Carper, Scott introduce legislation to extend hospital-at-home for five years

May 15, 2024

Sens. Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Tim Scott (R-S.C.) will introduce legislation Wednesday that would extend the Acute Hospital Care at Home (AHCAH) waiver program past its 2024 expiration date.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) introduced several waivers and flexibilities in 2020, allowing for various inpatient-level hospital services to be conducted in patients’ homes.

The AHCAH program was initially set to expire with the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency but was extended to December 31, 2024, by the Consolidated Appropriations Act passed last year.

Carper and Scott’s bill would further extend the flexibilities provided by AHCAH for another five years.

“Since Hospital at Home was implemented just a few years ago, we have seen this program deliver positive patient outcomes and reduce costs nationwide,” Carper said in a statement.

“I recently had the opportunity to celebrate Delaware’s own ChristianaCare as they admitted their 1,000th patient through the program,” he continued. “Today, I’m glad to join Senator Scott in introducing legislation to extend the Hospital at Home program for five years, and ensure hospitals across the country can continue to meet seniors right where they are.”

Carper joined Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) earlier this year in introducing another bill that would similarly build on the AHCAH program to include observation status patients, those who physicians are still determining whether they need to be admitted to inpatient care or can be discharged.

An aide for Carper told Politico recently that the senator plans to introduce legislation making hospital-at-home waivers permanent.

A CMS study from November that observed patients admitted under the AHCAH waiver from November 2021 to March 2023 found that they experienced a “low mortality rate consistent with the hospital-at-home literature and minimal complications related to escalations back to the brick-and-mortar hospital.”