Mayo Clinic, Kaiser's Care at Home Coalition urges lawmakers to extend waivers

The Advanced Care at Home Coalition and more than 100 healthcare organizations and health systems have penned a letter to lawmakers, urging them to pass legislation to extend waivers enacted during the pandemic allowing for hospital care at home.

The letter states that more than 200 hospitals have been approved for the CMS acute hospital care at home program that was created during the pandemic and is therefore tied to the pandemic public health emergency declaration. When the emergency expires, so will the waivers that allow for the program.

Lawmakers have come forward in bipartisan support for extending waivers, and have proposed bills in both the House and Senate. Reps. Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio, and Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., introduced  a bill March 9 that would extend the waivers put in place during the pandemic for two years from the end of the public health emergency allowing acute hospital care at home. Sens. Tom Carper, D-Del., and Tim Scott, R-S.C., also introduced a bill to extend hospital at home waivers March 10.

"Our Mayo Clinic Advanced Care at Home patients tell us how much it means for them to recover at home,” said Michael Maniaci, MD, physician leader for Mayo Clinic’s Program, which has treated over 1,700 patients across three states. "The Hospital Inpatient Services Act will allow patients to have the continued option to receive acute- level services in their home instead of a hospital." 

Hospital-at-home programs have shown strong benefits for patients, including significantly lowered readmission rates, higher patient satisfaction and improved health outcomes. These programs also take pressure off hospitals, freeing up bed space for higher acuity patients and reducing emergency department and skilled nursing facility use. 

"The benefits of advanced care at home will serve patients well beyond the pandemic," said Stephen Parodi, MD, executive vice president of the Permanente Federation at Kaiser Permanente. More than 1,100 patients at Kaiser Permanente have used the hospital at home service so far. 

"By extending these flexibilities, Congress will create a predictable pathway for medical professionals to fully realize advances in the care delivery system that enable patients to be treated with safe, equitable, person-centered care in the comfort of their own homes," he said.

The letter was signed by more than 100 healthcare organizations, including the American Medical Association, Johns Hopkins Health System and Medically Home.

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