NCHC Supports Key Provisions of CHRONIC Care Act

NCHC Writer
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Statement by John Rother, President & CEO of National Coalition on Health Care

“People with multiple chronic conditions account for the majority of health spending, and their care is too fragmented and costly. This legislation is a promising beginning of the effort to address the problem, but certainly not the end.

“NCHC applauds the Committee, its Members, and their staff for their commitment to this issue and the bipartisan process that produced it. NCHC supports the following provisions of the CHRONIC Care Act:

  • Section 201, Providing Continued Access to Medicare Advantage (MA) Special Needs Plans for Vulnerable Populations: MA Special Needs Plans have served as incubators for promising delivery and benefit innovations, enabling plans to develop new ways of managing chronic disease and coordinating care for some of the sickest Medicare enrollees. This important provision ensures that they can continue to play that role.
  • Section 301, Adapting Benefits to Meet the Needs of Chronically Ill Medicare Advantage Enrollees: NCHC supports the expansion of the MA VBID demonstration to all fifty states and U.S. territories. As currently implemented, this demonstration includes important beneficiary protections, including the requirement that cost-sharing is reduced rather than increased and uniform notice requirements. The national expansion of this model test can better inform the development of future reforms to align benefit structures with ongoing value-based provider-payment reforms and lower cost barriers to needed care.
  • Section 302, Expanding Supplemental Benefits to Meet the Needs of Chronically Ill Medicare Advantage Enrollees: This important provision will ensure plans can deploy services that may not be covered under Medicare but can improve health outcomes and lower costs. Examples of such services should include, but need not be limited to, non-covered transportation, nutrition, in-home support services, behavioral health services, palliative care services, home improvement, communication devices, caregiver training and support, assistive devices, and remote patient monitoring systems.
  • Telehealth Provisions: Certain telehealth provisions of the CHRONIC Care Act are consistent with NCHC-supported telehealth legislation—the CONNECT for Health Act (S. 1060). We are pleased to support the following provisions:
    -Section 102, Expanding Access to Home Dialysis Therapy
    -Section 304, Providing Accountable Care Organizations the Ability to Expand the Use of Telehealth
    Section 305, Expanding Use of Telehealth for Individuals with Stroke
  • Section 401, Providing Flexibility for Beneficiaries to be Part of an ACO: This provision makes needed improvements to the Medicare Shared Savings Program, including the option to assign beneficiaries to ACOs prospectively in all MSSP tracks and through beneficiary attestation. Should the voluntary attestation provision be enacted, Congress should work closely with CMS to ensure a robust coordination and outreach effort that extends beyond mere notification. Properly implemented, Section 401 represents an initial down payment on the reforms that are needed to ensure ACOs realize their potential to improve Original Medicare.

“Moving forward, NCHC hopes to secure enactment and effective implementation of legislation that preserves and builds on the policy achievements reflected in the Chairman’s Mark.”

Read NCHC’s May 12 letter to Chairman Hatch and Ranking Member Wyden here.