On April 13, 2020, U.S. Representatives Eliot L. Engel (NY-16) and Fred Upton (MI-06), top Members of the Energy and Commerce Committee, led a bipartisan group of 181 House Members, including Arizona Representatives Andy Biggs, Ruben Gallego, Raul Grijalva, and Tom O’Halleran, in urging the Trump Administration to temporarily allow seniors to receive lifesaving drug infusions in their homes to prevent unnecessary trips to hospitals, which could potentially expose them to COVID-19.
U.S. Representatives Eliot L. Engel (NY-16) and Fred Upton (MI-06), top Members of the Energy and Commerce Committee, today led a bipartisan group of 181 House Members in urging the Trump Administration to temporarily allow seniors to receive lifesaving drug infusions in their homes to prevent unnecessary trips to hospitals, which could potentially expose them to COVID-19.
“My district is at the epicenter of the nation’s coronavirus outbreak. New York health care facilities and providers are overburdened with treating coronavirus cases,” said Rep. Engel. “Right now, it is critical that we take commonsense steps to reduce the strain on New York’s health care system. Home infusion allows seniors and other vulnerable patient populations to receive their lifesaving medications in the safety of their home without putting additional strains on health care systems. We should be expanding home infusion services right now.”
“The coronavirus crisis is impacting not just those who are suffering with the virus, but every patient across the country. We should be using every tool in the toolbox to protect the health and safety of patients and health care providers,” said Rep. Upton. “That’s why a large bipartisan group of colleagues and I are calling on HHS and CMS to protect Medicare beneficiaries while ensuring vital care services will continue during this public health crisis.”
Medicare covers a number of lifesaving drugs for conditions such as cancer and rheumatoid arthritis, which must be administered intravenously. Given the complexity and potency of these drugs, seniors must receive these medications in hospitals or physician offices. With the outbreak of coronavirus or COVID-19, these visits are potentially deleterious for seniors, as they are one of the most susceptible populations for this virus.
Home infusion services allow individuals to receive some simple intravenously-administered drugs in the comfort and safety of their homes. In their bipartisan letter, Representatives Engel and Upton, who created the home infusion benefit in Medicare Part B, are encouraging the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to allow the delivery of more complex, lifesaving infusion drugs to be given to seniors at home to protect them from coronavirus.