Infusion stakeholders seek ‘headwind’ to push bills

Friday, February 6, 2015

WASHINGTON – The National Home Infusion Association (NHIA) plans to turn up the heat this month on a new pair of bills.

“We are involved in reaching out to membership, sister organizations and interested groups to help support the legislation,” said Russ Bodoff, NHIA president and CEO. “We are going to be doing everything we can to move this thing forward.”

Sens. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., and Mark Warner, D-Va., and Reps. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., and Pat Tiberi, R-Ohio, introduced “The Medicare Home Infusion Site of Care Act of 2015” on Jan. 28 in the Senate and House of Representatives.

NHIA has three separate fly-ins scheduled in February to boost support for the bills: Feb. 4-5, 11-12 and 25-26. Bodoff says the association expects providers from a large number of states to make Hill visits during those periods.

“We know there’s already been a large number of emails sent to members since the legislations was introduced,” he said. “We want to keep that momentum going.”

Similar bills have been introduced over the last several years, but this year stakeholders have armed themselves with a study from the non-partisan healthcare policy firm Avalere. The study, released in 2014, shows that Medicare could save $80 million over a 10-year-period by covering home infusion therapy.

“The study has really driven a lot of interest from Capitol Hill,” said Ken van Pool, vice president of legislative affairs for NHIA. “We know that attention could push this over the finish line.”

Stakeholders are currently eyeing several potential legislative vehicles for the bills, including the “doc fix” bill or the budget reconciliation bill.

“There’s a lot going on in the Medicare space that could give us some headwind,” said van Pool.

Medicare provides coverage for most infusion drugs but, unlike private payers, it provides only limited coverage for related supplies, services and equipment.

“Our country is slowly recognizing that more care needs to be provided in the home if we are going to lower national healthcare costs,” said Bodoff.