SAN DIEGO, CA and WASHINGTON, D.C. – July 15, 2015 – The Gary and Mary West Health Institute commends Congress for passing legislation extending the Independence at Home (IAH) program, which demonstrated home-based care can significantly reduce spending and improve care for Medicare patients with chronic diseases.
With the passage of S. 971, Medicare Independence at Home Medical Practice Demonstration Improvement Act of 2015, the House of Representatives joins the Senate in extending the successful Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) IAH demonstration project for an additional two years.
Caring for seniors with chronic diseases is a major challenge for patients and their families, and a substantial cost driver in healthcare. In 2012, 19 million Medicare patients aged 65+ with two or more chronic diseases represented 76 percent of Medicare’s $324 billion in spending.
The IAH project worked with medical practices to test the effectiveness of delivering comprehensive primary care services to patients at home. In June, CMS reported that IAH medical practices saved more than $25 million during the first performance year – an average of $3,070 per participating beneficiary – while delivering high quality patient care.
“We commend Congress for extending Independence at Home, one of the most successful chronic care coordination programs ever tested by CMS,” said Joseph Smith, MD, PhD, FACC, chief medical and science officer of the West Health Institute. “By incentivizing innovative home-based primary care solutions, Medicare can continue to realize significant savings so more seniors receive care in their own homes, on their own terms, and age successfully with dignity and independence.”
In its work to advance home-based primary care, the West Health Institute has been conducting an 18-month research collaboration with the Medical House Call Program at MedStar Washington Hospital, one of IAH’s effective demonstration projects. West Health has initiated research collaborations with the country’s leading home-based primary care programs in order to catalyze the growth of this innovative care delivery model to make it available to seniors and their families for whom it is appropriate.
In addition, the West Health Institute has been working with multiple stakeholders to advocate the importance of extending the IAH pilot program to key lawmakers on Capitol Hill. In April, the Senate passed the legislation followed by the House Ways and Means Committee unanimously approving the IAH extension legislation in June. The bill now heads to President Obama for his signature.