The National Home Infusion Association (NHIA) recently submitted comments to two Congressional committees seeking information on healthcare-related issues.
In an Oct. 18 news announcement, the NHIA said it had given comments to the U.S. House Budget Committee’s Health Care Task Force, which issued a request for information (RFI) “on improving health outcomes while reducing spending,” the announcement said.
The NHIA also submitted comments to the House Ways & Means Committee, which had put out an RFI “on improving access to healthcare in rural and underserved areas.”
In both cases, the association said, it “pointed out that unlike other stakeholders — including health systems, drug manufacturers, epidemiologists, pharmacists, nurses, and more — the federal government has failed to take full advantage of capacity and efficiencies provided by home infusion.”
Taking on Medicare’s Current Home Infusion Policy
The NHIA reported it “described the faulty design and resulting poor uptake of the current Medicare Home Infusion Therapy benefit and recommended that Congress provide for the coverage of home infusion services and supplies regardless of whether the medication they need requires a pump to administer — including treatments that are covered under Medicare Part D.”
In that scenario, Medicare beneficiaries would be able to access home infusion whether or not a mechanical pump was required. “This model has been overwhelmingly effective in commercial plan coverage at providing access to patients in rural and underserved communities while also shortening hospital stays and avoiding long-term care admissions,” the NHIA said.
In its comments to the Health Care Task Force, the NHIA said it “presented data from payor studies, medical literature, and the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to support the relative cost savings of home infusion compared to other sites of care in addition to patient preference. NHIA also noted the difficulty in obtaining Congressional Budget Office (CBO) scores, which are essential to the legislative process and can inadvertently become an obstacle to the advancement of otherwise well-vetted policies. The association asked the task force to consider providing additional resources to CBO to increase the number of analysts working on healthcare legislation.”
And in its comments to the House Ways & Means Committee, “NHIA shared research from the National Home Infusion Foundation (NHIF) concluding that most home infusion providers serve rural patients and the percentage of rural patients increased year over year from 2018 to 2020,” the announcement said. “Utilizing the particularly conservative rural designation defined by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services DMEPOS Competitive Bidding Program, the study found that 13.1 percent of patients served by home infusion providers lived in rural areas, alleviating patient travel barriers and making treatments more accessible to patients with limited healthcare options due to lack of proximity to urban centers.
“Without home infusion, patients in rural areas would have to travel great distances to receive these medications. In addition to the quality-of-life benefits to patients, home infusion therapy benefits families and the whole health system by providing an alternative to the long-distance burdens associated with receiving care in rural settings.”