Inotropic Medicare Guidelines

All Medicare Inotropic referrals must include the following documentation:

  • H & P, diagnosis specific to Inotropic indication, progress notes including supporting documentation of the criteria listed below.


Administration of parenteral inotropic therapy using the drugs dobutamine (J1250), milrinone (J2260) or dopamine (J1265) for beneficiaries with American College of Cardiology Foundation/American Heart Association (ACCF/AHA) Stage D heart failure (HF) or New York Heart Association (NYHA) Class IV HF, if a beneficiary meets all of the following criteria:

  • 1. Patient remains symptomatic despite optimal guideline directed medical therapy (GDMT) as defined below:
    • Guideline-directed medical therapy (GDMT) is compliance with optimal medical therapy as defined by ACCF/AHA guideline–recommended therapies (primarily Class I recommendations). These include the use of diuretics, ACE inhibitors or ARB antagonists, beta-blockers, aldosterone antagonists, hydralazine & isosorbide dinitrate, and statins, as appropriate.
  • 2. As "Bridge" therapy for patients eligible for and awaiting mechanical circulatory support (MCS)/cardiac transplantation, or as palliative care for patients not eligible for either MCS/cardiac transplantation
  • 3. Prescribed following an evaluation by a cardiologist with training in the management of advanced heart failure.
  • 4. There has been a documented improvement in beneficiary symptoms of heart failure while on the selected inotropic drug at the time of discharge from an inpatient or skilled nursing care facility.
  • 5. An evaluation every three months by the prescribing provider or a heart failure team with oversight by a cardiologist with training in the management of advanced heart failure, which documents the beneficiary’s cardiac symptoms and the continuing response and need for therapy. The heart failure team or physician may have no financial relationship with the supplier.