Policy researchers give CHRONIC Care Act 60% chance of passing Congress by end of year

Policy research group Capital Alpha Partners estimates a telehealth bill that would give Medicare Advantage plans more flexibility to grant telehealth options has a 60 percent chance of being tacked on to a year-end bill.

The Creating High-Quality Results and Outcomes Necessary to Improve Chronic Care Act of 2017 aims to improve at-home care, increase Medicare Advantage flexibility, give ACOs more options and expand telehealth capabilities. The U.S. Senate unanimously passed the bill late September and the House doesn't have its own version, although it has considered similar telehealth provisions in separate pieces of legislation.  

The group calls CHRONIC a "step in the right direction" but thinks the sector has a long way to go before Congress expands telehealth reimbursement, which remains a key barrier for many in the industry. And although the Congressional Budget office ruled that the legislation does not cost the government any money, Capital Alpha is not confident the bill will move on its own.

"It's encouraging to see bipartisan support on the issue, not to mention it's one of the few healthcare bills the Senate has been able to move this year," the researchers wrote. "We think these actions demonstrate a clear interest in the issue will translate to further legislative action on telehealth reimbursement as more data is collected."

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