New Bill Could Potentially Extend Independence at Home Demonstration

Posted on Tuesday, December 13, 2016 5:37 PM

If legislation passes a new bill, then the delivery of home-based health care for chronically ill patients might be extended.

On December 6, the Senate Finance Committee Chronic Care Working Group introduced the Creating High-Quality Results and Outcomes Necessary to Improve Chronic (CHRONIC) Care Act of 2016 (S. 3504). The bill was presented by U.S. Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Mark Warner (D-VA) and Ron Wyden (D-OR).

The bipartisan legislation would extend the Independence at Home (IAH) demonstration for two additional years.

IAH is set to expire in September 2017, but the bill would allow an extension until September 2019. In addition, the bill would also raise the maximum number of allowable beneficiaries to 15,000 from 10,000.

IAH was created in 2012 to help with the following:
• Reduce unnecessary visits to the emergency room
• Preventable hospitalizations and readmissions
• Lower Medicare costs overall

The Centers for Medicare & Medicare Services (CMS) found that in 2015, IAH saved Medicare more than $25 million, or an average of $3,070 per beneficiary. The demonstration also saved Medicare more than $10 million in 2016.

The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) celebrated the S. 3504 legislation in a statement on its website. The Visiting Nurse Associations of America (VNAA) also supports the Committee’s decision to extend the IAH demonstration.

“VNAA would like to see IAH converted into a permanent program, as detailed in our June 2015 letter to the Chronic Care Working Group and in S.3130,” the organization said in a statement to Home Health Care News. “VNAA approves of extending the program through September 30, 2019 and increasing the cap on the total number of participating beneficiaries from 10,000 to 12,000 while allowing practices for up to three years to receive a shared savings payment before they are terminated from the demonstration.”

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