Third time's the charm?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

WASHINGTON - A bill that would close a payment gap for home infusion therapy was introduced June 15 in both the House and Senate.

Sponsored by Sens. Olympia Snow, R-Maine, and John Kerry, D-Mass., and Reps. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y. and Tim Murphy, R-Pa., the Medicare Home Infusion Therapy Coverage Act of 2011, would require Medicare to pay for infusion-related services, supplies and equipment under Part B. Payment for the drugs--which Medicare does pay for--would remain under Part D.

Similar bills were introduced in 2007 and 2008.

With the average cost to provide home infusion therapy estimated at $200 per day, compared to $300 in a skilled nursing facility and $1,200 in a hospital, the bill makes good financial sense, say the bills' sponsors.

"Even though private health plans have been covering home infusion therapy for decades, Medicare still forces patients to enter a hospital for treatment where it costs Medicare thousands of dollars versus only hundreds within the home," stated Murphy in a release. "By passing this bill we can save taxpayers money and improve the quality of life of Medicare beneficiaries."