CMS: Independence at Home Saved Less Than Originally Reported

Primary care in a home setting is a money-saver, according to the second-year results from the Independence at Home program from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

However, the program did not save Medicare as much as originally thought, according to a corrected analysis of the performance year 2 results.

In August 2016, CMS reported that the program, which allows providers to give primary care services to patients at home, saved Medicare $10,612,506 in aggregate. In fact, Independence at Home only saved Medicare $7,821,374 in aggregate, or an average of $746 per beneficiary.

By comparison, the program saved more than $25 million in aggregate in its first year.

Still, the savings allowed seven participating practices to receive incentive payments totaling $5,093,105. The corrected savings and earned incentive payments are significantly lower than the projected amounts reported in August.

More than 10,000 beneficiaries were enrolled in the Independence at Home program, which began in 2012 and was originally authorized for three years before it was extended through September 2017.

In total, 15 practices participated in the second year, including home care practices such as Cleveland Clinic Home Care Services, Doctors on Call, Doctors Making Housecalls and others. Of the seven practices receiving incentive payments, the lowest amount is $116,555, while the highest is more than $1.3 million.

The demonstration is also authorized by a section of the Affordable Care Act, which the new Trump administration and Republican-lead Congress have promised to repeal.

However, the Independence at Home program has already been extended once, and lawmakers have considered legislation to make the program permanent as well as approve another extension through 2019.

Written by Amy Baxter