Dialysis Patient Citizens News

Protect Dialysis Patients’ Coverage

December 18th, 2022|

I have been on dialysis treatments for almost 13 years due to end-stage renal disease (ESRD). Kidney disease can be a lot to handle with frequent dialysis treatments, doctor's appointments, and medications. On top of the medical responsibilities, I must ensure I have the proper insurance coverage. Initially after my diagnosis, I was fortunate to be covered by my wife’s employer-sponsored insurance. However, after 30 months, I had to switch to Medicare as my primary coverage, with my wife’s plan as my secondary coverage. This was often [...]

Happy Thanksgiving from DPC Board, Staff, and Volunteers!

November 20th, 2022|

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 defeat Proposition 29 in California; they continued to build momentum for Medigap expansion; and they are  fighting hard to protect patient choice and access to private health insurance coverage. Here are just a few of [...]

Dialysis patients across America are counting on Congress

November 15th, 2022|

In October 2016, kidney disease forced me to start dialysis and retire from my career as a firefighter paramedic. This disease runs in my family, with my brother and mother also suffering. I currently require dialysis treatment three times a week and have to travel 72 miles round trip to the center for five-hour-long treatments. Dialysis costs me both time and money. Transporting myself to the center is costly, but it is my only out-of-pocket expense. My treatments are completely covered through both my private insurance and [...]

Texas dialysis patients under 65 need help getting coverage

November 3rd, 2022|

I've had a progressive kidney disease for several years and my doctor eventually referred me to a nephrologist to help manage my kidney health. Fifteen months ago I needed to start dialysis and I am fortunate because the treatments have gone very well. I’ve largely been able to get the coverage I need through Medicare and my supplemental Medigap coverage which pays for what Medicare won’t, outside of three medications that Medicare Part B and Part D doesn’t cover.Sadly, for many patients under 65 this isn’t the [...]

CA Dialysis Patients Need Lawmakers’ Help

October 31st, 2022|

Finding out I needed to start dialysis two years ago was tough to accept. I’d always been an athlete, so I felt like this wasn’t something I’d have to face. But after low kidney counts for more than 5 years, I had to start treatments. Beyond difficult treatments, the financial burden they come with is enormous. I’m fortunate, however, to have a job at Life Alert Emergency Response that lets me tailor my schedule so I can stay employed and still receive health coverage. However, even between [...]

Dialysis patients need better insurance coverage

October 27th, 2022|

Editor: I have seen firsthand the hardships kidney patients face through both my daughter’s and father’s diagnoses. My daughter’s kidneys failed at age 23, and for over two decades, I was her caregiver while she was in and out of the hospitals and on dialysis. This wasn’t an easy task, but thankfully she received a kidney transplant almost two years ago. Kidney disease is not only hard on the body and makes it hard to live a normal life while tending to doctor’s appointments, dialysis treatments, and [...]

A Huge Thank You to Our Tireless Patient Advocates

October 26th, 2022|

DPC would like to take a moment to thank our tireless group of Members and Patient Ambassadors for continuing to share their personal stories on the importance of supporting H.R. 8594/S. 4750 – The Restore Protections for Dialysis Patients Act. From drafting Letters to the Editor to recording video interviews, their words really highlight the need to allow kidney patients to decide which health insurance will best serve them and preserve patient choice. Allowing ESRD patients to stay on their private insurance plan for up to 30 months [...]

Time is running out: Dialysis patients need Congress to act

October 26th, 2022|

“Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness” are the inalienable rights which our government was created to secure. Thomas Jefferson famously penned these words when authoring the Declaration of Independence, but nearly 250 years later, those rights are at risk for dialysis patients thanks to a recent Supreme Court ruling. This June, in Marietta Memorial Hospital Employee Health Benefit Plan v. DaVita Inc., the high court sided with a private insurer that was being sued for limiting its coverage of dialysis to 30 treatments. The court ruled the plan [...]

Open Enrollment Period – a good time to review your health insurance coverage

October 16th, 2022|

Medicare Open Enrollment began October 15 — and will remain open through December 7, 2022. Medicare’s Open Enrollment period gives people with Medicare the opportunity to make changes to their health plan or prescription drug plan, pick a Medicare Advantage plan, or return to Original Medicare (also referred to as Medicare Part A and Part B). Medicare plans can change their offerings and costs every year, and individuals’ health needs can change from year-to-year, too. Now is the time for people with Medicare to review their coverage options [...]

Send lifeline to kidney dialysis patients

October 11th, 2022|

At 21, I was diagnosed with end-stage renal disease, which meant my kidneys were failing. Until my diagnosis, I was completely healthy, in the middle of nursing school and working full time. The onset of this disease was the beginning of a series of hospitalizations, surgeries and dialysis treatments. I began dialysis while I waited for my kidney transplant. I needed these treatments not only to live, but so I could finish nursing school and eventually return to full-time work. One of the biggest challenges beyond my [...]

Equal Justice Remains Elusive for Kidney Patients. Congress Can Help.

