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FITT Act Would Advance Telehealth

by Published On: Dec 05, 2011Updated On: Mar 25, 2012

The Fostering Independence Through Technology Act (FITT) of 2011 (S. 501), which was introduced by Sens. John Thune (R-SD) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), is currently being considered by the U.S. Senate Finance Committee. We urge you to encourage your senators to support this bipartisan legislation.  

LeadingAge strongly supports this legislation. The bill will give us a better understanding of how we could link the payment for services using technology to quality outcomes and Medicare savings.

Summary of major provisions: 

  • Requires the secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) 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. 
  • Requires urban and rural pilot project sites.
  • Requires HHS to establish performance targets for home health agency participation. 
  • HHS shall provide an incentive payment to each participating home care agency equal to a portion of the Medicare savings relative to the performance targets.  The incentive payments in the aggregate, however, may not exceed the amount that the Secretary estimates would be expended to home health agencies if the pilot projects had not been implemented (i.e. budget neutral).
  • If HHS determines that the health outcomes are enhanced and Medicare savings are realized, additional pilot projects can be authorized by the secretary of HHS. 
  • The Secretary is required to submit a report to Congress 5 years after the projects are implemented to determine if the projects should be permanently or temporarily extended or discontinued. 
  • Payments for participating in the pilot project will have no effect on other Medicare repayments to participating agencies.   

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