Senate Bill Pushes Telehealth Tech Pilots to Reduce Long-Term Care Costs

| March 26, 2013

A Senate bill aims to incentivize the use of remote monitoring technology among health care providers, keeping in mind the importance of aging in place and preventing hospital readmissions. 

U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and John Thune (R-SD) re-introduced the bipartisan Fostering Independence Through Technology (FITT) Act, which would expand the use of telehealth technology under Medicare, reports the Echo Press of Alexandria, Minnesota.

Under the FITT Act, the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) would be required to create pilot projects that provide incentives for home health providers to purchase and utilize remote patient monitoring (RPM) technology.

Through FITT, legislators hope that creating incentives to use telehealth technology will lead to a reduction in hospital readmissions, while also lessening Medicare expenditures. 

Legislators also hope the bill will help reduce long-term care costs for many seniors. 

“Not only could this new technology reduce costs and improve health outcomes, but it also offers patients the individual freedom to stay in their homes, reducing costs associated with nursing homes and long-term care facilities,” Thune said in the article. 

How it works, the article notes, is that the technology would establish performance targets based on historic Medicare spending, measuring success via health outcomes for beneficiaries as well as savings under Medicare as a result of the technology.

Because of recent reimbursement penalties issued by Medicare, hospitals have come under scrutiny for high readmission rates.

As one in five Medicare patients winds up back in the hospital in less than 30 days post-discharge, the article writes, remote technology allows patients to be monitored using non-invasive technology, especially if they live in rural settings.

Klobuchar’s and Thune’s legislation has already garnered support from the National Association for Home Care and Hospice, the National Rural Health Association, HealthEverywhere, and the American Hospital Association. 

Read the Echo Press article.

Written by Jason Oliva


Category: Legislation, Senior Care, Technology

Comments (1)

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  1. Chris_Foley says:

    This article makes a very good business case why seniors housing providers of all sizes (including single facility and family-owned organizations) to look at home health acquisitions as a growth market potential.
    Chris Foley
    CPA (Retired)
    Equity National Seniors Housing Brokerage & Advisors
    cfoley@Equity.net