Fostering Independence Through Technology Act of 2013 Introduced in U.S. Senate

by Published On: Mar 28, 2013Updated On: Apr 15, 2014

The Fostering Independence Through Technology Act of 2013 (S. 596) has been introduced in the U.S. Senate by Sen. John Thune (R-SD) and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN). 

This bipartisan bill calls on the secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)to implement remote monitoring pilot projects within Medicare to provide incentives to home health agencies to use home monitoring and communications technologies. 

Expanding the use of technology in home health will allow for more efficient delivery of healthcare to the elderly and homebound. It will also allow older adults the option of aging at home for longer periods of time in a more cost effective setting than other healthcare options. 

Home monitoring devices now have the ability to track pulse rates, body temperature, body weight, blood pressure and capture numerous measures of clinical data. 

The Veterans Administration realized a 25% reduction in the number of bed days of care, a 19% reduction in hospital admissions, and an 86% satisfaction rate of veterans being seen in their home using remote monitoring technology. 

The FITT Act of 2013 seeks to extend these positive benefits from remote monitoring to home health care services provided through the Medicare program.

The FITT Act Pilot programs would:

  • Require the HHS secretary to conduct pilot projects for home health agencies to use home monitoring and communications technologies to enhance positive health outcomes for Medicare beneficiaries and reduce Medicare expenditures.

  • Involve both Urban and rural home health providers.

  • Require HHS to establish performance targets for home health agency participation.

  • Require HHS to provide an incentive payment to the participating home health agency using telehealth that is 75% of the total Medicare cost savings (parts A, B and D) realized in a year period relative to the performance targets relative to the performance targets.

  • Require the Secretary to submit a report to Congress 3 years after the projects are implemented to determine if the projects should be permanently or temporarily extended or discontinued.

LeadingAge submitted a letter of support for the advancement of the use of telehealth services to improve quality and reduce Medicare costs.


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