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Hemophilia organization hopes to change current Medicare reimbursement that leads aging hemophilia patients struggling to enter nursing facilities

BY SONJI WILKES, STAFF WRITER

During National Hemophilia Foundation鈥檚 Washington Days, NHF announced The Hemophilia Skilled Nursing Facility Access Act had been introduced in both the House and the Senate. This critical legislation will rectify a longstanding problem that has blocked access to skilled nursing facilities by Medicare beneficiaries who have hemophilia or other bleeding disorders.

Under current law, Medicare reimburses SNFs on a bundled, daily rate for patient stays. This payment is not high enough to cover the costs of medication used to control bleeding in a person with a bleeding disorder. As a result, most SNFs do not care for people with bleeding disorders due to the significant losses the SNF will incur as a result of those individuals鈥 treatment needs.

鈥淎ccess to skilled nursing facilities is critical for Medicare beneficiaries with bleeding disorders and we have been advocating to improve access for many years,鈥 said Michelle Rice, Chief External Affairs Officer for NHF. 鈥淣HF applauds Senators Menendez, Enzi and Whitehouse and Representatives LaHood, Higgins, Dingell and Bilirakis for their leadership in introducing this legislation that will improve care for hundreds of people with bleeding disorders in the US 鈥 and remove some of the strain on taxpayers.鈥

The Hemophilia SNF Access Act would address this problem by adding bleeding disorders treatments to the list of high cost, uncommon services that SNFs may separately bill under Medicare Part B. There is precedent for creating such additional payment categories: under current law, Medicare can provide separate and additional reimbursement for chemotherapy, radioisotopes and certain prosthetic devices, when Medicare beneficiaries requiring such treatments receive care in SNFs.

The SNF legislation is the culmination of years of continued efforts by NHF and other bleeding disorders organizations. NHF heard from many community members over the years about challenges accessing SNF facilities due to the way Medicare reimburses bleeding disorders treatments.

The bill was a top talking point for the approximately 450 volunteer advocates with bleeding disorders who visited with their legislators at NHF鈥檚 advocacy event, Washington Days in February.

鈥淲e hope that together, we鈥檒l be able to convince Congress to take action on this bill. It may seem small, but it has the ability to have a big impact on many people鈥檚 lives,鈥 said Rice.

HFA was pleased to offer a letter of endorsement in support of the House and Senate bills.

 

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