Senate Finance Committee Approves Chronic Care Bill

June 2017 ~

The Senate Finance Committee unanimously passed the Creating High-Quality Results and Outcomes Necessary to Improve Chronic (CHRONIC) Care Act of 2017. The legislation seeks to expand telehealth services to Medicaid populations and has received a favorable score by the Congressional Budget Office.

The proposed legislation received unanimous support from the Senate Finance Committee before being sent to the full senate for a vote.

The payment reform bill hopes to push down costs by improving and expanding chronic disease management services and care coordination at home. The new bill would implement payment policies intended to encourage beneficiaries living with chronic conditions to receive care through accountable care organizations (ACOs) and telehealth services.

Key provisions under The CHRONIC Care Act of 2017 include:

  • A two year extension of the ‘Independence at Home Model of Care’ – a program that establishes home-based primary care teams for Medicare beneficiaries with multiple chronic conditions, and increase the cap on the total number of participating beneficiaries from 10,000 to 15,000;
  • Enhanced coordination of care and flexibility for individuals to participate in ACOs;
  • Allow Medicare Advantage (MA) plans and ACOs to expand coverage for and provide telehealth services for certain procedures by:
    • Expanding access to include the patient’s home freestanding dialysis facilities;
    • Eliminating geographic restrictions on telestroke consultation services;
  • Providing sustained access to MA Special Needs plans for certain vulnerable populations;
  • Permanently extending the MA Special Needs program for beneficiaries who are chronically ill;
  • Expanding telehealth benefits for chronically ill MA beneficiaries;
  • Expanding supplemental benefits for chronically ill MA beneficiaries to include non-health and social services, such as meal deliveries and transportation to doctors’ appointments;
  • Call to direct the Government Accountability Office to study and issue reports on:
    • serious or life-threatening illnesses that affect Medicare beneficiaries;
    • medication synchronization; and
    • the impact of obesity drugs on health and spending.

According to the CBO’s estimate, the bill could generate $80 million in savings and would help to offset the measure’s costs through “increased convenience” for enrollees and an estimated $375 million saved with the expected elimination of the Medicare and Medicaid Improvement Funds.


Source(s): Leavitt Partners; Health Data Management; American Hospital Association (AHA); HealthLeaders Media; MedPageToday; mHealthIntelligence; Healthcare Informatics;