An infusion of sponsors

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12/07/2009

We hear a  lot about industry efforts to repeal competitive bidding, the oxygen cap, etc. But another effort continues to chug quietly along: getting Medicare to cover home infusion therapy. The most recent effort, The Medicare Home Infusion Therapy Coverage Act, continues to gain sponsors.

It's not the first time the issue has come to the table, but industry stakeholders hope this time they achieve their goal. With all the focus on cost savings to the health care system, the home infusion message should be a winner, but it's hard to get lawmakers to understand that at times, says provider Kevin Nestrick, owner and founder of Altius.

"We've gotten very close but we can't seem to get them over the hump," he told me recently. "It would be a tremendous savings to Medicare but they don't (see) that."

The average cost to provide infusion therapy per day: $200 in the home; $300 in a skilled nursing facility (SNF); and $1,200 in a hospital, according to the National Home Infusion Association.

As of Dec. 1 32 senators and 102 representatives have signed onto the bills (S. 254 and H.R. 574). To see if your lawmaker has done the right thing, go here for a list.

Theresa Flaherty