Home IV bill slowly gains traction

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

WASHINGTON - Now that lawmakers have left Medicare cuts out of a planned $35-billion expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), the Home Infusion Coverage Act could gain traction, say industry leaders.
Bruce Rodman, vice president, health information policy of the National Home Infusion Association (NHIA), said it's possible the home infusion bill, which seeks to get home infusion services covered under Medicare Part B and drugs under Part D, could move forward as a separate bill or be included as part of larger legislative efforts.
"We're hopeful," said Rodman. "It opens up the possibility for this and other related healthcare legislation to have a future this year."
The association has collected 31 co-sponsors since the bill was introduced in June. While the bill is progressing more slowly than he would like, David Franklin, vice president of business operations for Advanced Care Infusion in Shelby Township, Mich., said response to the bill has been favorable.
"It's really just a matter of getting them to see through the clutter on their desks and paying attention to us," said Franklin.
NHIA has garnered support from professional groups like the Infusion Nurses Society and the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition. Industry heavyweights like Coram and Walgreen's, which recently became a player in the market when it acquired OptionCare (See HME News, August 2007), have also thrown their support behind the bill.
Russ Bodoff, NHIA's executive director, said it's important for all providers to educate lawmakers on home infusion coverage.
"It's much more a patient story than a story about home infusion pharmacies," said Bodoff. "Patients are being kept in (facilities) when it's not necessary."