Understanding the Pritikin ICR Implementation Process: The Inside Scoop From a Former ICR Director

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  • March 22, 2024

Hi! My name is Tara, we may not have met, but I’m hoping by the end of this piece, we might have an opportunity to work together. Why? Because there’s a good chance I’ve been in your shoes. Not long ago, I was a Cardiac Rehab Director anxiously launching a new Pritikin Intensive Cardiac Rehab (ICR) program.

I loved the program so much, I joined the Pritikin ICR team as a Senior Implementation Manager. Drawing on my own experiences, I have made it my mission to help new ICR Directors lead successful programs by equipping them with the knowledge and resources they need to feel confident in their ICR launch.

Our Implementation team has implemented 90+ programs throughout the nation, completing the implementation and training process within 8 weeks on average.

My goal here is to shed some light on our tried-and-true implementation process and to share some of the unique tools we offer to best support a growing cardiac rehab program.

Starting at the very beginning…

Let’s say your team has signed a contract with us (Hooray!) and is ready to begin the implementation process. There are three key areas I would like to direct your attention to as a comprehensive understanding of each will help you to proactively engage with the process, ensuring a timely launch. I will go into more detail later in the piece, but these are three key components I would like you to keep in mind:

  • 855B – ICR Supplier CMS enrollment
  • Facility preparation
  • Staffing considerations

Your Pritikin team, comprised of a Business Development Manager, Implementation Manager, and Account Manager, will meet with you once a week to set and discuss progress on goals as we work together toward your program launch. During these weekly meetings, we will jumpstart each of these three components (and more) through in-depth conversations.

Along with our weekly meetings, you will receive our Pritikin Administrator binder which offers a step-by-step implementation guide. In it, we’ve devoted an entire chapter of in-depth detail about each scope for every element of the Pritikin ICR program.

CMS Enrollment - 855B Application

From my time as an ICR director to now having supported each of my assigned facility’s launch of their Pritikin ICR program, it is not lost on me just how important it is to initiate the ICR Supplier CMS enrollment through the 855B application on day 1. When starting this enrollment process, there are 2 things to consider:

  1. Who is the stakeholder that will champion this process? Facilities that are successful with this process begin by initiating the application and acquiring all the necessary signatures.
  2. Timing is critical:
    a.) The application must be submitted up to 60 days before or within 30 days after the date you intend to bill your first ICR code (usually this is the first day you intend to start ICR orientations).
    b.) Once submitted to your Medicare Contract Administrator (MAC), we are observing a 30–45-day turnaround of application approval by the MAC.

This process is critical as it allows your site to be acknowledged as an ICR supplier and acquire your PTAN number, enabling reimbursement for the ICR HCPC codes. Rest assured your Implementation Manager will provide information reinforcing this timeline to set weekly goals as well as resources to pursue this process.

Facility Preparation

Cooking schools are a prime feature of the Pritikin ICR education curriculum that patients rave about and LOVE! Hosting them requires a unique setup not often found in standard traditional cardiac rehab spaces. Depending on your site’s preference, sizing, and/or patient need, your Cooking School set-up may simply require a mobile cooking cart or may entail adding a kitchen to your space. Because of this, we must devote time to working through the functionality of your layout to best optimize the space and meet your needs. Below are some notes on both building a kitchen and acquiring a mobile cooking cart.

  1. Construction – A complete kitchen is not necessary, but some locations wish to create or build a demonstration kitchen to provide a home-like environment to enhance the patient experience. We recommend prioritizing the acquisition of permits and/or internal approvals for construction plans as well as considering scheduling public health inspections which can take weeks to schedule. One strength we see amongst new construction or sites planning to renovate is identifying your key stakeholders at the helm of those decisions and processes early on and establishing a line of communication.
  2. Mobile Cooking carts – Cooking carts are often used as they offer a more economical cooking school option. For mobile cooking carts, ordering early in the process is prudent to prevent delivery delays (recent global supply chain issues considered).

With a sound, early understanding of how to best optimize your space and a detailed timely process, your cooking school can launch to a thunder of fan fair and brand awareness.

To limit any surprises down the road and empower our partner facilities with everything they might need for a successful launch timeline, the Pritikin administrative binder contains a detailed checklist of suggested considerations and allocations to optimize your delivery of Pritikin Cooking Schools.


Unlike traditional CR, the Pritikin ICR program requires the inclusion of a registered dietitian as they serve as key facilitators of the Pritikin curriculum. An RD delivers Pritikin ICR nutrition content in a billable 1 on 1 and group setting. If your facility would need to hire an RD, it can take time to identify the right candidate and onboard them to your facility.

At Pritikin, we acknowledge finding the perfect candidate might take longer than expected; our PritikinLIVE program aims to offer a feasible solution. Our PritikinLIVE team has trained RD’s on stand-by who can live stream into your classroom to deliver nutrition content virtually to your patients. They are able to conduct RD 1-1 sessions with patients, teach nutrition, or even cooking school sessions! PritikinLIVE is the perfect short-term solution to fill the gap while you recruit or onboard your new staff member, or long-term to be the sole resource delivering an education element on an on-going basis!

Ultimately, when you partner with us, we want you and your team to feel confident in your delivery of the Pritikin ICR program and to be successful. If you have questions about the implementation process, would like to learn more about the program, or are eager to get started, we would love to hear from you! After sharing a bit about your unique needs by completing our brief interest form, you will hear from one of our team members eager to help you navigate your own Pritikin ICR implementation.

I am looking forward to working with you!


This article was originally published to the Pritikin blog November 18, 2022

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Whether at the long-standing Pritikin Longevity Center or one of our many licensed ICR facilities nationwide, Pritikin is making life-changing impacts on thousands of lives, every day.  Hear directly from providers and patients as you learn more about our decades-long history and our continued message of healing and hope.