It was a cold and rainy Tuesday, when dialysis patients, family members and healthcare providers descended on Capitol Hill to meet with legislators about expanding coordinated care efforts. This was a record setting year for the advocacy day, beginning with the application process which saw over 150 applicants and ending with the number of meetings held, 142. This was the largest patient advocacy day DPC has hosted since September 2013 in response to the drastic proposed funding cuts for dialysis.
WASHINGTON, Feb. 9, 2018 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Advocates for dialysis patients are pleased that the federal spending bill which funds the government through March 23rd includes several provisions that will help people with kidney failure, or end-stage renal disease (ESRD), gain access to life-extending dialysis treatments.
It’s a New Year but our work to expand integrated care is far from complete! The Dialysis PATIENTS Act has soared to 142 co-sponsors which is more than double the number of co-sponsors for the previous version of this legislation in 2016. This overwhelming support, coupled with recent data on the success of the ESRD Seamless Care Organizations signals the readiness to expand integrated care programs for dialysis patients nationwide. If you haven’t sent messages to your Members of Congress, there is still time!
Before the holidays, we opened our application for our 2018 advocacy day. It is apparent that advocacy is part of many ESRD patients’ New Year’s resolutions because we received almost 150 applications to attend our advocacy day! This is a record number of interested members willing to have their voice heard by legislators on behalf of ESRD patients across the nation. If you missed the deadline, but advocacy is still a part of your New Year’s resolutions there are still ways to get involved!
Earlier this year, ESRD patients in Pennsylvania began to receive notices that Independence Blue Cross (IBC) would no longer accept their premium payments if they received charitable assistance from the American Kidney Fund (AKF). In May, Dialysis Patient Citizens (DPC) filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of dialysis patients to challenge IBC’s rejection of charitable premium support. DPC asked the court to issue an emergency injunction that would force IBC to accept premium payments made with assistance from AKF.
Two pieces of legislation have been passed by unanimous consent by the Ways and Means Committee with provisions that improve dialysis care. The Medicare Part B Improvement Act of 2017 (H.R. 3178) and H.R. 3168 –contain 3 provisions which will improve dialysis care. H.R. 3178 expands access to home dialysis by allowing the use of telemedicine for end stage renal disease (ESRD) related visits as well as allows new dialysis facilities to received outside accreditation in order to provide treatment.
On June 29, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued its proposed Annual Payment Rule for the End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) Program to govern dialysis services furnished beginning January 1, 2018. The proposed rule also makes minor changes to the ESRD Quality Incentive Program (QIP). This year’s rule includes an increase to the base rate, replacing QIP measures as well as including social risk factors in the QIP scores.
Each year, Dialysis Patient Citizens is proud to bring dialysis patients to Washington, D.C. in order to meet with their legislators about the issues affecting patients nationwide. This year, we are pleased to have hosted 25 dialysis patients and their family members from across the country. Patients arrived to Washington, D.C. and were greeted by an informal networking dinner to meet new advocates and re-connect with veteran advocates.
Many people are under the impression there is no bipartisan cooperation right now in Congress – and especially on health care issues. However, that is not necessarily the case. Towards the end of May, and after encouragement from Dialysis Patient Citizens (DPC) and other kidney groups, over 150 bipartisan Members of Congress signed onto a letter to Secretary Price urging him to protect non-profit charities’ ability to provide charitable assistance to kidney and other chronic disease patient
Advocates for dialysis patients announced their strong support of bipartisan legislation introduced in Congress last week that would augment research on kidney disease, improve coordination among kidney care providers and expand coverage options for patients with kidney failure, also called end-stage renal disease (ESRD).