The Medicare five-star rating system, maintained by the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services’ (CMS), has recently come under scrutiny by the Center for Regulatory Effectiveness (CRE). In a letter from last month, CRE officials report that multiple entities have contacted them about the system possibly violating federal regulations.
It is well known that the best treatment for end-stage renal disease patients is a kidney transplant. While there are many health factors the affect a patients’ ability to receive a transplant, a recent study found that only 28 percent of adult patients beginning dialysis were even referred for kidney transplant evaluations.
In passing the President's trade legislation last month, Congress enacted a longtime priority of kidney care advocates: permitting patients with acute kidney injury (AKI) to be treated in dialysis clinics. Under current law, AKI patients may only receive dialysis at hospitals, which is more costly to the Medicare program and less convenient for patients.
Earlier this spring, the U.S. Senate Finance Committee invited stakeholders to submit ideas to improve care for Medicare beneficiaries with chronic diseases. DPC submitted its comments on June 22 with a focus on how end-stage renal disease (ESRD) patients could benefit from increased care coordination among providers.
Kidney Care Partners, in coordination with the Congressional Kidney Caucus, recently hosted a briefing on Capitol Hill to stress the importance of ensuring quality kidney care now and in the future. The briefing featured opening remarks by Kidney Caucus co-chairs, Rep. Tom Marino (R-PA) and Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA), who both emphasized the need for increased awareness and research for kidney care issues.
Dialysis patients and clinicians held a press conference at the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield on May 26 to oppose cuts to Medicaid ESRD payments proposed by Governor Bruce Rauner.
Two dialysis patients from central Illinois, Alan Cook and Kathleen Haines, represented Dialysis Patient Citizens at the event, which received coverage on Chicago and Springfield TV news broadcasts.
While only a few weeks after its introduction, the Chronic Kidney Disease Improvement in Research and Treatment Act (H.R. 1130/S. 598) is gaining new cosponsors in Congress. That said we still have a lot of work to do to ensure this legislation is signed into law. If you want to see better care for dialysis patients, please take a few minutes to contact your Members of Congress and urge them to support this important legislation by clicking here.
Antibiotics are supposed to treat disease and assist in kidney transplantation, but various bacteria have developed biological resistance to antibiotics, rendering the antibiotics useless. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that antibiotic-resistant bacteria cause two million illnesses and 23,000 deaths each year. This is why the Administration is currently taking steps to combat antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is continuing a four-month crackdown on Medicare fraud in New Jersey. CMS has accused ambulance companies of fraudulently billing Medicare for transporting patients to non-emergency dialysis, chemotherapy and wound care. CMS found that these ambulance trips in New Jersey were twice the national average (from 2002 to 2011), and that the number of trips per patient was up approximately 60%. At least 11 ambulance companies report closing in recent months.
If you recently received an unexpected medical bill, you are not alone. The Consumer Reports National Research Center recently conducted a survey which found that nearly one-third of Americans with private health insurance received a surprise medical bill in the last two years. In most cases, patients went to a hospital within their insurance plan’s network, but were treated by a physician who had not contracted with the insurer.