CHRONIC Care Act Passes Through Senate Finance Committee
On May 18, 2017, the Senate Finance Committee voted unanimously to approve the Creating High-Quality Results and Outcomes Necessary to Improve Chronic (CHRONIC) Care Act (S. 870). The bill is intended to improve care management, coordination and outcomes for Medicare beneficiaries with chronic health conditions.
The bill aims to achieve these improvements by increasing access to telehealth for Medicare beneficiaries with chronic illnesses as well as incentives for enrollees to receive care through accountable care organizations (ACOs). The bill also seeks to extend a demonstration program, known as “Independence at Home,” which aims to keep people in their homes rather than hospitals, allows reimbursement for more non-health and social services and extends permanently Medicare Advantage Special Needs plans that target chronically ill beneficiaries.
A large number of ACOs have trouble keeping beneficiaries in-house, which makes it harder to coordinate beneficiary care. This bill attempts to limit that problem by reducing or eliminating a beneficiary’s cost-sharing for a primary care service if the primary care doctor is in that ACO. This will only incentivize beneficiaries to the stay within the ACO for treatment and lower the beneficiary’s cost to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.