We, of Youngstown-Warren Home Dialysis, are writing to express our concern about the recent proposal from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) that would cut Medicare's payment for dialysis by 9.4 percent and jeopardize dialysis care.
Kidney disease affects one in seven Americans and is the eighth leading cause of death. When kidney disease progresses to kidney failure, individuals must seek dialysis treatment or transplantation to stay alive. As dialysis professionals, we care for some of the sickest and most medically complex patients in Ohio.
Of the 415,000 Americans who need dialysis to live, 90 percent rely on Medicare to pay for their treatment. We are well aware that our current fiscal climate requires doing more with less. In 2011, CMS initiated a new payment system for dialysis centers aimed at increasing cost-effectiveness and improving outcomes.
With adequate notice and significant planning, we tightened our belts and have continued to meet quality benchmarks. However, any additional cut to dialysis reimbursement would be heavily felt, as in many cases, Medicare payment already falls short of covering the cost.
The proposed 9.4 percent cut in dialysis reimbursement would be devastating, threatening patient care programs and resulting in possible staff reductions and facility closures. Please help us protect people with kidney failure who depend upon dialysis treatments to live and make sure that the total payment amount for dialysis services is adequate to cover the cost of treatment.
We urge people to contact their congressmen to vote against this proposed cut.
Roberto Bacani, M.D.
Daniel Barton, M.D.