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Help Protect Kidney Patients from CMS' Proposed Cuts

On July 1, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released a Proposed Rule that would result in a 12 percent cut in Medicare payments for dialysis services for people who have End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD). The reductions would begin in January 2014.

As you know, the Medicare ESRD program has already undergone a series of significant payment reforms and reductions in recent years. If finalized, this proposal could have devastating consequences on kidney patients’ access to quality care and services.  Staffing reductions and facility closures would be inevitable because Medicare payments simply would not cover the cost of care. It is vitally important that you reach out to your elected officials now, so that the voices of kidney patients can be heard!

Send a personalized message to your representatives in Congress urging them to communicate to CMS the importance of providing adequate reimbursement for dialysis care!

Recipients

  • Your Senators
  • Your Representative

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Message

Help Protect Kidney Patients from CMS' Proposed Cuts

Dear [Decision Maker],

As your constituent and as someone who has been impacted personally by kidney disease, I am writing to make sure you are aware of a recent proposal by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) that, if finalized, could have devastating consequences to kidney patients' access to care and services.

On July 1, CMS issued a Proposed Rule (CMS-1526-P) that would result in a 12 percent cut to Medicare payments for dialysis services for people who have End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD), effective January 2014. This dramatic cut would come on top of a series of recent payment reforms and reductions to the dialysis payment system that began in 2011 with the implementation of a bundled payment system and continues today as providers adjust to sequestration cuts.

Since 1972, individuals with kidney failure have qualified for Medicare regardless of age. Today, Medicare covers dialysis treatment for about 85 percent of the nation's dialysis patients.

Due to the unique Medicare entitlement for individuals with ESRD, providers of dialysis care do not have the same ability as other Medicare providers to offset cuts through other payers. If this proposal is finalized, Medicare reimbursement for dialysis treatments will not cover the cost of providing care. Dialysis facilities will be forced to make changes that limit patient access to care and services, such as reducing the number of staff or their hours. Facility closures will be inevitable. As a result, patients may have less flexibility to receive treatments, longer drive times to centers, and reduced access to social workers, nurses, and dietitians.

Sincerely,
[Your Name]
[Your Address]
[City, State ZIP]

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