House Passes Medicare Part B Improvement Act

July 25, 2017

Published by Inside Health Policy

The House on Tuesday (July 25) passed the Medicare Part B Improvement Act by voice vote, and the National Home Infusion Association (NHIA) urges the the upper chamber to swiftly pass the bipartisan legislation.

The wide-ranging bill, introduced by House Ways & Means Chair Kevin Brady (R-TX) and ranking Democrat Richard Neal (MA), would create a transitional home infusion payment system until a new payment for services associated with home infusion is implemented in 2021; extend the Medicare Patient IVIG Access Demonstration; include orthotists’ and prosthetists’ clinical notes in the medical record of beneficiaries to make it easier to show medical necessity for prosthetics and orthotics; allow for independent accreditation for dialysis facilities; expand access to home dialysis by allowing for more use of telehealth; and make changes to the Stark Rule that are meant to modernize that policy. The Congressional Budget Office said the legislation would reduce direct spending by $4 million between 2018 and 2027.

Companies that provide home infusion services and kidney patients praised the bill. Kidney Care Partners supports the legislation, and the NHIA praised the House passage of the bill as “Great News!” on Twitter, adding, “Now onto the U.S. Senate!” NHIA lobbied for the transitional pay measure because the 21st Century Cures Act changed reimbursement for home infusion drugs and created a pay scheme for home services associated with infusions. However, the changes to reimbursement started this year, and the additional payments don’t start until 2021. House Energy & Commerce Chair Greg Walden (R-OR) praised the bill for dealing with potential issues that could have come up “in the four-year gap between needed payment reform and this new educational benefit.”

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