Engel Introduces Resolution to Preserve Access to Lifesaving Drugs

Engel Introduces Resolution to Preserve Access to Lifesaving Drugs

Ensuring access to Home Infusion Therapy for Medicare beneficiaries will improve patient outcomes


Congressman Eliot L. Engel (NY-16) introduced a resolution today to ensure that home infusion therapy services are accessible to Medicare beneficiaries.


Patients diagnosed with serious health conditions such as cancer and congestive heart failure often cannot take lifesaving medications orally. Infusion therapy allows these individuals to receive critical drugs through a needle or catheter. Home infusion therapy is more patient-centric in that it allows patients to receive lifesaving drugs in the comfort of their own home.


The 21st Century Cures Act and the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 contained provisions, authored by Congressman Engel, which created a Medicare benefit for the professional services needed to deliver home infusion therapy.


The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the federal agency responsible for managing the Medicare program, has improperly implemented the benefit, which could reduce beneficiary access to this vital service. The resolution authored by Engel would clarify how CMS should administer the infusion benefit.


“There is bipartisan recognition and support for home infusion therapy,” Rep. Engel said. “These services enable patients to receive lifesaving drugs in the comfort of their own homes, leading to better patient outcomes and savings for our nation’s health care system. It is critical that Congress continue to use its oversight responsibility to ensure that CMS implements this benefit according to Congressional intent. I look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure that all Medicare beneficiaries have equitable access to home infusion therapy.”


This resolution builds on a bipartisan letter that Congressman Engel led on September 26, 2018 urging CMS to revise its regulations regarding home infusion therapy services. This letter was signed by 18 House Members. On July 25, 2019, Congressman Engel submitted written testimony to the House Energy and Commerce Committee highlighting the challenges with CMS’ approach.


“Thanks to the leadership of Rep. Engel, Congress sought to modernize the Medicare program when it added a home infusion benefit in 21st Century Cures and the Bipartisan Budget Act,” said Connie Sullivan, B. Pharm., President and CEO of the National Home Infusion Association. “Unfortunately, CMS is insisting on implementing a regulatory framework that silos provider services, fragments home infusion care, and undermines patient access.”


“We applaud Congressman Engel for his outstanding leadership on behalf of home infusion patients and providers,” said Logan Davis, Pharm D, Chairman of the NHIA Board of Directors. “If enacted, this resolution will go a long way to ensure that patients can receive infusion services in the safety and comfort of their own homes.”