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Engel Reintroduces Bill to Improve Intravenous Patient Care

Engel Reintroduces Bill to Improve Intravenous Patient Care
Medicare Home Infusion Site of Care Act Would Enhance Patient Care at Savings to Medicare

Washington, DC – Congressman Eliot Engel, a senior member of the Subcommittee on Health for the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Congressman Pat Tiberi (R-OH-12) have reintroduced H.R. 605, The Medicare Home Infusion Site of Care Act, which would close the Medicare coverage gap for home-based infusion care.

Patients who have been prescribed infusion therapy receive their medication via a needle or a catheter because oral medications have proven to be ineffective.  Unfortunately, Medicare only covers infusion treatments in doctors’ offices, skilled nursing facilities and hospitals, even though home-based care is often a more cost-effective, convenient and desired location for patients. 

Avalere, a non-partisan health care policy firm, recently found that Medicare could save an estimated $80 million over a 10-year period by covering home-based infusion therapy treatment. The Medicare Home Infusion Site of Care Act would allow Medicare Part B to cover infusion-related care and services, including equipment and supplies, at a patient’s home.

“Correcting the current Medicare exclusion of in-home infusion therapy needs to be a priority for this Congress,” Congressman Engel said. “Under current guidelines, patients battling cancer or suffering from a serious infection must leave their homes for infusion therapy treatment, often against the better judgment of their doctors. Leaving the house for this treatment not only puts the patient at a higher risk of infection, it also costs significantly more than it would if the therapy was provided in-home. There is no reason for us to continue making patients pursue a more dangerous and expensive method of infusion therapy treatment when there is a safer, more cost-effective alternative available.”   

“In a facility-based environment, the patient is at a heightened risk for infection and most often, the cost of treatment is far higher than if the therapy is provided in the home,” said Russell Bodoff, NHIA President and CEO.  “The introduction of The Medicare Home Infusion Site of Care Act of 2015 by Congressman Engel represents a long overdue, practical solution to improving patient care while providing much needed relief to the ongoing Medicare crisis.  NHIA applauds Congressman Engel for introducing this important legislation.  The time is right for legislation that will help to contribute toward building a sustainable health care system that is efficient, geared toward the real needs of individual patients, and cost-effective.”