Senators Carper, Scott Introduce Bill to Extend Hospital at Home Waiver Program
WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), senior member of the Senate Finance Committee, and Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.) today introduced the Hospital Inpatient Services Modernization Act, legislation that would extend waiver flexibilities from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) brought on by the pandemic to bring hospital-level care directly to patients in their homes, helping to reduce costs and enhance patient experiences.
Congressmen Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) and Brad Wenstrup, D.P.M., (R-Ohio) also introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives today.
“For the past two years, hospitals have endured the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic—and without missing a beat—nurses, doctors, and other medical professionals have continued to provide quality care to individuals affected by the virus and other personal medical conditions,” said Carper. “Overrun with patients infected by the virus, hospitals like ChristianaCare in Delaware had to quickly adapt in order to treat patients with other medical needs—such as the creation of innovative programs to provide hospital-level care to patients in their homes. I’m proud to introduce this bill with my friend Senator Scott that will modernize our health care system and ensure that investments in programs to bring hospital care to patients at home can continue to go on.”
“The Acute Hospital Care at Home program has revolutionized health care for many Americans by improving care while decreasing health risks associated with hospital stays,” said Scott. “I’m proud to extend this program that will ease pressure on our health care system and allow thousands of vulnerable Americans to continue receiving quality care from the safety of their own home.”
“Hospital care at home is an extraordinary innovation that brings hospital-level care into a patient’s home, including lab tests, mobile imaging like x-rays and ultrasounds, IV therapies, durable medical equipment and much more,” said Janice E. Nevin, M.D., MPH, president and CEO of ChristianaCare.“Supported by virtual technology, ChristianaCare’s hospital care at home team consists of physicians, nurse practitioners, registered nurses and other health care professionals who provide 24/7 expert care to people in the comfort of their own home. We are grateful for the legislative support that has made this new kind of care possible, ultimately enabling better care and better outcomes at lower costs.”
The Hospital Inpatient Services Modernization Act has broad support from the medical industry, including from: Advanced Care at Home Coalition; INTEGRIS Health; Providence; ChristianaCare; UnityPoint; Health; Texas Health Resources; Medical University of South Carolina; CommonSpirit Health; PSW; Northwest Momentum Health Partners; MultiCare; Vanderbilt University Medical Center; Johns Hopkins Health System; Duke Health; The Guthrie Clinic; University Hospitals Health System, Cleveland, Ohio; CIC Health; Medically Home; Geisinger Medical Center; UCI HEALTH; Mount Sinai Health System; Adventist Health; Kaiser Permanente; Contessa; DispatchHealth; Moving Health Home; Compassus; BrightStar Care; Marshfield Clinic Health System; Omnicell; UNC Health & UNC School of Medicine; Novant Health; University Hospitals; Riverside Health System; AMGA; VCU Health; Yale New Haven Health; America’s Physician Groups; and Ascension.
In November of 2020 when hospitals around our country were overloaded with patients due to the COVID-19 pandemic, CMS launched the “Acute Hospital Care At Home” waiver program to allow Medicare beneficiaries to receive acute-level health care services within their home. However, this waiver is set to expire at the end of the federal COVID-19 Public Health Emergency.
Senators Carper and Scott’s bill would ensure that patients and providers have access to the waiver program for two years beyond the duration of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency. This bipartisan bill would also require that, within one year of enactment, CMS issue regulations establishing health and safety requirements for Hospital at Home Programs. Additionally, the legislation would require the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to submit a report to Congress on the efficacy of the waiver program along with legislative recommendations.
To read the full text of the legislation, click here.