Helping Medicare beneficiaries with chronic conditions

Senators want to streamline care and improve outcomes for chronically ill seniors.

The Senate Finance Committee unanimously approved the Creating High-Quality Results and Outcomes Necessary to Improve Chronic (CHRONIC) Care Act of 2017 on Thursday, two days after holding a mark-up hearing.

“The CHRONIC Care Act is the culmination of a committee-wide, bipartisan effort to improve outcomes for patients with chronic conditions,” said committee chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, in a statement. “As the first major bipartisan healthcare bill introduced in the 115th Congress, the CHRONIC Care Act will improve disease management, lower Medicare costs and streamline care coordination services—all with bipartisan solutions and without adding to the deficit.”

The bill would allow certain Medicare advantage plans and Accountable Care Organizations the increase use of telehealth services. Ranking committee member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said the bill would allow seniors to stay at home longer through expanded use of technology and stronger emphasis on primary care.

Hatch and Wyden formed the bipartisan Chronic Care Working Group almost two years ago, which issued a legislative discussion draft in October 2016. Since then, some of its recommendations have been passed in other legislation: four provisions were included in the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ 2017 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Rule and two provisions were included in the 21st Century Cures Act signed into law by President Barack Obama.

“In other words, several of the working group’s policies have already been enacted, and we’re working tot the rest signed into law and fully implemented,” Hatch said in a statement.

Topics: Executive Leadership , Medicare/Medicaid