Dialysis Patient Citizens News

DPC Urges Medicare Officials to Take Action on Dialysis Workforce Shortages

March 7th, 2022|

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” [...]

Final ESCO Evaluation Documents Care Coordination Success Story

March 2nd, 2022|

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 [...]

HB 430 – Letter of Support

February 28th, 2022|

February 28, 2022 The Honorable Bart Rowland, Chair The Honorable Derek Lewis, Vice Chair House Banking & Insurance Committee Kentucky General Assembly 700 Capitol Avenue Frankfort, KY 40601 RE: HB 430 - SUPPORT Dear Chair Rowland, Vice Chair Lewis and Members of the Committee: My name is James O. “Hap” Strunk. I am a resident of Whitley City, serve as Chairman of the Kentucky Board of Embalmers & Funeral Directors, and also one of the more than 9,000 (i) Kentuckians with End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD). From [...]

Don’t Forget to Apply for DPC’s 2022 Advocacy Day!

February 22nd, 2022|

DPC is pleased to invite you to apply for our 2022 Advocacy Day. Please apply by February 25th. Each year, Dialysis Patient Citizens is excited to host a Congressional Advocacy Day for kidney patients and transplant recipients to meet with their federal legislators and talk about issues that affect their quality of care. Historically, our members have come to Washington, D.C., to meet with their Congressional Members in person. However, we are conducting a virtual "fly-in" in 2022 due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic in order to ensure [...]

2022’s State Advocacy Kick-Off

February 17th, 2022|

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 [...]

Patients with Kidney Disease Need Medigap Expansion Bill

February 9th, 2022|

Kidney disease is a life-changing diagnosis. Since I went into renal failure, I’ve believed that patients should only have to worry about the care they need to get well, not the high costs that come with it. Unfortunately, that isn’t the reality I’ve encountered, given my insurance and Medicare don’t cover the full costs of the life-saving treatments and medications I need to fight my kidney disease. Thankfully, Congress is considering a bill that would help kidney disease patients like me. The Jack Reynolds Memorial Medigap Expansion [...]

New Bill Will Give Dialysis Patients the Security They Deserve

February 4th, 2022|

For six and a half years, I lived through the daily struggles of dialysis and the challenges of getting quality care before I finally received a kidney transplant in 2009. The coverage I received while on dialysis simply wasn’t enough to pay for all of the medications I needed because I was under the age of 65 and did not have access to Medigap insurance. A new bill, the Jack Reynolds Memorial Medigap Expansion Act, would help prevent this from happening to other patients by expanding Medigap [...]

Medicare Kicks Off New Kidney Care Demonstration Project

February 1st, 2022|

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 [...]

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

January 31st, 2022|

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 [...]

DPC Files Amicus Brief in Supreme Court Case

January 27th, 2022|

DPC filed a “friend of the court” brief in the U.S. Supreme Court case of Marietta Memorial Hospital v. DaVita. The case involves a dialysis patient whose employer-sponsored health insurance plan tied reimbursements for dialysis to Medicare prices. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals held that this constituted illegal discrimination. The employer appealed the decision, which is now scheduled for oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court on March 1. DPC’s brief argues that such discrimination circumvents dialysis patients’ right to keep their employer coverage for up [...]

Reminder – Free COVID-19 Tests Available

January 17th, 2022|

In case you weren’t already aware, the federal government is issuing four free at-home Covid-19 tests to every household in the U.S. These are rapid antigen Covid-19 home tests that you self-administer using a nasal swab and get results in less than 30 minutes. Orders will be shipped directly to your home via US Postal Service (USPS), usually within seven to twelve days, beginning the week of January 24th. To order online, visit: https://www.covidtests.gov/. Click on “Order Free At-home Tests” button and it will redirect you to the [...]

