Kidney Community Applauds House Ways & Means Committee’s Bipartisan Legislation to Improve and Expand Access to Kidney Care

July 13, 2017

H.R. 3168 and H.R. 3178 would provide innovative telemedicine solutions, streamline the accreditation process for dialysis facilities and stabilize funding  

WASHINGTON, DC — Kidney Care Partners (KCP) – the nation’s leading coalition of patient advocates, kidney disease professionals, dialysis care providers, researchers and manufacturers – today endorsed the Ways and Means Committee’s approval of two bipartisan bills that expand access and choice for dialysis patients.

Currently, 31 million Americans either have some form of kidney disease or are at risk of developing kidney failure in the future. And each year, more than 100,000 are diagnosed with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) and will eventually require a kidney transplant or dialysis services.

H.R. 3178, the Medicare Part B Improvement Act, introduced by Reps. Kevin Brady (R-TX) and Richard Neal (D-MA), is multi-faceted, but has a couple of provisions that will significantly affect dialysis patients by expanding access to home and facility-based treatment options.

First, this innovative bill would increase patient access to treatment by allowing dialysis facilities and the home to be approved telemedicine sites for home dialysis.

Second, H.R. 3178 would decrease the lag time in certifying a new facility while still ensuring high quality care. Specifically, the Medicare Part B Improvement Act would amend Section 1865(a) of the Social Security Act (SSA) to provide independent accreditation for dialysis facilities and to ensure that patients have access to dialysis treatments at newly opened facilities in a timely manner.

H.R. 3168, introduced by Reps. Patrick J. Tiberi (R-OH) and Sander Levin (D-MI), authorizes Medicare Advantage (MA) Chronic Special Needs Plans (C-SNPs) for End-Stage Renal Disease Patients for five years, stabilizing funding for the program and patients’ access to these plans. These plans are currently authorized one year at a time.

C-SNPS have long shown that better coordination of care can improve patient outcomes. However, the annual need for reauthorization fails to provide the certainty needed to invest in maintaining C-SNPs for ESRD patients.

KCP endorsed H.R. 3168 and H.R. 3178 in a letter sent today to the Ways and Means Committee. The key provisions of both bills were previously included in the Chronic Kidney Disease Improvement in Research and Treatment Act of 2017 (HR 2644), introduced on May 25 by Reps. John Lewis (D-GA), Tom Marino (R-PA) and Peter Roskam (R-IL).

“Preserving and protecting dialysis patients’ ability to access high quality healthcare is critical, and should be without burdensome obstacles,” said Dr. Frank Maddux, chair of Kidney Care Partners. “We commend the Ways and Means Committee for its leadership in removing barriers to care and ensuring increased alternatives for dialysis patients.”

Dr. Maddux thanked the bills’ primary sponsors, Reps. Brady and Neal and Representatives Tiberi and Levin, as well as other key kidney care champions, including Representatives Lynn Jenkins (R-KS), Diane Black (R-TN), Suzan DelBene (D-WA), John Lewis (D-GA), Tom Marino (R-PA) and Peter Roskam (R-IL),

“The Ways and Means Committee has the gratitude and full support of the kidney community for making this vulnerable population a priority through legislation that promotes quality, access and choice,” added Dr. Maddux. “To that end, we urge all members of the House of Representatives to join their colleagues in supporting H.R. 3168 and H.R. 3178.”