CMS home care pilot will test technology to treat chronic patients

A new pilot program being rolled out by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will rely on the use of IT to help treat Medicare patients with chronic conditions in their homes.

Dubbed the Independence at Home Demonstration, the project, which was announced late last month and falls under the Affordable Care Act, aims to improve coordination of care through home-based primary care for up to 10,000 Medicare patients.

CMS Acting Administrator Marilyn Tavenner likens the program to an updated house call practice that will use "21st Century technology."

"When a critically-ill patient can remain in familiar surroundings, the benefits are many," Tavenner said in a statement. "[F]amilies and caregivers report greater satisfaction with the care, and unnecessary hospitalizations are avoided."

The CMS Innovation Center is spearheading the initiative and will work with providers to determine if such an approach actually leads to improved results. Providers who are able to improve care while bringing down costs will receive incentive payments via the demonstration, according to an accompanying fact sheet.

As many as 50 practices will be selected to participate in the program. Each practice will be required to serve a minimum of 200 Medicare beneficiaries with a wide array of chronic conditions. All participating practices are required to have physicians or nurse practitioners with home-based primary care experience.

Applications to participate in the pilot are due Feb. 6.

To learn more:
- read this CMS announcement
- here's the accompanying fact sheet (.pdf)
- check out these frequently asked questions (.pdf)

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