Earlier this year, ESRD patients in Pennsylvania began to receive notices that Independence Blue Cross (IBC) would no longer accept their premium payments if they received charitable assistance from the American Kidney Fund (AKF). In May, Dialysis Patient Citizens (DPC) filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of dialysis patients to challenge IBC’s rejection of charitable premium support. DPC asked the court to issue an emergency injunction that would force IBC to accept premium payments made with assistance from AKF.
Two pieces of legislation have been passed by unanimous consent by the Ways and Means Committee with provisions that improve dialysis care. The Medicare Part B Improvement Act of 2017 (H.R. 3178) and H.R. 3168 –contain 3 provisions which will improve dialysis care. H.R. 3178 expands access to home dialysis by allowing the use of telemedicine for end stage renal disease (ESRD) related visits as well as allows new dialysis facilities to received outside accreditation in order to provide treatment.
On June 29, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued its proposed Annual Payment Rule for the End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) Program to govern dialysis services furnished beginning January 1, 2018. The proposed rule also makes minor changes to the ESRD Quality Incentive Program (QIP). This year’s rule includes an increase to the base rate, replacing QIP measures as well as including social risk factors in the QIP scores.
Each year, Dialysis Patient Citizens is proud to bring dialysis patients to Washington, D.C. in order to meet with their legislators about the issues affecting patients nationwide. This year, we are pleased to have hosted 25 dialysis patients and their family members from across the country. Patients arrived to Washington, D.C. and were greeted by an informal networking dinner to meet new advocates and re-connect with veteran advocates.
Many people are under the impression there is no bipartisan cooperation right now in Congress – and especially on health care issues. However, that is not necessarily the case. Towards the end of May, and after encouragement from Dialysis Patient Citizens (DPC) and other kidney groups, over 150 bipartisan Members of Congress signed onto a letter to Secretary Price urging him to protect non-profit charities’ ability to provide charitable assistance to kidney and other chronic disease patient
Advocates for dialysis patients announced their strong support of bipartisan legislation introduced in Congress last week that would augment research on kidney disease, improve coordination among kidney care providers and expand coverage options for patients with kidney failure, also called end-stage renal disease (ESRD).
Today the global community of people fighting kidney disease commemorates World Kidney Day, an effort to raise awareness of the importance of healthy kidneys and reduce the devastating impact of kidney disease, which affects 1 out of every 10 people worldwide.
Although the condition is incurable, effective treatments are available. An estimated 2.6 million people with end-stage renal disease (ESRD), or kidney failure, received dialysis in 2010. That number is expected to more than double to 5.4 million by 2030.
A recent proposed rule released by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) provided guidance for market stabilization of the Affordable Care Act. Within this proposed rule, network adequacy provisions for dialysis clinics provided a narrow scope for insurers. In comments submitted by DPC on March 6, we argued stronger time and distance criteria need to be added to these provisions.
In a lawsuit filed by DPC against the Department of Health and Human Services, a federal court has blocked a regulation that would have given insurers veto power over ESRD patients’ access to private coverage. The judge called the regulation, that could have forced dialysis patients off their current health insurance and jeopardized their access to care, “arbitrary and capricious.”
Lawsuit charges that CMS rule to take effect Jan. 13 gives insurers illegal veto power over access to private coverage