Reps. Smith, Dingell Introduce Legislation To Increase Access To Home-Based Health Services

Zach Wendling, Nebraska Examiner

U.S. Rep. Adrian Smith, R-Neb., has introduced bipartisan legislation meant to increase access to home-based health services and modernize Medicaid reimbursement.

Smith introduced the Expanding Care in the Home Act last with Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich. The legislation is meant to bring house calls back to Medicare beneficiaries and bolster the accessibility and affordability of home dialysis for kidney patients.

Dingell said the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the importance of access to care beyond traditional medical settings. Many also prefer care in the “comfort and security” in their homes, she added.

“I’m proud to introduce this legislation which will help remove barriers to care and increase options for patients to receive critical care in the setting of their choice,” Dingell said in a statement.

Smith and Dingell said the proposal would also further enable the delivery of advanced diagnostic imaging in the home, expand access to home infusion services and create a personal care services benefit in Medicare to fill the gap for people who cannot afford to pay out of pocket yet do not qualify for home care services by Medicaid.

The bill also seeks to “build up the next generation of the home-based care workforce, including physicians, nurses and emergency medical service providers.”

“As we identify opportunities to modernize the care seniors can access, we must consider the convenience and comfort home care offers them,” Smith said in a statement. “The Expanding Care in the Home Act is a commonsense measure to ensure Medicare can process claims for in-home care services, and I’m proud to lead introduction of this important bill.”

The bill was referred to the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the Ways and Means Committee.

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