November 9, 2015
DPC and kidney advocates won a ruling from the Oregon insurance commissioner against discriminatory language in an insurance policy limiting coverage for ESRD patients. Bob Lee, a DPC patient ambassador and ESRD patient, and Hrant Jamgochian, executive director of DPC, attended a public hearing on the topic in Salem and presented testimony on behalf of DPC’s membership. 
The insurance commissioner ruled:
October 9, 2015

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced the participants for the Comprehensive ESRD Care (CEC) Model, a new accountable care organization (ACO) model designed specifically for ESRD patients. ACOs are groups of physicians and other health care providers who collectively take on responsibility for the quality and cost of care for a population of patients.

October 9, 2015

DPC Policy Director Jackson Williams and Pittsburgh kidney patient Janice Nathan were among witnesses at a hearing held by Pennsylvania’s insurance commissioner on “surprise medical bills.” These are bills received from physicians who are outside of an insurer’s provider network even though they work inside facilities that are in-network.

October 9, 2015

Kidney advocates are reacting to an alarming trend in the commercial insurance industry: insurers are increasingly writing language into policy documents that attempt to exclude or limit coverage of renal care. DPC is alerting regulators at both the state and federal levels to the harm these limitations could have on patients, and asking them to enforce the numerous laws that prohibit health plans from discriminating against people with ESRD.

October 9, 2015

DPC has been hard at work on the state level fighting to ensure continued access to quality patient care, most recently in Alabama and North Carolina. In Alabama, patients fought to maintain Medicaid funding for outpatient dialysis, which the state was considering moving to local hospitals instead, in a potential effort to close the state budget shortfall. Patient advocates quickly took action and contacted their state legislators to encourage alternative revenue generating measures to close the budget gap as opposed to eliminating Medicaid funding.

September 16, 2015

While Congress was in recess during the month of August, DPC Patient Ambassadors used this opportunity to engage their legislators at home.  Patient Ambassadors attended meetings with congressional staff, hosted facility tours and wrote letters to the editor in support of The Chronic Kidney Disease Improvement in Research and Treatment Act (H.R. 1130, S. 598). Facility tours and meetings took place all across the country.

September 16, 2015
DPC recently sent a comment letter responding to the proposed payment rule for CMS’s Medicare End Stage Renal Disease program. Using responses from our 2015 Patient Survey, our suggestions focus on how CMS can improve on the key issues of payment and quality for patients.
September 16, 2015
Regence and Moda, two private insurance plans in Oregon, recently made changes to their 2016 plans that would negatively affect ESRD patients. Specifically, after three months of coverage, any out-of-pocket payments patients make for dialysis treatment will no longer count towards their out-of-pocket maximums. This appears to be an effort to pressure dialysis patients to drop their private coverage and enroll in Medicare. DPC’s letter to the Oregon Insurance Commissioner calls attention to this discriminatory move.  
September 16, 2015

During the August recess, Congressman Joe Pitts took the opportunity to engage with dialysis patients in his home district. He recently visited the Reading Dialysis Center in Reading, PA where he received a tour of the facility and met with dialysis nurses and staff. As Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee, he is an influential decision maker when it comes to kidney care issues.

August 14, 2015

When the FDA approves a generic drug, it’s based on the chemicals contained in the original brand medication. Congress recently enacted a similar process for the approval of “biosimilars” based on the original biologic medication.  The main difference is that the “biosimilar” is approved based on its development process. Biosimilars have the potential to be a cheaper alternative for expensive biologic medications such as Epogen, a drug used for anemia management.

Dialysis Patient Citizens
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