Dialysis Patients Urge Congress to Carefully Consider Proposed Cuts in Funding
Jack Reynolds, Vice President, Dialysis Patient Citizens
(Washington, DC, Wednesday, July 24, 2013) – One in seven Americans is at risk for chronic kidney disease, and dialysis patients don’t have alternatives – they either: get dialysis, get a transplant or die.
According to Dialysis Patient Citizens, http://www.dialysispatients.org/, chronic kidney disease affects 26 million Americans. More than 80% of dialysis patients rely on Medicare for their care and nearly half of those patients are on Medicaid or have dual eligibility.
On July 1, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services proposed an unprecedented 9.4 percent cut in funding for the care of dialysis patients, threatening access to and quality of care for some of America’s most vulnerable citizens.
Dialysis care is a way of life for those with chronic kidney disease – three sessions a week, at three to four hours a session. It is also necessary in many cases as transplants are in short supply. Medicare’s End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) benefit covers dialysis care for approximately 80 percent of the 400,000 dialysis patients. If these proposed budget cuts are enacted, many dialysis facilities are expected to close as the average operating margin of 3.4 percent will become a 6.4 percent loss. Those facilities that are able to keep their doors open are likely to see a dramatic decrease in staffing which can have a devastating impact on patient outcomes and quality of care.
Dialysis Patient Citizens is urging Congress to take another look at the proposal and understand that this patient group, that they are proposing such a deep cut for, contains some of America’s most vulnerable citizens.