Medicare’s Cuts Will Hurt Dialysis Patients

Published by Orlando Sentinel
Stanley Aguirre
February 15, 2014

As the administrator at DaVita’s Orlando East Dialysis Center, I, along with my patients and caregiving team, had the opportunity to share concerns about deep cuts to Medicare’s dialysis benefit with U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson’s district director, Susannah Randolph, during a recent visit to our facility.

We also conveyed our appreciation for Grayson’s support — along with more than 200 of his fellow members of Congress — in a letter we wrote to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recommending against planned cuts.

Unfortunately, the Medicare cuts went into effect Jan. 1 and are slated to dramatically reduce payments for dialysis care by 12 percent or $30 per dialysis treatment. Dialysis is a lifeline for our kidney-failure patients — more than 80 percent of whom rely heavily on Medicare to help pay for their dialysis-treatment sessions, medications and additional services necessary to their survival.

Medicare already falls short of covering the full cost of patients’ treatments and, despite a planned four-year phase-in of the full cuts, the new government rule will further strip scarce resources out of the dialysis program. This could force providers to reduce operating hours or staffs, making access to quality dialysis care increasingly difficult.

It is critical that Congress intervene immediately to ensure that Medicare reimbursement for dialysis care adequately covers the cost of care for our patients who rely on this life-saving care.

Stanley Aguirre administrator, DaVita’s Orlando East Dialysis Center

See the original article here.