Exciting News! Because of the Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) Community's efforts, just before Congress adjourned August 2nd more than 200 members of the House of Representatives signed a strongly worded letter to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), expressing concern over cuts to the End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) program, proposed July 1st. The current proposal will cut funding for dialysis by 12 percent, or $30 dollars on each $246 payment that Medicare would pay per treatment in 2014. Moreover, reimbursement for dialysis services has been reduced numerous times in recent years to a point where profit margins are a mere 3-4%. The fact is that some providers may not be able to withstand additional cuts and they will be forced to shut down or reduce necessary staffing levels, as well as eliminate patient-focused services that have been proven to improve patient health and quality of life.
Recommended Reading: Proposed Cuts to Medicare (ESRD) Program Will Limit Dialysis Patients' Care
A bipartisan group of Representatives including Diane Black (R-TN), John Lewis (D-GA), John Shimkus (R-IL) and Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM) lead their constituents in expressing the grave concerns of the countless kidney organizations. Individuals such as yourself, contacted them and other members of Congress directly to voice their disapproval of proposed cuts and the detrimental impact they would have on quality care.
Recommended Reading: Cuts by Congress Could Threaten Quality Dialysis Care for CKD
You stood up and Congress listened! The four co-sponsors of the letter cited "enormous improvements in quality of care" and efficiency improvements over the past decade will be "jeopardized" if the proposed cuts are implemented. The recent House letter follows similar strongly worded letters from individual members of both the Senate and House, and the Congressional Black, Hispanic, and Asian Pacific-American Caucuses, as well as virtually every kidney patient, physician, nurse, and provider organization in the country including KidneyBuzz.com.
Recommended Reading: The Role That The Dialysis Patient Can Play In Ensuring High Quality Care
The ESRD benefit cuts that are currently being considered will impact 85 percent of all individuals who rely on dialysis including Peritoneal Dialysis, In-Center Hemodialysis and Home Hemodialysis. This is serious, according to kidney community leaders, under the proposed cuts Medicare would fail to cover the costs for your individual dialysis treatments. It is certain that cuts this deep will have consequences, and those consequences will end up hurting dialysis patients. KidneyBuzz.com applauds your success thus far, but this battle is not even close to being won yet. Continue to call and write and urge your policy makers in Washington D.C. to live up to the standards that the Kidney Community is expecting from them by compelling CMS to reverse course before the dangerous proposed cuts are finalized following the 60-day comment period ending on September 1st. Click here to contact your Senator and Representative.
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Reference: "Nearly Half of U.S. House of Representatives Warns of "Devastating Impact" of Proposed 12 Percent Cut on Medicare Beneficiaries with Kidney Failure." PR NewsWire.