Bills Introduced on the Hill

Several pieces of legislation have been introduced to improve care for diabetic patients. Senators Jeanne Shakeen (D-NH) and Diabetes Caucus Co-Chair along with Susan Collins (R-ME) have introduced new legislation to establish a commission of healthcare experts to advance diabetes care and prevention.

The bill titled the “National Diabetes Clinical Care Commission Care Act” (S-539) would bring together public and private sector experts in diabetes research and treatment to offer insight in improving clinical care for diabetic patients.

On the House side, Representative Pete Olson (R-TX) introduced a companion bill to streamline federal funding for diabetes research. The bill (H.R. 1074) would also form a National Diabetes Clinical Care Commission to not only consult with federal agencies but also assist in coordinating and directing diabetes clinical care policy.

According to (H.R 1074), the Commission would include heads of agencies with programs that could impact the clinical care of people with pre-diabetes and diabetics. Additional members would include physicians, non physicians, healthcare professionals and patient advocates

The Commission would make recommendations to the Secretary of HHS and to Congress on current policies and programs that would improve the quality of diabetic care and patient outcomes. In addition, the legislation also recommends that a registry be developed that would evaluate various care models and methods to provide more efficient diabetes management.

Michael Burgess (R-TX) and Gene Green (D-TX0 introduced the “Health Care Price Transparency Promotion Act of 2013” (HR 1326) so that patients would be able to review their options along with upfront information the costs of a medical procedure and other expenses related to healthcare.

According to the legislation, health insurers would need to provide consumers in out-of-pocket costs data for services rendered. The legislation also directs the states to establish and maintain laws requiring disclosure of information on hospital charges and make this information available to the public.

 In another legislative move on the Senate side, Senator John Thune (R-SD) reintroduced the “Fostering Independence through Technology Act” (S.596) that would create a pilot program to provide budget neutral incentives for home health agencies to use Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) to help Medicare beneficiaries use monitoring to improve health outcomes and reduce expenses.

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