KCP Applauds Legislation to Expand Medicare Coverage Options for Dialysis Patients

July 7, 2016

 Legislative Efforts Will Benefit Vulnerable Populations with Kidney Failure 

WASHINGTON – Kidney Care Partners, the nation’s leading coalition of patient advocates, dialysis professionals, care providers and manufacturers working together to improve quality of care for individuals with kidney disease, today applauded the introduction of legislation that would expand Medicare coverage options for dialysis patients.  Under the ESRD Choice Act of 2016 (H.R. 5659), introduced by Representatives Jason Smith (R-MO), John Lewis (D-GA), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) and Kurt Schrader (D-OR), individuals who develop kidney failure would be given the same freedom of choice offered to other Medicare beneficiaries by allowing end-stage renal disease (ESRD) patients access to Medicare Advantage (MA) plans.

“We commend Congressmen Lewis, Smith, Bilirakis, and Schrader for introducing this pro-patient legislation to ensure kidney failure patients have equal access options to coordinated care services that support quality outcomes, improved efficiencies and a positive patient experience.  We look forward to working with these lawmakers to build support for this legislation,” said Dr. Franklin Maddux, KCP Chair.

Current law prohibits individuals who develop ESRD from enrolling in MA. This is true despite recommendations from the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) since 2000, which has urged Congress to eliminate this prohibition.

“A majority of ESRD patients are living with multiple chronic conditions and medical challenges, making care coordination a priority for ensuring a positive patient outcome,” said Dr. Maddux.  “Data show that patients with kidney failure experience fewer disease-related complications and fewer hospital days when care is coordinated.  Based on these data, we believe that providing ESRD patient access to MA plans will ultimately lower costs.”

KCP supports this bill and has previously supported broader bipartisan legislation, championed by Congressmen Lewis and Marino (H.R. 1130), which included a similar provision that would lift current prohibitive policies that restrict patient access to MA plans and discriminate against the ESRD patient population.  KCP urges passage of this bill to improve choice and beneficiary access for those suffering from kidney failure to improve care and quality of life.