Home infusion stakeholders turn to Senate

‘We’re hoping this moves quickly, but there is a sense of healthcare fatigue’
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Friday, August 4, 2017

WASHINGTON – Home infusion stakeholders are "redoubling" their efforts to fix a payment gap now that a Senate bill has been introduced.

Introduced Aug. 3 by Sens. Mark Warner, D-Va., and Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., the Medicare Home Infusion Therapy Access Act of 2017 (S. 1738) would create a temporary payment for home infusion services to address a payment gap created by a provision in the 21st Century Cures Act. The act requires Medicare to pay for services associated with providing Part B home infusion drugs, but not until 2021.

“We are doing everything we can to redouble our efforts to show this is bipartisan and it’s something that everybody can agree on,” said Ken van Pool, vice president of legislative affairs for the National Home Infusion Association. “We have quite a few senators that are very interested in getting this provision passed, fixing that delay in payment from 2021 and moving it to 2019.”

In fact, 15 senators have signed on to S. 1738 as original co-sponsors.

NHIA has also spearheaded a letter in support of the legislation that has more than 70 signers, including AAHomecare, VGM and large infusion providers like Option Care, Soleo Health and BioScrip.

The Senate bill mirrors provisions in The Medicare Part B Improvement Act of 2017, a package of bipartisan legislation which was passed July 25. The bill also contained a provision to extend a demonstration project for IVIG therapy that expires at the end of September.

“It’s another home infusion bill we support, so it’s not one package but two provisions around home infusion, and we would expect these to kind of ride together,” said van Pool.“We’re hoping this moves quickly, but there is a sense of healthcare fatigue over here on the Senate side. We want to make sure the Senate fully understands the sense of urgency, because they feel like they’ve done health care all year.”