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Kerry Works to Remove Barriers to Medicare Home Treatment

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) today introduced legislation to improve access to home IV treatment for patients with primary immunodeficiency diseases (PIDD). Many PIDD patients have chronic conditions and it is safer to treat them at home so they are not exposed to illnesses in other health care settings, but Medicare does not currently cover the cost.

"It doesn't make sense to put the sickest people at risk by dragging them out of their homes for treatment, especially when it's more cost effective to provide care at home," said Sen. Kerry. "This bill is a win-win that would save Medicare money and help those with PIDD."

The Medicare IVIG Access Act would create a three year demonstration project to evaluate the benefits of at home services. IVIG is an IV-administered medical therapy used to treat many chronic conditions and illnesses. Home-based infusions are often ideal for patients with primary immunodeficiency diseases (PIDD) because it is less expensive and decreases the risk of exposure to additional illnesses from other health care settings.

Unfortunately, Medicare beneficiaries with PIDD are facing increased challenges in accessing home IVIG treatment due to a gap in coverage. Medicare Part B provides a home infusion benefit for PIDD patients, but it is an incomplete benefit. A 2007 report from the HI-IS Office of Inspector General (OIG) and the HI-IS Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) found that problems with payment exist, namely the absence of coverage for required items and services associated with IVIG home infusion.

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