New Legislation to Help Home Infusion Patients
Bills in the House and Senate aim to fill home infusion benefit gap left by Cures Act.
When the 21st Century Cures Act (Cures) was signed into law by President Obama in December 2016, it changed the way Medicare would pay for home infusion services beginning in 2017. The Cures Act also created a new Medicare benefit for home infusion education and services provided by clinicians delivering infusion to patients in their homes, but this isn’t effective until 2021. Because the payment change began in 2017, but the new benefits don’t begin until 2021, beneficiaries could experience home infusion access issues during the four years between the change in payment policy and the new home infusion benefit.
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However, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are attempting to fill this gap. In late July, the House passed H.R. 3178, the Medicare Part B Improvement Act of 2017, which includes a section that would create a temporary transition service and education payment for home infusion beginning in 2019. This bill is currently pending in the Senate, which recently introduced legislation of its own—the Medicare Home Infusion Therapy Access Act of 2017. Similarly, this bill, S. 1738, creates a temporary transitional payment that would begin in January 2019. This bill was referred to the Committee on Finance and has tremendous bipartisan support.
“Infusion therapy delivered in the home setting is the most desirable, convenient, and by far the most cost-effective,” said Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA), who introduced the bill along with Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA). “Home infusion technology is a tremendous contribution to quality health care, and this legislation builds on the Cures Act to help ensure home infusion remains accessible,” he added.
Obviously, Mediware supports these efforts to ensure that home infusion therapy continues to be accessible for Medicare beneficiaries and others who need it. That’s why CareTend, our software designed specifically for home infusion, helps care providers focus on patients while the system automates medication management, delivery services, reimbursement, and more.