Immune Deficiency Foundation Applauds Legislation to Improve Medicare Patient Access to Immunoglobulin Products

May 24, 2011, 16:47 ET from Immune Deficiency Foundation

WASHINGTON, May 24, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Immune Deficiency Foundation (IDF) applauds Representatives Kevin Brady (R-TX) and Doris Matsui (D-CA) and Senators John Kerry (D-MA) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) for introducing H.R. 1845 and S. 960, both entitled the Medicare IVIG Access Act.  With strong bipartisan support, the bills provide for a study of issues relating to access to intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) for Medicare beneficiaries in all care settings and a demonstration project to examine the benefits of providing coverage and payment for items and services necessary to administer IVIG in the home for patients with primary immunodeficiency diseases (PIDD). Current law pays for the drug but prohibits Medicare from reimbursing for the nursing services and equipment necessary to infuse a patient in the home setting.  

"For most patients living with primary immunodeficiency diseases, immunoglobulin therapy is their only treatment option," said Marcia Boyle, IDF President and Founder. "The inability of patients to access their lifesaving treatments in the most appropriate site of care is putting patients at tremendous risk for serious, life threatening complications."

Because of medical advances like IVIG, many individuals affected by PIDD -- which are disorders in which part of the body's immune system is missing or does not function properly caused by intrinsic or genetic defects -- can live healthy, productive lives.  Without treatment, everyday illnesses like the common cold can put them at risk for infection and more serious complications.  Over time, the lack of treatment will result in serious chronic illness and disability.

An IDF patient survey supporting today's announcement, found that Medicare patients, when compared to private pay insurance, share a disproportionate burden of negative consequences as a result of the changes in Medicare IVIG reimbursement policies.  Since January 2005, 32% of Medicare patients reported they have been forced to change their preferred IVIG treatment location.  Many patients now must receive IVIG in hospitals, which is not the ideal location for patients who are especially susceptible to opportunistic infections.    

About the Immune Deficiency Foundation

The Immune Deficiency Foundation is the national patient organization dedicated to improving the diagnosis, treatment and quality of life of persons with primary immunodeficiency diseases through advocacy, education, and research. For more information contact IDF at 800-296-4433 or

SOURCE Immune Deficiency Foundation