Senators Markey and Portman Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Make Innovative Home-based Primary Care Medicare Program Permanent
Independence at Home program brings primary care medical services to Medicare beneficiaries with multiple chronic conditions in their homes; saved $16.3 million in third year of current demonstration
Washington (April 17, 2019) – Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) reintroduced legislation (S.1202) to convert the Independence at Home (IAH) demonstration into a permanent, national Medicare program. Independence at Home is an innovative, team-based model that is bringing measurable, high-quality care to patients suffering from multiple debilitating diseases such as Alzheimer’s, ALS, congestive heart failure, diabetes and Parkinson’s, while significantly lowering costs for the Medicare program.
Independence at Home empowers teams of doctors, care givers and other health care professionals to coordinate and provide primary care services in the comfort of patients’ own homes, reducing unnecessary emergency room visits and avoidable hospitalizations and readmissions, as well as the costs associated with them. Data from the third year of the program showed an average Medicare savings of $1,431 per beneficiary in the demonstration.
“Independence at Home is improving the care that frail patients receive and saving taxpayers money by catching emerging health problems early,”said Senator Markey. “When we provide health care to our most vulnerable in their living rooms, we help curtail their visits to emergency rooms. I thank Senators Portman and Wyden for their partnership on this innovative program, and I hope we can pass this bill to make permanently accessible this quality care for all Medicare beneficiaries and their family caregivers in the future.”
“The Independence at Home program is delivering results and saving money,” said Senator Portman. “It has made a difference by reducing hospital readmissions, preventing costly hospital and nursing home admissions, and, most importantly, keeping our seniors healthy and in their preferred care setting. Our bipartisan legislation would make the program permanent so that it can continue to help, and make it accessible to Medicare beneficiaries in Ohio and across the nation so that it can help more of our seniors.”
A copy of the legislation can be found HERE.
In 2012, Independence at Home began as a three-year demonstration program. In 2015 and 2017, the House of Representatives and Senate approved two-year extensions. Senators Markey and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) are the original co-authors of the Independence at Home provision in the Affordable Care Act.
Upon passage as part of the health care law, the Independence at Home program:
- Established a voluntary patient-centered, pilot program in 13 Independent Practices and one Consortium
- Utilized a coordinated health care delivery model to ensure that Medicare beneficiaries with multiple chronic conditions who also need help with the activities of daily living can remain independent for as long as possible in the comfort of their own homes
- Reduced costs by coordinating the care of these patients and reducing duplicative and unnecessary services, preventing hospitalizations, and lowering other health care costs
- Created an incentive for additional savings through investment in health IT and other technologies
- Developed a new, attractive career path for primary care physicians by enabling them to lead IAH organizations and receive reimbursement for house calls.