IN JUNE 1977, the Blue Shield Association announced that Blue Shield plans would discontinue routine payment for several diagnostic procedures because they were considered generally unnecessary. Phonocardiography was listed among those procedures, along with pulse tracings and apex cardiograms.
This Program on Medical Appropriateness is already being implemented by most carriers, including Medicare and insurance companies. Thus, many patients may be deprived of the use of this method although they may be studied by means of other procedures, some of which are more costly or more dangerous.
An official letter of disagreement with this policy on phonocardiography was drafted by the officers of the Laënnec Society, passed by the membership, and sent to the Council on Clinical Cardiology of the American Heart Association with a recommendation that the association petition Blue Shield to reevaluate their decision with the advice of experts.
Several noninvasive methods of study of the cardiac function,