April 06,2017

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Aaron Fobes, Julia Lawless (202)224-4515

Hatch, Wyden, Isakson, Warner Introduce Bill to Address Chronic Illness

WASHINGTON – Today, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, (R-Utah), and Ranking Member Ron Wyden, (D-Ore.), along with Senators Johnny Isakson, (R-Ga.), and Mark Warner, (D-Va.), co-chairs of the Finance Committee Chronic Care Working Group applauded the reintroduction of the Creating High-Quality Results and Outcomes Necessary to Improve Chronic (CHRONIC) Care Act of 2017, S. 870, a bipartisan bill to strengthen and improve health outcomes for Medicare beneficiaries living with chronic conditions.
“In the proud tradition of the Senate Finance Committee, this is the first major bipartisan health care bill to be introduced this Congress as the result of a committee-wide effort to improve the outlook for patients with chronic conditions,” Hatch said. “During the 114th Congress, the Finance Committee Chronic Care Working Group strove to identify bipartisan solutions that streamline care coordination services, improve disease management and reduce Medicare costs. In fact, six policies championed by the Chronic Care Working Group were either signed into law or executed by administrative action in 2016. Reintroducing this bill in the 115th Congress is an important next step as we continue building momentum to enact the remainder of our innovative policies that advance patient care delivery and quality without adding to the deficit. I look forward to working with members of the committee to advance this bill through regular order and see it signed into law.”
“Today’s bill marks an important step towards updating and strengthening Medicare’s guarantee of comprehensive health benefits for seniors,” Wyden said. “Medicare policy cannot stand idly by while the needs of people in the program shift to managing multiple costly chronic diseases. This bill provides new options and tools for seniors and their doctors to coordinate care and makes it less burdensome to stay healthy. I’m proud that the Finance Committee has come together in a bipartisan way to improve seniors’ health care and I look forward to moving this bill through the Committee.”
“Medicare shouldn’t just be a program that pays the bills when you get sick,” said Isakson. “It should also encourage your doctors to work with you to keep you healthy and out of the hospital by providing high quality, patient-centered care. I’m proud to once again introduce this legislation that will help promote better-coordinated care for seniors with multiple chronic health conditions while also empowering doctors and patients to work together to improve the overall health.”
“Improving care for seniors with chronic conditions is one of the most important things Congress can do to modernize the Medicare program for the 21st century,” Warner said. “These are bipartisan, data-driven policies developed after two years of careful study that will improve access and care for these high-need patients, and ensure that Medicare can provide high-quality care for seniors today and in the future.”
Original cosponsors include: Senators Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and John Thune (R-S.D)
A section-by-section summary of the CHRONIC Care Act of 2017 can be found here.

A one-pager of the CHRONIC Care Act of 2017 can be found here.
Announced at a May 2015 hearing on chronic care, the Committee formed the bipartisan Chronic Care Working Group to explore cost effective solutions to improve health outcomes for Medicare patients living with one or more chronic conditions. The working group produced a policy options paper in December 2015 and called for stakeholder input into the groups’ ideas. The working group received 327 submissions from interested stakeholders across the country who provided thoughtful ideas on ways the Medicare program can better deliver health care to beneficiaries with multiple chronic illness.  Those submissions were considered by working group members to craft a discussion draft released in October of 2016. Additionally, in October of 2016, the working group sent a letter to administration health officials highlighting a number of chronic care provisions identified by the working group that were later adopted through regulatory action.
A previous version of this bill was introduced in December 2016.  Later that month, two important CHRONIC Care Act provisions improving risk adjustment and access to the successful Medicare Advantage program for Medicare-eligible individuals with end-stage renal disease were included in 21st Century Cures bill. In addition, in the 2017 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Final Rule, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) adopted four policies included in the Chronic Care Working Group’s policy options paper:  expanding the Diabetes Prevention Program model; providing enhanced payment for additional care management services for beneficiaries with chronic conditions; promoting the integration of behavioral health care and primary care services; and establishing a new code to pay for assessment and care planning for beneficiaries with Alzheimer’s disease and other cognitive impairments.
The CHRONIC Care Act being introduced today remains largely unchanged from the previous version, notwithstanding minor technical and date changes.