WASHINGTON, Nov. 25, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Dialysis Patient Citizens (DPC) appreciates the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' (CMS) acknowledgment of patient concerns in delaying implementation of its proposed cut to the Medicare End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) Program. While dialysis patients received a temporary reprieve, the final rule does not change CMS' original proposal to reduce dialysis funding by 12 percent - it merely delays it two years. As a result, we remain concerned about the long-term impact of these cuts to both patient access and quality of care. We are disappointed that CMS chose not to revisit its calculation and ignored our recommendation that payment reflect the overall cost of care.
We also fear that the scheduled cuts threaten the viability of the ESRD Seamless Care Organization (ESCO) program, which could significantly improve patient outcomes while reducing costs to our health care system. The ESCO project design requires providers to make significant upfront investments in care coordination, but fewer resources will be at their disposal in Years 3, 4 and 5 of the demonstration -- two of which are years that the CMS Innovation Center expects ESCOs to absorb reductions to their share of any savings that they generate for Medicare.
We very much appreciate the decision of CMS to increase the home hemodialysis training rate by 50 percent, removing one important barrier to patient access. At the same time, we worry that providers may reduce or eliminate many of their home dialysis programs as they look for ways to offset the 12 percent cut in reimbursement that they are facing, potentially undermining any increase to patient access that this policy change was intended to advance.
We hope that policymakers will closely examine patient access, experience and outcomes during this upcoming period of uncertainty.
About Dialysis Patient Citizens
With more than 26,000 dialysis and pre-dialysis patients making up our membership, DPC is working to improve the quality of life for all dialysis patients through education and advocacy. We are a nationwide, nonprofit, patient-led dialysis organization with membership open only to dialysis and pre-dialysis patients and their families. Our policies and our mission are guided solely by our membership.
DPC is a 501(c)(4) organization governed by dialysis patients.
Hrant Jamgochian, J.D., LL.M.
Dialysis Patient Citizens
122 C Street NW, Suite 510
Washington, DC 20001
Toll free: 866-877-4242
SOURCE Dialysis Patient Citizens