Parks Associates Blog

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Recent Medicare Legislation and A New IOM Report

Led by House Representative Anna Eshoo (D-CA), eight Congressmen/women sponsored a new bi-partisan bill to support Medicare coverage of remote health monitoring technologies. The H.R. 5765, also called the Medicare Remote Monitoring Access Act of 2008, was introduced to the Committee on Energy and Commerce and the Committee on Ways and Means in April 2008. Specifically, it would require Medicare to evaluate remote health monitoring technology through a dedicated demonstration project and call on Medicare to develop reimbursement standards and procedures to cover remote health monitoring services for patients with defined chronic health conditions no later than two years after the enact of this proposed legislation.

Separately, the Institute of Medicine (IOM), a non-profit organization under the National Academy of Sciences and an influential voice on national health policies, released a report in April 2008 entitled Retooling for an Aging America: Building the Health Care Work Force. In this report, the IOM recommends, among many other advices, that as a nation, we should redesign our models of care by bringing in more innovative and evidence-based care models. One of them, the report argues, is the use of Assisted Daily Living (ADL) technologies remote monitoring technologies.

We view both events as encouraging signs that the reimbursement barriers for remote health monitoring technology can be taken down through legislative efforts, although the timing remains extremely difficult to predict. The new Medicare bill is a continuation of the momentum from Senator Coleman’s S. 631 (The Remote Monitoring Access Act) and Senator Thune’s S.321 (Fostering Independence through Technology Act) from last year. The fact that the remote health monitoring technology now has legislative sponsors in both chambers of the Congress is an assuring sign that healthcare issues might be something that both democratic and republican legislators could potentially find common grounds with in this election year. The IOM’s report enlisted another endorser on the remote health monitoring technology, and could potential influence the government’s policy orientation in the future.

Overall, we are cautiously optimistic about the prospect that the Medicare takes a more proactive role in the adoption of remote health monitoring technology in the next few years. The chance is likely to increase more dramatically after 2010.

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