The AAMC-supported Hospital Inpatient Services Modernization Act was introduced in the House and Senate on March 10. The bipartisan legislation, led by Sens. Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) and Brad Wenstrup, DPM, (R-Ohio) would extend the Acute Hospital Care at Home (AHCAH) program waiver for two years after the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE).
The AHCAH program waiver allows approved hospitals to treat certain patients who may have been admitted to the hospital otherwise to be treated in their homes. Hospitals receive payment under the Medicare Inpatient Prospective Payment System. Without congressional action, the AHCAH waiver will expire at the end of the PHE, and hospitals with AHCAH programs will no longer be eligible for Medicare payment for these patients.
In its letter of support for the bill, the AAMC applauded the legislation and highlighted that hospitals “have made robust investments in their programs with some viewing their AHCAH programs as a long-term solution to ongoing capacity issues.” The letter also noted that the legislation would provide assurance to teaching hospitals and their patients who are facing uncertainty as to whether the program will be extended after the PHE expires.
The bill leads issued a press statement upon introduction with Carper highlighting that many hospitals have utilized the AHCAH waiver throughout the PHE to continue caring for patients in their homes. Scott noted that extending the program “will ease pressure on our health care system and allow thousands of vulnerable Americans to continue receiving quality care from the safety of their own home.”