CHA is urging members of the state’s Congressional delegation to support the bipartisan Hospital Inpatient Services Modernization Act, which would extend the existing Acute Hospital Care at Home (AHCAH) waiver for two years beyond the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE).
The extension would allow these innovative programs to continue delivering high-quality care to patients in their own homes and to provide for collection of data to inform the development of a permanent version of the program.
As noted in CHA’s letter, the current AHCAH model was developed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) during the COVID-19 PHE. Under the AHCAH waiver, CMS waived certain nursing requirements of the hospital conditions of participation for hospitals that met certain requirements, to allow qualified patients the opportunity to receive care in their homes while maximizing inpatient bed capacity at hospitals and limiting potential COVID-19 exposure for practitioners and non-COVID-19 patients.
In order to operate an AHCAH program, hospitals must receive prior approval from CMS and demonstrate their ability to meet specified requirements, including criteria for patient eligibility, frequency of on-site and virtual clinical visits, and patient and caregiver communication with the medical team. CMS has also established a regular reporting process to ensure that the quality of patient care and outcomes are not adversely affected.