Dear Editor,

I was born with a rare genetic disorder that caused my kidneys and eyes to be underdeveloped. I have battled chronic kidney disease at all levels throughout my entire life. At age 25, I went into complete kidney failure (AKA End Stage Renal Disease) and began dialysis, which is a continuous and grueling treatment which does the work my kidneys can’t. The financial and emotional difficulties I’ve dealt with have been very challenging. Unfortunately, I must also worry about medical workforce shortages caused by a lack of federal funding.

Over the past few years, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has been increasing reimbursements to healthcare providers at a rate well below inflation numbers. CMS is effectively cutting the purchasing power of healthcare facilities, preventing them from maintaining patient care and hiring necessary staff.

This problem will only worsen with worrying demographic trends and rising healthcare costs. The healthcare workforce shortage will only intensify with fewer young workers supporting greater numbers of patients. We need the dollars to back up the demand for life-saving care, especially in dialysis clinics

CMS is failing to recognize the challenges patients and their staff face. Let’s hope that CMS equips providers with more resources next year. Doing so will save lives.

Kristi Flynn, Grovetown, Georgia