Home infusion bills boost push for clarification

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Friday, March 20, 2020

WASHINGTON – Stakeholders who say CMS did not implement a home infusion benefit the way Congress intended are buoyed by the recent introduction of bicameral legislation to preserve access to the therapy.

Introduced March 12, H.R. 6218 and S. 3457 would provide technical clarifications removing the requirement that a home infusion professional must be physically present in the home on the day services are provided to be paid.

“I do think it sends the message that Congress disagrees with CMS,” said Connie Sullivan, president and CEO of the National Home Infusion Association.

The 21st Century Cures Act created a professional services benefit for Medicare Part B home infusion drugs, but stakeholders have argued that requiring a nurse to be in the home does not follow Congress’s intent.

The NHIA belies that without the clarifications, CMS’s interpretation will jeopardize patient safety.

“Home infusion services allow patients with heart disease, cancer, immune deficiencies, and other chronic conditions to receive life-saving infusion drugs in the safety and comfort of their own homes,” said Sullivan. “We’re already seeing how this interpretation is creating barriers to inhibit that access.”

Against the backdrop of the coronavirus outbreak, NHIA is communicating with committee leadership on next steps for the bill and how important it is for seniors to have access to home infusion therapy—now, more than ever, says Sullivan.

“We are sensitive to the crisis and the bandwidth lawmakers have, but home infusion will play a critical roll in meeting demand and we hope they act accordingly,” she said.

The bills are spearheaded by Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., who introduced the bill with Sens. Tim Scott, R-S.C., as well as Reps. Elliot Engel, D-N.Y., Terri Sewell, D-Ala., Kenny Marchant, R-Texas, and Fred Upton, R-Mich.