07.15.21

Burr, Bennet Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Enhance Accessibility of Innovative At-Home Treatments

Today, Senators Richard Burr (R-NC) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) introduced the Better Wound Care at Home Act, bipartisan legislation to update payment rules at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to give Americans better access to cutting-edge technology and treatment options used in home health settings.

“Outdated Medicare payment methods and billing rules shouldn’t limit treatment options for Americans,”said Senator Burr. “It’s important that seniors receiving care at home have access to the most up-to-date and innovative treatments. This legislation will ensure just that by modernizing CMS payment policies to make disposable wound treatments as readily accessible as non-disposable treatments. I’m proud to work with Senator Bennet on this legislation that builds upon our previous work to provide Americans with access to the most cutting-edge care options regardless of where they are being treated.”

“The need for at-home treatment has been underscored during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Senator Bennet. “We can improve the health and quality of life of our seniors by giving them access to appropriate care that incorporates cutting-edge technology from the comfort of their homes. This bipartisan legislation will help home health care workers provide their patients with the best, highest-quality care in their own homes while reducing hospital visits and health care costs.”

Background:

In 2015, Senators Burr and Bennet introduced the Patient Access to Disposable Medical Technology Act to modernize Medicare coverage of durable medical equipment to include disposable technologies in home health care settings, which was later signed into law as part of a larger funding bill.

Currently, CMS has not fully implemented this updated payment pathway, slowing treatment options for Medicare patients.

The Better Wound Care at Home Act would put disposable durable medical equipment, such as the commonly used negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT) device, on a level playing field with non-disposable NPWT devices, giving Americans more options of treatment and better access to cutting-edge technologies. 

Specifically, this legislation would standardize the payment methodology nationally by applying a neutral area wage index for payments made to home health agencies (HHAs), clarify that payments to HHAs for disposable NPWT devices are to be made for the device itself, not accompanying professional services, and reduce administrative burdens by streamlining the billing forms. 

Representatives G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) and Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives on April 5, 2021.