House Ways and Means Leadership Urge Medicare Officials to Protect Dialysis Patients, Benefit Stability Under New Payment System

Kidney Community Applauds Bipartisan Effort To Protect Patient Access to Dialysis Care; House Letter Follows Bipartisan Senate Letter Expressing Same Concerns

Jun 03, 2013, 09:00 ET from Kidney Care Partners

WASHINGTON, June 3, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) and Ranking Member Jim McDermott (D-WA) came together to urge Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Marilyn Tavenner in a May 28 letter to work collaboratively with Congress to create a viable End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) bundle payment system that protects Medicare beneficiaries, especially in rural and inner city communities. 

The American Taxpayer Relief Act (ATRA), which passed earlier this year, includes provisions to modify Medicare payments to dialysis providers.  The letter from the two House leaders called on Agency officials to be cautious in implementing the new law.  

Chairman of Kidney Care Partners (KCP) Ron Kuerbitz applauded the letter, saying "The kidney care community is grateful that the Chairman and Ranking Member are following this issue closely.  Any changes in Medicare's dialysis payment system must be made with great care and with an overriding commitment to protect beneficiaries from disruptions in care or quality."

In the letter, Reps. Brady and McDermott emphasize the need to respond to concerns from stakeholders about the system's payment accuracy and prevent potential negative impact on beneficiary access to care, particularly in rural and inner-city communities.

"CMS has been a partner with Congress and the ESRD community in this joint effort to create and update a system that is responsible for some of the nation's sickest patients," Representatives Brady and McDermott state in the letter. "We look forward to continuing to work with you on our efforts to improve and preserve services for vulnerable beneficiaries."

Bi-partisan members of the Senate Finance Committee and the Chairman of the Budget Committee expressed similar concerns to Tavenner in a May 17 letter. The Senators urged CMS to "exercise caution" and warned against implementing new adjustments that "reduce payments to a level less than the cost of providing care."

SOURCE Kidney Care Partners