Temporary payment for home infusion passes House

 - 
Wednesday, July 26, 2017

WASHINGTON – A bill that reforms several Medicare benefits, including home infusion and O&P, sailed through the House of Representatives this week.

H.R. 3178, the “Medicare Part B Improvement Act of 2017,” includes a provision that would create a temporary payment for home infusion therapy to close a gap created by another bill, the 21st Century Cures Act. The Cures Act requires Medicare to pay for services associated with providing Part B drugs, but not until 2021. Meanwhile, a second provision in the act cut payments for those drugs on Jan. 1.

The provision, originally introduced by Reps. Pat Tiberi, R-Ohio, and Bill Pascrell, D-N.J., as H.R. 3163, would put a temporary payment in place for 2019 and 2020.

H.R. 3178 also includes a provision that would allow the documentation produced by an O&P practitioner to be considered part of a patient’s medical record for purposes of determining medical necessity. The provision was originally introduced by Reps. Mike Bishop, R-Mich., and Mike Thompson, D-Calif., as H.R. 3171.

The bill has moved with lightning speed: It was introduced on July 11 by Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., and nine co-sponsors.

The bill does not include a provision that would strengthen protections requiring mail-order contract suppliers to include at least 50% of the types of diabetes testing supplies that were available before the implementation of the program. That provision, which also would prevent suppliers from encouraging beneficiaries to switch brands, still exists as a standalone bill, H.R. 3271.