CHRONIC Care Act of 2017 Unanimously passed in Senate

The U.S. Senate this week passed the Creating High-Quality Results and Outcomes Necessary to Improve Chronic (CHRONIC) Care Act, a bipartisan bill originally introduced in 2016 by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R – Utah), would improve health outcomes for Medicare beneficiaries with chronic conditions. The bill (S.870), was passed unanimously, and includes a number of provisions that would expand Medicare coverage of telemedicine and give accountable care organizations (ACOs) more discretion in using telemedicine.

Benefits of provisions in the CHRONIC Care Act include:

  • Improving flexibility for Medicare Advantage plans to use telehealth as they please (19 million people are in these managed care plans)
  • Accountable care organizations (ACOs) that are bearing full financial risk would be able to provide telehealth for all Medicare beneficiaries and services to them at home.
  • Remote diagnosis of a suspected stroke would be covered for the approximately 45 million beneficiaries who live in metro areas. (As of now, coverage is restricted to rural locations.)
  • To help enable kidney dialysis at home, a patient’s required visits could be provided by video and for all Medicare dialysis patients. (As of now, coverage is restricted to rural dialysis facilities).

ATA would like to thank all who have utilized the ATA Action Center, and who have done their part by contacting lawmakers about the importance of this, among other important pieces of legislation. We encourage members to thank their Senators for their work on this bill, and continue to push policies that will improve healthcare access and quality.