DPC would like to wish our many patient advocates, family, friends, and healthcare partners a happy Thanksgiving. We are grateful for all of these hard-working individuals and for their dedication to the kidney community, as well as their effort to help elevate the patient voice. This year, our patient advocates helped to secure passage of critical legislation at the federal level to help modernize the transplant system. We also worked hard to educate hundreds of policy makers about the importance of protecting dialysis patient access to private insurance coverage, as well as the need to provide access to Medicare secondary [...]
Ten years ago while working for an airline my life changed. I was diagnosed with kidney failure, and I learned I'd need dialysis to survive. Eight years of dialysis and a transplant later, I am writing now to advocate for kidney patients everywhere. For three years, I received dialysis in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Despite initial difficulties, my dialysis care was relatively seamless. When I returned to the United States, Medicare required that I submit a plethora of paperwork. I had to pay out-of-pocket for more than 18 months while waiting for Medicare. Dialysis should not be more affordable in [...]
On October 27, 2023, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued its final rule updating payment rates and policies under the end-stage renal disease (ESRD) prospective payment system. This rule fails to address two serious problems currently facing dialysis patients, which DPC raised in its comment letter: workforce shortages and lack of access to innovative treatments. DPC’s statement on the Rule is available here.
Dialysis Patient Citizens Responds to Disappointing Final CMS Rule That Will Harm Patient Healthcare
WASHINGTON, D.C. (October 30, 2023) - Dialysis Patient Citizens (DPC), the nation’s largest patient-led, non-profit advocacy group for dialysis patients, released the following statement in response to the final rule issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) which only increases Medicare reimbursements for dialysis treatment centers by 1.6% and fails to properly fund access to new therapies. “The End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) final rule released on Friday paints a chilling picture of an agency that is completely indifferent to the suffering of dialysis patients,” said DPC President Andrew Conkling. “The regulation acknowledges the heartbreaking stories from [...]
October 10, 2023 Dr. Elizabeth Fowler, Deputy Administrator Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services 7500 Security Boulevard Baltimore, MD 21244 Re: ESRD Treatment Choices Demonstration Issues Dear Dr. Fowler: Last year, published research looking at CMMI’s ESRD Treatment Choices Model (ETC) indicated that the program is not having the effect that was hypothesized. Now, CMMI’s own evaluation contractor has echoed those findings. We urge CMMI to pause and reassess whether ETC was the best available policy intervention to promote home dialysis and transplantation, and consider alternatives. ETC imposes a bonus-and-penalty payment adjustment in randomly selected intervention regions to incentivize kidney providers [...]
On Friday, September 22, 2023, the President signed into law H.R. 2544, the “Securing the U.S. Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network Act,” which allows for the award of multiple grants, contracts, or cooperative agreements to operate the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network. This bill would open up the number of groups that can help operate the transplant network and help to speed up the process for organ transplants. The bill was introduced by Representatives Bucshon (R-IN) and Kelly (D-IL) and Senators Wyden (D-OR), Grassley (R-IA), Cardin (D-MD), Young (R-IN), and Cassidy (R-LA). We want to thank these Members of Congress for [...]
A commentary about workforce shortage issues authored by DPC Vice President of Public Policy Jackson Williams amplifies findings from this summer’s DPC member survey to explain how ESRD patients have been impacted. The article also discusses how Medicare policies must adapt for an era with fewer working-age Americans and more retirees. The article is available on AJMC’s website: https://www.ajmc.com/view/contributor-medicare-s-leadership-needs-to-confront-our-shrinking-us-workforce, as well as on DPC’s website: https://www.dialysispatients.org/news/medicares-leadership-needs-to-confront-our-shrinking-us-workforce/.
Written by Jackson Williams, JD, DPC Vice President of Public Policy Medicare’s administered pricing system has never had to deal with labor scarcity before. Fifteen years ago, the Institute of Medicine issued its report, “Retooling for an Aging America: Building the Health Care Workforce,” that warned of looming health workforce shortages due to demographic changes. The era foreseen by that report has likely arrived. Labor shortages are beginning to impact patient care. Media reports indicate numerous instances of hospitals declaring “contingency standards of care” or ordering ambulance diversions due to staffing shortages. I’m an advocate for patients who have end-stage renal disease (ESRD), who [...]
CEOs of 3 kidney care organizations explain flaws in CMS' recent reimbursement proposal. In recent years, lawmakers have turned their attention to advancing health equity and creating opportunities for the improvement of historically underserved communities—and rightly so. The urgent need for such improvements is dramatically apparent for people who have end-stage renal disease (ESRD), or kidney failure. While people of all races and ethnicities develop chronic kidney disease (CKD) at similar rates, ESRD disproportionately impacts people of color. Black Americans make up 13% of the US population, but the disparities are evident when one considers that they account for 35% of Americans with [...]
DPC’s letter commenting on this year’s ESRD Payment Rule warns that Medicare is not addressing workforce shortages that are impacting patient care. The letter reports the following findings from our recent member survey: 62% of patients reported that the recent labor shortages had impacted their care: 43% said that staff turnover disrupted their care; 28% reported delays to their treatment; and 7% reported that they had to change shifts or facilities. In 2013, in response to a question about wait times at facilities, the same proportion of patients, 14%, reported increases in wait times as decreases in wait times. This year, [...]