Measures Passed as Part of Bipartisan Bill to Strengthen Focus on Chronic Care Services for Seniors

WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 18, 2017) – U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) today announced that several key health care priorities he has authored have passed the Senate Finance Committee as part of the Chronic Care Act and are now ready for action on the Senate floor.

“I am pleased the Finance Committee, through today’s passage of the CHRONIC Care Act, has begun a bipartisan process to strengthen our health care system by enacting policies that promote prevention and empower patients by providing them with tools they need to better manage their health care,” said Portman. “The bill includes a number of policies that will promote increased care coordination and help patients and providers better manage chronic conditions. The bill also includes a number of priorities I have worked on, including ensuring that Medicare beneficiaries can receive high-quality, personalized care at home, incentivizing beneficiaries to receive preventive services and better manage their health care, and ensuring the Medicare Advantage program includes accurate quality measures to incentive plans to continue to care for low-income seniors.”

Following is more specifics on key Portman priorities passed as part of the Chronic Care Act:

Independence at Home Act (IAH) Extension. This bill would extend the IAH demonstration’s expiration date by two years (until September 30, 2019), increase the cap on the total number of participating beneficiaries from 10,000 to 15,000, and give practices three years to receive a shared savings payment.

“I have seen the benefits the Independence at Home program has provided for seniors in Northeast Ohio—it has reduced hospital readmissions, prevented costly hospital and nursing home admissions, and, most importantly, kept patients healthy and in their preferred care setting,” said Portman.  “I am pleased the committee included a two-year extension of this program in the CHRONIC Care Act to ensure beneficiaries in Ohio and across the country can continue to receive high-quality care in their preferred setting—at home.  I will continue to fight to make the Independence at Home program permanent.”

Better Health Rewards Program in the Accountable Care Organization (ACO) Setting.  The CHRONIC Care Act includes a new program called the ACO Beneficiary Incentive Program, which would allow ACOs to make incentive payments to their members who seek out preventive care or chronic disease management services.

“I am particularly pleased the committee has included a policy that draws on the idea of the Better Health Rewards bill I have worked on with Senator Wyden. This program will allow Medicare to engage seniors in their healthcare—incentivizing seniors to set goals and meet health targets,” said Portman.  “We should continue to promote programs that allow seniors the option to participate in programs that allow them to take control over their health care – enabling them to live better, healthier lives while also saving the Medicare system money without making cuts to benefits.”

Ensuring Medicare Advantage Quality Measures Account for the Most Vulnerable Population.  The bill includes a provision that builds on Portman’s work with Senator Casey to ensure the most vulnerable Medicare beneficiaries—including low-income, disabled, and dually-eligible seniors—are able to maintain access to high-quality Medicare Advantage plans.

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