House legislators who were working to finalize the health care reform bill from the Energy and Commerce committee added a provision that would enable seniors to get better access to home care services by improving the communication between doctors, pharmacists and other medical professionals.
The plan wor
ks similarly to one pioneered by the Veterans Administration for those with multiple chronic conditions, and pays incentives to health care providers and pharmacists who provide an integrated plan to manage patients' illnesses.
"My mother always told me, 'work smarter, not harder' and this amendment assures that we will reform the way we treat patients with multiple chronic diseases to provide the best quality care while saving millions for Medicare," said Representative Edward Markey, the amendments' sponsor.
It is set to begin in 26 states and the District of Columbia in 2010 as part of a three-year pilot process, and Markey and other legislators are hopeful that it will both reduce costs and the number of hospitalizations and emergency room visits needed by patients who receive home care services through Medicare.