The Society Submits Written Testimony to Ways and Means in Response to Aging Hearing

December 5, 2019
Policy Snapshot

The Society recently submitted written testimony to the House Ways and Means Committee in relation to a recent hearing entitled “Caring for Aging Americans.” The Society’s comments focused around the use of antipsychotics, telemedicine in long-term care (LTC), the nursing home medical director registry, and its support of the Patient Choice & Quality Care Planning Act.

The hearing highlighted an urgent need and opportunity to deal with a rapidly aging population. Witnesses presented a wide variety of issues and solutions and included caregivers and representatives from consumer advocacy groups. Topics included the significant role of caregivers, the unaffordability of LTC for the average American, the quality of care in LTC settings, and the use of antipsychotics for LTC patients.

The Society noted that it “strongly urge[s] lawmakers to ensure that the critical decision to reduce and/or eliminate [antipsychotic] medications is one based on diagnosis, evidence, and thorough evaluation of patient welfare.” The written testimony further noted that the use of medication therapy in the nursing home population is often complex and requires “thoughtful evaluation, identification of appropriate indications, and consideration of the benefits and risks involved.”

The Society also urged Congress to revisit the current restrictions on the use of telehealth services to once per month for Medicare billing. “We are concerned that this limitation stifles innovation and use of telehealth in the PALTC setting. Demonstration projects, such as CMS’ Initiative to Reduce Unnecessary Hospitalization’s Among Long-Stay Nursing Home Residents, have used telehealth more frequently than once a month and have shown positive results.”

The testimony further noted the growing need for CMS to begin keeping a record, by name, of each of the designated medical directors and associate medical directors of the nation’s nursing homes and make this information available to the public as well as the Society’s  support of the Patient Choice & Quality Care Planning Act (HR 2797).

Click here to read the full testimony.