New pilot program would expand at-home health services

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Some Medicare beneficiaries with multiple chronic conditions could soon benefit from expanded at-home health services under a newly proposed, 26-state pilot program.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Rep. Edward Markey (D-MA) late last week introduced legislation designed to create such a pilot program. Eligible beneficiaries would collaborate with participating nurses and physicians to develop a unique, at-home care plan that lawmakers hope will simultaneously provide better quality of care, greater independence for patients and a reduction in costs to Medicare and Medicaid. The proposed legislation also includes performance and satisfaction measures, and financial incentives to participating providers.

Nine out of 10 people aged 65 and older in the U.S. have at least one chronic health condition, and about 77% of seniors have two or more chronic conditions, according to some reports. Additionally, three out of every four dollars spent on prescription drugs goes toward treating these chronic conditions. See McKnight's 5/30 story