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Supreme Court Erases Kidney Patients’ Insurance Protections

2022-06-27T15:36:53+00:00June 22nd, 2022|Categories: Article, Dialysis Funding, Medicare Advantage, Protect Patient Care|

A U.S. Supreme Court ruling has nullified the law that protects dialysis patients from discrimination by insurers, threatening the system of financing kidney care that has stood for 40 years. The Court ruled that employer health plans may limit dialysis benefits. For four decades, employers understood the law as prohibiting limitations that only applied to dialysis. Some health benefit consultants encouraged a few small employers to disregard the law by paying no more than Medicare rates for dialysis. DaVita sued them, and one of the cases was appealed to the Supreme Court. The decision means that employers and insurers can impose [...]

Dialysis Patient Citizens Statement Following Supreme Court Decision in Marietta Memorial Hospital v. Davita

2022-06-21T19:04:08+00:00June 21st, 2022|Categories: Medicare Advantage, Press Release, Protect Patient Care|

WASHINGTON, D.C., (June 21, 2022) -- Following the United States Supreme Court decision in the case of Marietta Memorial Hospital v. Davita, Dialysis Patient Citizens (DPC) Board of Directors President Andrew Conkling issued the following statement: “DPC is deeply disappointed by today’s Supreme Court decision,” said DPC Board President Andrew Conkling. “Congress long ago reaffirmed privately-insured patients’ right to continue on their employer-sponsored plan for 30 months. This played an important role in preserving patient choice and incentivizing insurers to detect and treat Chronic Kidney Disease. ESRD patients are among the most vulnerable Americans and face some of the largest health [...]

What Patients Should Know About Value-Based Care

2022-05-24T19:27:54+00:00May 23rd, 2022|Categories: Article, Care Coordination, Improve Access to Care, Increase Quality of Care, Medicare Advantage|

DPC is a strong advocate of Value-Based Care. Value-Based Care means that your primary providers accept a single payment or budgeted amount to cover all your medical needs. For instance, if you are in a program like Comprehensive Kidney Care Contracting (or CKCC, formerly known as the ESCO program) your dialysis provider and nephrologist take responsibility for all your care—not just kidney care but other conditions, such as diabetes, and other sites of care, such as hospitals. There are currently three types of value-based care programs that kidney patients may be in: Comprehensive Kidney Care Contracting (CKCC) – you are [...]

Elevating Dialysis Patient Voices Bolsters State Advocacy Victories

2022-04-28T14:57:36+00:00April 27th, 2022|Categories: Access to Transplant, Article, Medicaid, Medicare Advantage, Medigap Coverage|

As many 2022 state legislative sessions are winding down or have recently wrapped-up, it is a good time to update DPC members on state legislation important to dialysis patients. The participation of our Patient Ambassadors in DPC’s advocacy efforts has been really beneficial in educating legislators to help them make more-informed decisions on legislation that impacts End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) patients. Improving access to affordable Medicare Supplemental Insurance (a.k.a., Medigap) plans is a top priority for DPC, and legislation was introduced in multiple states: Arizona, Kentucky, Louisiana, Nebraska, Maryland, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Wisconsin. Arizona, Kentucky, Nebraska, and [...]

DPC’s Letter to Daniel Tsai, Deputy Administrator and Director of CMCS

2022-04-22T15:32:15+00:00April 21st, 2022|Categories: Medicaid, Medicare Advantage, Medigap Coverage|

Daniel Tsai, Deputy Administrator, and Director Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services 7500 Security Boulevard Baltimore, MD  21244 Re:       Eligibility Redeterminations for Enrollees with Chronic Health Conditions Dear Mr. Tsai: When the Public Health Emergency ends and states resume making Medicaid eligibility redeterminations, up to 15 million enrollees are expected to lose their coverage. We are concerned that as many as one-quarter of those individuals may be receiving treatment for  chronic diseases, and that treatment might be interrupted by a lapse in insurance coverage. We are asking that CMS and the states make a special [...]

