The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is considering a proposal to cover supervised exercise therapy for the treatment of peripheral artery disease (PAD), reports Stat. 

“We try to work them up for eight minutes or so, work them to a level of pain that they almost cannot tolerate, and have them rest, and then put them back on the treadmill,” said Stephanie Zombeck, the chief exercise physiologist at Boston Medical Center.

“They do need to be able to push past the discomfort to get the most benefit. It’s hard to do that on your own. … It can be not only uncomfortable, but also frightening to experience symptoms and try to push themselves past it,” said Dr. Naomi Hamburg, a cardiology and vascular medicine physician who works with Zombeck at BMC. “Being in a monitored setting helps with that.”

If the CMS proposal goes through, three weekly sessions of 30 to 60 minutes would be covered for 12 weeks, with the possibility of extensions as needed. Supervised exercise therapy could be used in conjunction with other therapies, or tried before moving on to other more invasive options.