Senate Finance Committee Proposes Ways For Medicare to Address Chronic Illness Care

sharon roberts attorney medicareThe Bipartisan Chronic Care Working Group’s Policy Options Document was released by the Senate Finance Committee in late December. It’s a publication that grew from a hearing which occurred during the summer of 2014, “Chronic Illness: Addressing Patients’ Unmet Needs.” Chairman Orrin Hatch, along with the rest of Senate Finance Committee, gathered proposals and feedback to chronic illness through Medicare.

This proposition was initially addressed in a statement released May 22, 2015, formally inviting all invested healthcare stakeholders to submit realistic pragmatic ideas that could provide a solution for Medicare patients requiring chronic care. Proposed ideas could have been based on real world experience or data-driven evidence.

Senators Johnny Isakson and Mark Warner and Ranking Member Ron Wyden were, of course, party to the compilation of materials from the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC), the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and industry stakeholders, resulting in the thorough report. They devised an outline that acknowledged the numerous ways policies could be utilized to improve the lives of Medicare recipients living with multiple, complex chronic illnesses.

It’s stated that the policy proposals represented in the report are non-committal and won’t necessarily become legislation. It’s also stated that policies would have to be scored by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to confirm that the piece of legislation would be cost-saving or revenue neutral. The workplace group kept this in mind when crafting three policy goals.

Those three goals include the streamlining of Medicare payment systems, the increase of provider-administered care coordination across the care continuum and improved quality care coordination to increase spending efficiency. By adopting some of the initiatives listed in the paper, it would be possible to achieve the goals proposed.

The prospective policy initiatives were broken down into six groups and they were wide-ranging. Everything from expanding home health care to advancing team-based care was proposed. As well as a need to expand innovation and technology, empower individuals and caregivers, construct transparent policies to improve healthcare, and identify chronically ill populations to improve quality.

The Senate Finance Committee is also considering telehealth options to improve access to lower costs and superior care.

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