October 4th, 2022|

Four simple words sit above the entrance to the Supreme Court: “Equal Justice Under Law.” That short phrase, though, carries immense weight. It is a promise to the American people that we will receive fair treatment in our justice system, and serves as a principle to guide people in power. For dialysis patients – who already face massive health disparities – it’s a promise that might go unfulfilled following a Supreme Court decision earlier this year that could open the door for health insurance companies to discriminate against them. [...]

DPC Engaging State Policy Makers During Summer Months

September 20th, 2022|

While most state legislatures are adjourned during the summer months, DPC’s state advocacy program, under the leadership of Eastern Advocacy Director Elizabeth Lively, is focused on keeping the dialog moving with state legislative policy makers. The critically important issue of affordable access to Medigap coverage for under age 65 individuals with End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) remains under discussion in a number of states during the summer months. Kentucky DPC is meeting with our legislative champions, the health plans and our coalition partners to prepare for the 2023 [...]

Kidney patients need Congress’ help

September 9th, 2022|

I know we can count on Congressman Carlos Giménez to support this important legislation. I’ve dealt with health issues my entire life. I was born with Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD), which has caused me to have multiple organ transplant surgeries and receive life-saving dialysis treatments. And, in addition to a successful liver transplant, I’ve had two kidney transplants that my body rejected, and I am now on a waitlist to receive a third kidney. In between these surgeries, I receive dialysis treatment, allowing my body to function properly and live my [...]

DPC Continues Outreach to Protect Patients’ Rights

September 6th, 2022|

DPC Members and Patient Ambassadors continue advocacy on H.R. 8594/S. 4750 - The Restore Protections for Dialysis Patients Act, which would codify into law the right for dialysis patients to stay on their private insurance for up to 30 months, if they should so choose. This bill not only preserves patient choice but also encourages insurers to detect and treat kidney disease early and, most importantly, protects kidney disease patients from discrimination. This legislation reinstates the importance of allowing kidney patients to decide which health insurance will best [...]

Congress needs to protect kidney patients following Supreme Court decision

August 28th, 2022|

I recently joined other dialysis patients in meetings with Congress to discuss the challenges we face. One of the key topics we covered was how hard it is for patients to get access to the benefits and coverage we need just to survive. Those challenges are about to get much bigger for many patients after a recent Supreme Court decision. The decision could limit benefits and make it easier for private insurers to move patients off their employer-sponsored coverage and onto Medicare before the traditional 30-month point [...]

DPC Responds to Medicare’s Move Toward Medically Necessary Dental Care

August 26th, 2022|

DPC submitted a comment letter applauding the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for its announcement that it will cover dental work for kidney transplant candidates when oral health issues are a barrier to transplant surgery. “This proposal is an important recognition and clarification of CMS’s existing authority, which will help to ensure that Medicare beneficiaries can access and afford more of the dental care they need to advance their health,” DPC said. CMS also asked whether there are “types of surgery, or clinical scenarios involving acute [...]

DPC’s Letter to Hon. Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, Administrator for CMS, on Move Toward Medically Necessary Dental Care

August 25th, 2022|

August 25, 2022 Hon. Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, Administrator Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services 7500 Security Boulevard Baltimore, MD  21244 Re: CMS-1770-P (Section II.L.) Dear Administrator Brooks-LaSure: Dialysis Patient Citizens (DPC) writes to offer its comments on the above referenced proposed rule. DPC's membership, currently over 30,000, is restricted to kidney disease patients and their family members. DPC is a patient-led organization.  Our by-laws require that the President, Vice President and at least 51% of the Board be current dialysis patients.  The non-dialysis patients serving on our Board [...]

Dialysis patients need expanded coverage for leftover costs

August 21st, 2022|

In 2017, I had a below-knee leg amputation, during which it was discovered my kidneys had deteriorated. These health crises forced me to undergo physical rehabilitation and begin dialysis treatments for my kidneys. While receiving dialysis, I started writing my book on navigating midlife, which was a form of mental therapy. My book discusses my triumphs and trials as an amputee on dialysis. One of the struggles that I faced, and other kidney patients do as well, is covering the 20% of dialysis that Medicare doesn’t cover. [...]

Action Alert – Protect ESRD Patient Access to Private Coverage

August 19th, 2022|

Ask your representative to co-sponsor H.R. 8594/S. 4750, legislation that would protect ESRD patients by allowing them to maintain private, employer health coverage up to 30 months after diagnosis with kidney failure. A recent Supreme Court ruling now threatens their access to private coverage by permitting health plans to carve off dialysis benefits from their networks and impose restrictive terms on kidney patients.  The continuation of high-quality care and benefits during this 30-month coordination period helps kidney patient’s successfully transition into life on dialysis and/or kidney transplantation. Leave your legacy through advocacy [...]

DPC’s Letter to Hon. Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, Administrator for CMS

August 18th, 2022|

August 18, 2022 Hon. Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, Administrator Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services 7500 Security Boulevard Baltimore, MD  21244 Re:       End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) Prospective Payment System (PPS) Calendar Year (CY) 2023 Proposed Rule (CMS-1768-P) Dear Administrator Brooks-LaSure: Dialysis Patient Citizens (DPC) writes to offer its comments on the above referenced proposed rule. DPC's membership, currently over 30,000, is restricted to kidney disease patients and their family members. DPC is a patient-led organization.  Our by-laws require that the President, Vice President and at least 51% of [...]

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