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Medicare Coverage For Alzheimer Brain Scans In Question

Dierk Schaefer

A big study to help Medicare officials decide whether to start covering brain scans to check for Alzheimer’s disease missed its goals for curbing emergency room visits and hospitalizations.

The results announced Thursday call into question whether the costly tests are worth it for a disease that currently has no cure.  The study involved more than 25,000 Medicare recipients with dementia or mild mental impairment.

Advocates for coverage say the scans still have other benefits, such as giving a more precise diagnosis and helping families plan care, even if they don't save Medicare much or any money.