Home Care Industry Touts Bipartisan Bill to Expand Medicare In-Home Benefits, Reimbursement

Fierce Healthcare / By Dave Muoio
Healthcare providers and tech companies with a stake in home health have coalesced around bipartisan legislation introduced last week that would shift care away from the hospital to patients' living rooms and bedrooms.
The Expanding Care in the Home Act sponsored by Reps. Adrian Smith, R-Nebraska, and Debbie Dingell, D-Michigan, would expand access to and reimbursement for various home care services delivered to Medicare beneficiaries. The bill proposes a baseline 12 hours per week of personal care services benefit in Medicare, which advocates say would help support a population of beneficiaries unable to afford out-of-pocket home care but not quite poor enough to qualify under Medicaid.
“As we identify opportunities to modernize the care seniors can access, we must consider the convenience and comfort home care offers them,” Smith said in a release. “The Expanding Care in the Home Act is a commonsense measure to ensure Medicare can process claims for in-home care services, and I’m proud to lead introduction of this important bill.”
Additionally, reimbursement funds and policy adjustments directed by the tentative legislation would open the door for primary care house calls; increase access to home dialysis, in-home advanced diagnostic, in-home lab testing and home infusion services; and help support the development of additional home-based care workers, according to a release.
“We know people often prefer to receive care in the comfort and security of their own homes, and the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the importance of expanding access to health care beyond traditional doctor’s office or hospital settings,” Dingell said in a release. “I’m proud to introduce this legislation which will help remove barriers to care and increase options for patients to receive critical care in the setting of their choice.”
The proposed bill is being championed by Moving Health Home, an advocacy group comprised of DaVita Kidney Care, Ascension, Amazon, Signify Health, Current Health, Intermountain Healthcare and at least 15 other stakeholder industry groups, according to its website…

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