On November 22, 2013, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released its final rule that will result in a 12 percent cut in Medicare dialysis payments for people who have end-stage renal disease (ESRD).
The American Kidney Fund advocated against these cuts as we believe they will have negative consequences on ESRD patients’ access to quality care and services. In addition, over 1,000 letters were sent to members of Congress from our Advocates expressing concern with the proposed cuts.
According to the final rule, payments will remain the same for 2014 and 2015; however, the full $30 cut per treatment will be phased in over the next 3-4 years. AKF remains concerned that this cut may limit ESRD patients’ treatment options and, although the phase-in is a less drastic approach, it will not mitigate the potential for challenges regarding access to quality care in the future. Since 2011, the Medicare ESRD program has undergone a series of significant payment reforms and reductions so we will be closely monitoring how these sequential cuts will impact patient care. Read AKF’s statement regarding the rule.
At The Hope Affair, the American Kidney Fund's national gala, NeShell Monroe was honored as the 2013 Hero of Hope. NeShell works tirelessly to encourage and empower other patients at her dialysis facility to care for themselves and to live their lives to the fullest. She reaches out to the community at local health events and through the media to educate people about kidney disease and its leading causes, the importance of early detection, and how to prevent kidney disease. NeShell has traveled to Washington, D.C., to meet with legislators and help them understand how their policy decisions affect kidney patients.
Sequestration Takes Effect
After nearly two years of failed negotiations, the across-the-board cuts to the federal budget known as sequestration took effect in March. These cuts, mandated through the Budget Control Act of 2011, included a 2 percent reduction to Medicare and its ESRD program. Beginning in April, Medicare reimbursements to dialysis providers are subject to a 2 percent reduction. AKF advocated against these cuts taking effect, particularly in light of the other substantial payment reforms and reductions to the ESRD program in recent years. AKF will continue to monitor the impact of these cuts, and will continue to advocate against any reductions or reforms that jeopardize kidney patients’ access to quality care.