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Associate Care Manager Gregory is a Certified Senior Advisor (CSA), Certified Dementia Practitioner (CDP), and Medicare Counselor, whose work focuses on helping aging adults and folks with limited independence by providing resources and support to help them discover and lead their best life. Gregory has been a part of CCM, Inc. for over a decade. – Charlotte

Lots of folks are worried about the future of Medicare and Medicaid. In February, the Senate passed the CHRONIC Care Act which is called “Creating High-Quality Results and Outcomes Necessary to Improve Chronic (CHRONIC) Care” in full, and is specifically designed to promote improved assistance to the millions of older adults with multiple medical issues. It expands care at the same level of funding and seeks to assist those whose chronic illnesses are not efficiently managed by the hospital model.

As adults age, some health concerns can be resolved with treatment, but some, like dementia, emphysema, heart and kidney diseases, and arthritis, are permanent conditions that need a great deal of medical attention. For these conditions, though, hospitalization is not the best way to provide care. Still, many patients with chronic conditions find themselves in multiple, unnecessary office and hospital visits due to the current treatment climate. This legislation, which also seeks to end the lack of coordination between Medicare and Medicaid, will be a boon to folks living with chronic conditions, especially those whose chronic illnesses are auto-immune, as one of the primary objectives of the bill is to reduce hospital visits and provide more in-home care.

What does the bill say it will do? What improvements can Medicaid or Medicare Advantage beneficiaries expect? The bill:

  • Expands coverage for “non-medical” services and equipment– Funds are now freed for more in-home care for patients who need service, but do not need skilled nursing, and more funds are available for Durable Medical Equipment (grab bars, wheel chair ramps, etc) for the chronically ill.
  • Expands telehealth coverage– Medicare Advantage members will have more access to telephonic health management and digital services where before barriers made these services more difficult to receive. This includes telehealth services for stroke no matter the geographic location of the call.
  • Includes Telehealth with In-Home Dialysis– Kidney patients already on in-home dialysis will find it a great convenience to be able to use telehealth as a clinic visit.
  • Frees Acountable Care Organizations (ACOs)– These organizations will be free to assign chronic status and utlilze their resources to provide care at a greater rate of their own discretion.

The bill, which will provide better care at the same level of funding, eliminate unnecessary hospital visits/stays for chronic patients, while drastically reducing cost of care provided, looks to be a win-win situation which will positively impact many aging adults. If you or someone you love is dealing with chronic illness and on Medicaid or a Medicare Advantage plan, your life just got a little easier, and your care just got a little better. Reach out to us at Creative Care Management or your providers and find out how this change in care model can best benefit your situation.

Charlotte Bishop is an Aging Life Care Advisor, Geriatric Care Manager and founder of Creative Care Management, certified professionals who are geriatric advocates, resources, counselors and friends to older adults and their families in metropolitan Chicago.  She also is the co-author of How Do I Know You? A Caregiver’s Lifesaver for Dealing with Dementia.



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