Kidney Patient Organizations, Kidney Community Come Out in Support of Medicare Secondary Payer (MSP) Extension

Patient organizations support extending MSP and using savings for

improving Medicare program; National Kidney Foundation, Renal Support

Network, American Kidney Fund and DaVita Patient Citizens submit letters to

Capitol Hill in favor of ESRD provisions

Dec 12, 2007, 00:00 ET from Kidney Care Partners

    WASHINGTON, Dec. 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ ---Kidney Care Partners --
 a coalition of patient advocates, dialysis professionals, care providers
 and manufacturers working together to improve quality of care for
 individuals with chronic kidney disease -- and many of its individual
 member organizations continue to voice their support in the debate over the
 Medicare Secondary Payer (MSP) provisions to extend the period for end
 stage renal disease (ESRD) from 30 to 42 months.
     "The 12 month extension will generate savings to the Medicare program
 which can then be used to educate people who have kidney disease and ensure
 their continued access to high quality care," said Dr. Edward Jones,
 Chairman of Kidney Care Partners and a practicing nephrologist. "Four
 leading kidney patient advocacy organizations endorse the MSP extension as
 being in the best interest of patients, the Medicare program, taxpayers and
 the renal community. The MSP extension assures access and quality of life
 sustaining care required by kidney patients."
     Kidney failure is the only disease condition where private insurers can
 deny coverage. Although patients can chose to enroll in Medicare any time
 after the third month of dialysis, they are required to switch to Medicare
 after 30 months, even if they would prefer to remain in their private
 health insurance plan. This may mean that some patients and their families
 are confronted with higher out-of-pocket costs and less comprehensive
 health coverage.
     While improving quality of care and access for kidney failure patients,
 the MSP extension would have a negligible cost impact for private
 employers. The proposal would affect fewer than 10,000 patients nationwide.
     In a letter to the Senate Finance Committee, KCP expressed a number of
 reasons to grant the extension, including: 1) the positive impact on
 patient care when private payers are incentivized to keep beneficiaries
 healthy; 2) that having an added year of responsibility for CKD patients
 would encourage private payers to develop protocols that address patient
 wellness, prevent hospitalizations and make dialysis safer and more
 efficient; 3) and that dialysis patients should be afforded the same rights
 as other patients in choosing how their care is financed.
     The Renal Support Network, a patient organization of thousands of
 people with kidney disease, issued a letter to Senator Debbie Stabenow and
 the entire Senate Finance committee:
     RSN supports the MSP Extension, citing its potential positive benefits
 to patients. These include extending patient choice and accessing the best
 quality of care possible, selecting the most comprehensive coverage and
 having the lowest out-of-pocket costs. It can also allow patients to
 maintain dependent family coverage and offer some patients access to
 disease management services that may improve outcomes and reduce overall
     In a letter sent to the Senate Finance Committee, the National Kidney
 Foundation (NKF) writes:
     H.R. 3162, the Children's Health and Medicare Protection Act (CHAMP),
 as passed by the House, contained enhanced benefits for kidney patients.
 NKF understands the need for an offset in the current Pay-Go environment.
 Therefore, we reiterate NKF's longstanding decision to support extension of
 Medicare Secondary Payer, to 42 months, as proposed by the House, provided
 that the savings are dedicated to improvements to the Medicare ESRD
     The American Kidney Fund writes in a letter to the Senate Finance
     We understand the difficult budgetary challenges you and your
 colleagues face and recognize that new spending must be offset by cuts in
 other areas. We support an additional 12 month extension of Medicare
 secondary payer (MSP) as a means to generate savings to help offset the
 costs of other improvements for patients in the ESRD program.
     An excerpt of a letter from DaVita Patient Citizens, the largest
 dialysis patient organization with over 20,000 members - pre-dialysis and
 dialysis patients as well as their family members - reads:
     Besides restricting patients' right to choose to keep their private
 insurance coverage longer, not extending the MSP period will prevent many
 of the needed reforms within the ESRD program. One of the most important
 steps is to provide those individuals at risk of kidney failure with
 education about the factors associated with kidney disease in the hopes of
 preventing them from reaching kidney failure. Consistently our members
 state that they were not aware of the risk factors that cause much of
 kidney disease--diabetes and hypertension. Prior knowledge could have
 reduced their risk of kidney failure and possibly dialysis, and the savings
 that MSP extension would achieve will help fund much-needed education and
 prevention programs.
     "Our community voices strong support for reform in the ESRD program,
 which includes reforming the current MSP provision," said Jones. "Early
 identification, prevention and disease management are good for Medicare,
 taxpayers and patients who depend on quality kidney care."
     Kidney Care Partners and its members are dedicated to working together
 to improve the quality of care for individuals with Chronic Kidney Disease
 (CKD). For more information, please go to

SOURCE Kidney Care Partners