A new law championed by Congress and the Trump Administration aims to provide better care for the chronically ill, the New York Times reported Sunday.
Both parties support the Chronic Care Act, which was included in budget legislation recently approved by the president. Through it, they hope to better address elderly Medicare recipients with multiple illnesses that can build upon one another. The law would help to cover certain social factors, outside of the reach of medicine, that can exacerbate those chronic illnesses, such as nutrition, transportation and housing.
About 50% of Medicare recipients are treated annually for five or more chronic conditions — such as diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, heart failure or rheumatoid arthritis — and they account for some 75% of Medicare spending. With the Chronic Care Act, most of the benefits apply to Medicare Advantage plans, although experts said policymakers may want to extend similar benefits to those in traditional Medicare.
Extra benefits could include visits by personal assistants to help with bathing and dressing, nurse or pharmacists visits to help with medication reconciliation, and special supervised housing for those with dementia, the Times reports. The act also lends financial incentives for the use of telehealth services.
“This is a way to update and strengthen Medicare,” Sen. Ron Wyden, (D-OR), told the Times. “It begins a transformational change in the way Medicare works for seniors who suffer from chronic conditions. More of them will be able to receive care at home, so they can stay independent and out of the hospital.”