New Bill Give Dialysis Patients Certainty and Security

January 10th, 2022|

The last thing that folks living with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) should have to worry about is whether they can afford to pay for their treatments. As someone who has been on dialysis since 2009, I’ve met a number of patients who live with a financial burden and uncertainty because they do not have access to Medigap insurance. Thankfully, Congress is working to expand Medigap coverage through a new bill called the Jack Reynolds Memorial Medigap Expansion Act. This bill would allow patients under the age of [...]

Happy Holidays from DPC

December 17th, 2021|

We want to wish you and your family a Happy Holiday, as well as a safe and healthy New Year. DPC offices will be closed for the holidays starting December 24 through January 1. We also want to take this opportunity to share our list of Top Accomplishments for 2021, which would not have been possible without your support. Thank you again for helping us elevate the dialysis patient voice with policy makers. We are extremely grateful for all of your advocacy efforts, and we look forward to our [...]

Louisiana Kidney Patients Counting on New Care Coordination Bill

December 15th, 2021|

My kidney disease diagnosis four years ago meant a lot of things, including the beginning of many doctor appointments, dialysis treatments, and medications. While these changes keep me alive and well, there are certain areas of care for dialysis patients that are lacking. For starters, I have found myself navigating between doctors to communicate my needs and make sure all of my prescriptions are working together, especially when I first started dialysis. Patients need a coordinated care system to make it easier for their doctors to communicate their prescribed [...]

Support Sen. Young’s Kidney Care Act

November 28th, 2021|

A kidney disease diagnosis is life-changing. It means undergoing hours-long dialysis treatments several times every week, spending more time at doctors' appointments, and completely overhauling how patients live their lives. The stress of that change is only complicated by the fact that for a lot of dialysis patients, the responsibility for tracking treatments, medications and communicating with their nephrologist and primary care doctor and any number of other care providers so that treatments do not overlap or interfere with each other. Sen. Todd Young has introduced a [...]

Letter to the Editor: Medigap expansion bill can address coverage concerns

November 25th, 2021|

Being a nurse practitioner gives me a glimpse into patients’ daily struggles that aren’t always obvious from the outside looking in, like the problems patients face when their coverage suddenly changes, and they can’t afford the medications they need. This is something I’ve particularly noticed for dialysis patients. Since a lot of them rely on Medicare for coverage, they have large out-of-pocket expenses when it doesn’t cover something they need, like actual dialysis treatments (which patients usually need three to four times a week) and medications, since [...]

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 24th, 2021|

On behalf of Dialysis Patient Citizens Board, staff and volunteers, we want to take this opportunity to give thanks for all of your support in helping to empower patients and elevate their voice with policy makers. Wishing you and your loved ones a Happy Thanksgiving.

Readers React: Bill would help dialysis patients under age 65

November 10th, 2021|

Dialysis has involved a lot of waiting since I started it years ago. Treatments take hours at a time, and I’m left waiting for the call to finally tell me that a donor kidney is ready. It simply cannot come soon enough. However, I at least have coverage for my treatments through my wife’s job, in addition to Medicare, which I know is not the case for others. For them, treatments that aren’t covered by Medicare have to be paid out of pocket, and the added costs [...]

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Law would make life easier for dialysis patients

November 7th, 2021|

When I first went into the hospital because of a heat stroke a few years ago, I never would’ve imagined it would lead to me starting dialysis. After 19 days in the hospital, I was back just one day after being discharged. Before long, doctors were forced to put me into a medically induced coma while I experienced heart and respiratory failure, which required a tracheostomy to help me breathe. When I came out of the coma, I was already on dialysis. This diagnosis came with expensive [...]

I’ve had a kidney transplant and know these bills will help others

October 30th, 2021|

Before I was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease while I was pregnant with my son, I knew nothing about kidney disease. I never would have imagined all the different things that go into treating it, and what it would eventually be like to go on dialysis. Once I did start dialysis in 2016, I found myself in a whole different world. I remember just being overwhelmed learning about it all, and asking myself how I would possibly find a donor as I prepared each day for overnight [...]

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