Home infusion bill gains momentum

Sunday, October 29, 2006

WASHINGTON - Home infusion providers and lawmakers have rallied around the Medicare Home Infusion Consolidated Coverage Act of 2006.

Introduced in July, the bill, also known as H.R. 5791, now has 40 co-sponsors, including House majority whip Roy Blunt, R-Mo. The bill would ensure coverage of infusion supplies, services and drugs under Medicare Part B.

"When we go up on the Hill, there is no opposition to this bill," said Lorrie Kaplan, executive director of the National Home Infusion Association (NHIA). "People say that it makes sense from a policy and cost perspective. It's just a matter of keeping it on the screen and getting it addressed and capturing that opportunity."

Kaplan said providers arranging site visits have made all the difference in getting the home infusion message across.

"When we get legislators or their staff into our pharmacies, they see that it's not retail pharmacy," said Kaplan. "That's where the community really comes in. We can have our staff and our advocacy team up there pounding the halls and spreading the word but it really takes people seeing it firsthand."

Kaplan said NHIA is working to get a companion bill introduced in the Senate.