Health on the Hill: C&C Endorses Independence at Home Act of 2016 (S. 3130)

August 5, 2016

The Independence at Home Act of 2016 (S.3130) is a bipartisan bill that authorizes Medicare to pay primary care teams (led by physicians or advanced-practice nurses) to provide comprehensive care centered on the patient’s chronic care needs, including long-term support services in the home. The bill is sponsored by Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA) and cosponsors Senators Michael F. Bennet (D-CO), Rob Portman (R-OH) and John Cornyn (R-TX).  Markey is one of the more liberal and Cornyn is one of the more conservative members of the Senate.  

Under the current law, Medicare beneficiaries have access to limited in-home medical and nursing services, with hospice and home health service only requiring intermittent skilled nursing services, physical therapy, speech-language pathology services or occupational therapy. Under S. 3130, the quality of in-home care could improve. “The Independence at Home Act allows for more services to be delivered at home. It emphasizes care coordination around the patient’s goals and how they want to live. This type of care naturally lends itself to how a person wants to be treated throughout their life until the end and can prevent unwanted medical treatment,” says Mark Dann, federal affairs director for Compassion & Choices.

Under S. 3130, Medicare would pay interprofessional primary care teams directed by medical practices to provide or arrange for 24/7 comprehensive home-based care. The care plan would be tailored to the beneficiary’s chronic care needs, including long-term support services, while coordinating care across all treatment settings.

This law also requires practices to use certified electronic health record technology and offer remote monitoring and mobile diagnostic capabilities to avoid unnecessary institutional care.

Enrollment is voluntary. Enrolees are not required to give up their access to any other Medicare benefit, unlike the current hospice benefit, which requires a person to forgo curative treatment of their terminal condition. There are several eligibility requirements, outlined in the legislative brief.”Independence at Home allows people to participate in their communities to the greatest extent possible, receive care in a comfortable setting and feel confident that they will not have to give up any part of their care,” says Dann.

Compassion & Choices endorses S. 3130, the Independence at Home Act of 2016. We thank sponsor Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA) and cosponsors Senators John Cornyn (R-TX), Michael F. Bennet (D-CO) and Rob Portman (R-OH) for this bipartisan bill.

Read the full brief here.

Compassion & Choices
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