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Bipartisan Effort Aims to Extend Hospital Care at Home Options for Rural and Underserved Communities


WASHINGTON D.C. – In a move aimed at bolstering access to healthcare in rural and underserved areas, Representatives Brad Wenstrup (R-OH) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) have joined forces to introduce a bipartisan discussion draft. This draft legislation proposes extending a program that allows Medicare beneficiaries to receive hospital-level care within the comfort of their own homes.

The initiative in question, known as the Acute Hospital Care at Home (AHCAH) program, was originally launched in 2020 as a response to the challenges faced by hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since its inception, the program has seen significant growth, with 277 hospitals across 37 states participating by March 2023. The proposed legislation seeks to extend the program’s waiver provisions until 2027.

A recent House Ways and Means Committee hearing on enhancing access to care in rural and underserved areas served as the backdrop for this bipartisan collaboration. The hearing underscored the critical need for a comprehensive evaluation of the flexibilities required for the successful implementation of Hospital at Home programs. Representatives Wenstrup and Blumenauer are actively seeking feedback from patients, healthcare providers, and health systems currently involved in the program or those considering participation under a potential extension.

“As a physician, I understand the importance of providing patients with care options that best suit their needs,” stated Rep. Wenstrup, Co-Chair of the GOP Doctors Caucus. “Extending the AHCAH flexibilities guarantees continued access to these options for patients. This program allows countless Americans to receive high-quality care in the familiar and comforting environment of their own homes, ultimately reducing anxiety and promoting a faster recovery.”

Echoing Rep. Wenstrup’s sentiment, Rep. Blumenauer highlighted a positive aspect arising from the pandemic. “One of the few silver linings to emerge from the pandemic was the streamlining of administrative regulations, ultimately improving access to high-quality care for patients,” he remarked. “The Hospital at Home program stands as a prime example of this. We have observed demonstrably better patient outcomes and a more positive healthcare experience when individuals receive treatment in their homes. I look forward to collaborating with Dr. Wenstrup to extend this program’s reach, allowing more hospitals and patients to benefit from its advantages.”