Aging Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

SB-164

Title:

AN ACT CONCERNING MEDICAID COVERAGE OF TELEMONITORING SERVICES.

Vote Date:

3/8/2016

Vote Action:

Joint Favorable

PH Date:

2/25/2016

File No.:

SPONSORS OF BILL:

Aging Committee

Sen. Mae Flexer, 29th Dist.

REASONS FOR BILL:

To provide Medicaid coverage for home telemonitoring services by home health care agencies.

The bill requires the State Department of Social Services, to the extent permissible under federal law, to provide Medicaid coverage for home telemonitoring services performed by a home health care agency for a Medicaid beneficiary with (1) serious or chronic medical conditions, (2) a documented history of poor adherence to ordered medication regimes, (3) a documented history of falls, (4) limited informal support systems, (5) a documented history of challenges with access to care, or (6) a history of living alone or being home alone for extended periods of time.

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

Connecticut Department of Social Services: Opposes the bill. The State Department of Social Services does not anticipate an increase in Medicaid funding that would enable them to add telemonitoring to existing nurse and home health aide services. Additionally, previous health reforms (nurse delegation and med-boxes) enacted to reduce cost savings have yet proven to be successful.

Deb Migneault, Senior Policy Analyst, Connecticut's Legislative Commission on Aging: Supports the bill. Telemonitoring allows for early detection of medical complications and lowers hospital admissions and readmissions. Telemonitoring was recommended by the 2016 Long-term Services and Support Plan, the Governor's Strategic Rebalancing Plan, and several task forces.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

Beka Apostolidis, Owner, BA Healthcare Consulting/Telehealth Solutions: Describes the use and benefits of using a telemonitor, a small device that includes a scale, pulse oximeter and blood pressure cuff. Using a telemonitor, patients see how their behavior, medications, and diet directly impact their vital sign results. Seventeen states have remote patient monitoring coverage for Medicaid patients and twenty five states have some coverage for home telehealth, including New York, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Maine.

Nora Duncan, State Director, AARP: Telemonitoring will allow home health agencies to share vital patient data with the patient's treating physician and will help family caregivers access health care and long-term care services and supports.

Kathy Flaherty, Executive Director, Connecticut Legal Rights Project: Telemonitoring services will result in improved provision of health care and saves the state money by preventing more costly hospital re-admissions.

Coulter Minix, Almost Family, Inc.: In-home telemonitoring works and has been successful in other states, including New York. A recent study conducted by VNA Healthcare in conjunction with UCONN School of Nursing found home Telemonitoring, along with certain nursing interventions, increases quality of life, empowers people to self-manage, and significantly reduces hospital readmissions for patients with congestive heart failure. Telemonitoring will also help address primary care provider shortages.

Mag Morelli, President, LeadingAge Connecticut: Telemonitoring plays a crucial role in home and community based aging services and realized savings for the Medicaid program

Karen A. Pagliaro, Director of Community and Government Relations, Hartford HealthCare at Home: Patients with Chronic Lung Disease and Cardiac Disease have traditionally benefited from cardiac telemonitoring. Hartford HealthCare at Home conducted a research with UConn on the benefits of telemonitoring and found that telemonitoring with interventions by a Cardiac Nurse Specialist leads to better patient outcomes, less emergency room visits, less hospitalizations, and increased quality of life.

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Tracy Wodatch, Vice President of Clinical and Regulatory Services, Connecticut Association for Healthcare at Home: Local and national studies have found that telemonitoring (1) reduces costly hospitalization, (2) improves the quality of life for individuals receiving care at home, (3) promotes self-care education and intervention, (4) improves depression symptoms, (5) is cost-effective and saves millions of dollars across the health continuum, and (6) produces positive outcomes for patients.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

None

Reported by: Amy Linskey/Robin Bumpen

Date: 3/10/2016