Study provides home infusion baseline

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

ALEXANDRIA, Va. - It's been more than a year in the making, but the first major study of the home infusion industry was released in October.

"We had a need for data," said Nancy Kramer, vice president of clinical affairs at the National Home Infusion Association (NHIA). "The data will help us tell our story from a legislative perspective; and providers had a need for data that would allow them to perform internal benchmarking and comparisons with the industry as a whole."

The 2010 NHIA Provider Survey Comprehensive Analysis Report is the first phase of a multi-year data gathering initiative launched in 2010 by the National Home Infusion Association (NHIA).

The survey sought information like revenue by therapy and payer type; staffing levels; and number of patients by age and therapy categories. The survey was sent to NHIA members, and 283 pharmacies responded. NHIA members range from one-location infusion pharmacies to large national providers to hospital-based infusion providers.

"The initiative will not only support industry-wide benchmarking but enable the industry to fulfill its ongoing commitment to further strengthen patient services and improve health outcomes," said Russ Bodoff, president and CEO.

One key finding of the study: In 2008, 730 NHIA member provider locations administered 1.24 million therapies to an estimated 829,000 patients.

"The data shows the size and viability of the industry," said Kramer. "Private payers have seen value in home infusion for years. Getting to a Medicare benefit that is broad-based and covers all infusion therapy is really the crux of our legislative efforts."

The association has worked for several years to get Medicare to pay for home infusion therapy, most recently with the Medicare Home Infusion Therapy Coverage Act of 2011, introduced in July. The next step: collecting outcomes data to connect the quality of home infusion therapy with cost savings, said Kramer.

"From a payer perspective, they also want to see an outcome that prevents the patient from going back into the hospital," she said. "How do home infusion providers impact the patient's care to keep them home?"