WHA and its members are urging Congress to make the federal Acute Hospital Care at Home waiver program permanent. In a March 21 letter to leaders of the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance and U.S. House Ways & Means Committee, WHA and its members wrote in support of the Hospital Inpatient Services Modernization Act (H.R. 7053/S. 3792), bipartisan legislation introduced by Sens. Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) and Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio).
The Acute Hospital Care at Home (AHCAH) program was rolled out by the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in November 2020 and has since grown to include more than 90 health systems and over 200 hospitals in 34 states, including Wisconsin. It allows hospitals to provide a hospital level of care in the comfort of a patient’s home for certain acute-level conditions that have been approved by CMS and were developed in consultation with academic and provider industry leaders. Currently, hospitals that are part of four different health systems in Wisconsin have been approved for waivers under the program, and more are expected to join pending the future status of the program.
While Congress recently approved legislation that would extend Medicare’s telehealth coverage flexibilities for 151 days after the federal public health emergency (PHE) expires, it did not address other programs relying on the PHE waivers, such as the AHCAH program. The legislation would extend the AHCAH program for two years after the PHE expires with the hope that a permanent program could be developed by the end of that period and in coordination with CMS. Without passage of this legislation, hospitals and patients alike would lose the ability to participate in the program once the PHE expires.
WHA was joined by 10 health systems with a Wisconsin presence, all of which are either currently utilizing the AHCAH in Wisconsin or other states or are taking a serious look at beginning the program. The letter urges the committees to work quickly to advance this legislation and also to contact U.S. House and Senate leadership to ensure it is addressed before the PHE expires. WHA also contacted Wisconsin’s full congressional Delegation with a copy of the letter of support and a request for them to cosponsor this legislation.
Contact WHA Vice President of Federal and State Relations Jon Hoelter with questions.