Sunday, March 1, 2009

Bill to Expand Technology

On February 24th, Senators John Thune from South Dakota and Amy Klobuchar from Minnesota reintroduced the “Fostering Independence Through Technology Act (FITT)”. The bill would expand the use of telehealth technology under Medicare in rural and other underserved communities.

The FITT Act would create a pilot program to provide incentives for home health agencies across the country to use home monitoring and communications technologies. The home health agencies participating in the pilot program would receive annual incentive payments based on a percentage of the Medicare savings achieved as a result of using telehealth services.

According to Val J. Halamandaris, President of the National Association for Home Care and Hospice, the FITT Act champions the best of modern healthcare. It has the potential to improve the delivery of healthcare to underserved rural areas and urban seniors, employ the expertise of home healthcare providers, and provide Medicare with savings generated from the use of telehealth.

Dave Horzadovsky, President and CEO of the Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society headquartered in Sioux Falls, commented that “this legislation would help healthcare providers such as his Society develop new innovative ways to reach out and offer supportive services directly in clients homes.”