DPC Urges Medicare Officials to Take Action on Dialysis Workforce Shortages

2022-03-22T13:00:50+00:00March 7th, 2022|Categories: Article, Comment Letter, Improve Access to Care, Increase Quality of Care, Medicare Advantage|

DPC has written to top Medicare officials asking that they develop policy options to address the current labor shortage. The letter notes that the lengthy rulemaking process used to update payments to healthcare providers is ill-suited to react to urgent changes in the labor market. Fourteen years ago, the prestigious Institute of Medicine warned that as Americans aged, there would be fewer workers to take care of more elderly and disabled individuals. DPC’s letter urges officials to take another look at the report, which recommended “wage pass through” components of provider payments to address rising wages and delegating more responsibilities to [...]

Final ESCO Evaluation Documents Care Coordination Success Story

2022-03-22T12:48:08+00:00March 2nd, 2022|Categories: Article, Increase Quality of Care, Medicare Advantage, Protect Patient Care|

Medicare’s Comprehensive ESRD Care Model was designed to identify, test, and evaluate new ways to improve care for End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) patients. It established ESRD Seamless Care Organizations (ESCOs) that brought dialysis clinics and nephrologists together to coordinate patients’ kidney- and non-kidney care. This demonstration project ended last year and was replaced by a similar one this year. The Medicare Innovation Center has released the final evaluation report for the ESCOs. Overall, the ESCOs showed modest but statistically significant results over the five performance years, reducing Medicare expenditures. The number of hospitalizations decreased 3% and the percent of beneficiaries with [...]

2022’s State Advocacy Kick-Off

2022-02-22T21:13:22+00:00February 17th, 2022|Categories: Access to Transplant, Article, Medicare Advantage, Medigap Coverage, Promote Financial Security, State Advocacy, Transplant Donor Protection|

It’s been a busy start in 2022 for DPC’s state advocacy efforts. While many states are holding shorter legislative sessions due to the upcoming primary elections, bills impacting dialysis patients are being introduced and moving quickly through the legislative process. Legislation to expanded Medigap access has already been introduced in Arizona, Kentucky, Nebraska, Maryland, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Improving access to Medicare supplementary (Medigap) plans is a top policy priority for DPC, and we are pleased that multiple states are considering how they can help, particularly in states that have limited or no access to Medigap for the under [...]

Medicare Kicks Off New Kidney Care Demonstration Project

2022-02-22T21:10:20+00:00February 1st, 2022|Categories: Access to Transplant, Article, Increase Quality of Care, Medicare Advantage, News, Promote Financial Security, Treatment Options|

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation has announced 85 sites for its Kidney Care Choices (KCC) Demonstration Project, which started January 1, 2022. The program, initially announced by President Donald Trump in July 2019, is intended to “help health care providers reduce the cost and improve the quality of care for patients with late-stage chronic kidney disease and ESRD… and to delay the need for dialysis and encourage kidney transplantation.” KCC consists of two separate programs. In Kidney Care First (KCF), participating nephrology practices receive payments on a per-patient basis for managing the care of patients with late-stage chronic kidney [...]

DPC Responds to Medicare Officials’ Request for Information on Transplants and Home Modalities

2022-01-31T16:23:04+00:00January 31st, 2022|Categories: Access to Transplant, Advance Patient Choice, Article, Improve Access to Care, Medicare Advantage, Treatment Options|

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services are preparing new initiatives to promote transplant and home dialysis, and asked the public for recommendations. The request came as part of the President’s Executive Orders “to advance health equity and improve health outcomes for people in need of a life-saving transplant and dialysis,” according to Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra. DPC responded to several elements of the request. Equity in Organ Transplantation – DPC reiterated its position, shared by many experts, that Medicare should supplement payments on behalf of disadvantaged patients so providers can give them extra assistance in seeking transplants. [...]

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