, vascular abnormalities, orthostatic hypotension, syncope, exercise intolerance, and a myriad of other hidden diseases and conditions.

The Critical Care Assessment Tests® are easily applicable across a broad base of specialties and are applicable to a wide range of patients.  Average patients should be tested one time per year, with any follow up or repeat testing 3 months after abnormal results, it is recommended by the American Diabetic Association that diabetic’s be tested 4 times a year. This type of Autonomic Balance Monitoring is recommended as the standard of care by several prestigious organizations (the American Academy of Neurology, JDRF, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Heart Associations, ADA, AACE, NIDDK.  Critical Care Assessment can also be used to evaluate the effectiveness of various treatment modalities.

Part of the reason I frequently recommend this type of testing as a revenue source is that the tests are covered by Medicare, Medicaid (in most states) and commercial insurance, and the reimbursement rates for that 20 minute test are around $350-600 depending on the carrier (no pre certifications required).  ABI testing reimburses around $180 per test. Some doctors may not have time for a 20 minute test on a few patients a day; luckily this testing system does not require a licensed body to perform the test.  Most offices have a “tech” perform the test and then have the physician sign off on reviews and/or bring the patient back for abnormal results.  Some offices have found this device this device so useful for their patients they have hired a tech who simply tests patients all day.

In case you glossed over the revenue information, testing generate $350-600 per patient.

The other reason, is that in my humble opinion, it is just good medicine.

If you are wondering how in the world to read these tests or worried about what to do with the “results” it generates, the good folks over at Critical Care Assessment have thought of that as well.  All of the reports that this system generates include an actual value, PLUS a color coded graph of results, green is good all the way thru red, which is bad.  A letter grade of A-F is also indicated, with a brief synapsis and guidance on what direction to explore with an abnormal result.  The color coding is helpful for patients who need to undergo a drastic lifestyle change, because seeing their health as a large red warning signal can be just the jolt they need to get moving, and in the same regard as they are re-tested periodically, it is excellent reinforcement to see the color sliding from red to orange to yellow and finally to green, indicating on paper what a positive difference in their health they have achieved.

Unlike some other options out there, there is a more significant up-front cost involved, financing is available, however from time to time, this company’s distributors offer special financing options, including a 6 month deferred payment plan, in which they report most offices elect to simply pay off the device prior to the 6 month deadline, it takes about 2-4 patients a week to pay off a unit in that time frame.

There are other devices or other brands out there that can measure some of these results, or if you accumulated enough devices you might be able to replicate what Critical Care Assessment® does in the 20 minute test.  I recommend this particular brand because we take into account all aspects, financing, ease of use, test time, ease of result interpretation, testing capabilities, to ensure that we make the best recommendation out there.

Audrey is a mentor to business owners, medical providers, managers, and leaders.  She transforms clinics, offices, hospitals and healthcare organizations into places employees want to be and customers/clients/patients want to return and recommend to their friends and family.  Audrey’s newsletter, Physicians Practice Expert goes out weekly.  If you are ready for big transformations, sign up for your complimentary subscription at

3 comments to Critical Care Assessment

  • Magie Antoine  says:

    Good information for medical practice.TX

  • Jennifer Long  says:

    I just have a question. I have a patient who has PVC activity on a daily basis. Can a PVC cause an interference/artifacts when the patient is performing a Critical Health Assessment test?

    • Critical Care Assessment  says:

      Yes, the test will cause an interference if the patient has PVC.

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