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Kidney Care Community Voices Support for President's Proposal to Extend Medicare's Secondary Payer (MSP), Urges Administration to Work Closely with Community if Bundled Payment is Implemented

Kidney Community Sees MSP Extension as Positive Move to Benefit Patients, Taxpayers and Medicare ESRD Benefit

WASHINGTON, Feb. 5 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --- In response to the President's 2009 Budget Proposal, Kidney Care Partners (KCP) -- an alliance of patient advocates, dialysis professionals, care providers and manufacturers working together to improve quality of care for individuals with kidney disease and kidney failure -- strongly endorses extending patients' right to remain with their commercial insurance coverage for an additional time period if they choose to do so. KCP also expressed support for the Administration's efforts to align the payment systems between hospital-based and free standing facilities.

Further, if the Administration does move forward on implementing a bundled payment system, KCP urges the Administration to work closely with the kidney community to ensure that the new system protects quality patient care and the integrity of the ESRD benefit. It is critically important that any savings recognized from these proposals be put directly back into the Medicare ESRD program, which MedPAC consistently recognizes is underfunded. These savings should be used to provide patient education services, establish a quality initiative, and implement an annual inflation update mechanism for ESRD providers who are the only Medicare providers under a prospective payment system without such an update.

Under the current Medicare MSP provision, Medicare takes over as primary coverage after 30 months. KCP believes an MSP extension must be part of Medicare ESRD program reforms and the savings generated by this extension can help support those reforms. "Despite what some large corporations are saying, this extension impacts a modest number of patients spread across a much larger population and would be a huge benefit to patients and the Medicare benefit, so I salute the President for recognizing the value this extension will provide," said Dr. Ed. Jones, a practicing nephrologist and Chair of KCP. "An extension of the MSP provision gives some patients with private insurance a choice in their healthcare coverage. Further, KCP believes extending this provision will encourage large health plans to focus more heavily on disease prevention, address co-morbidities and encourage use of fistulas in the future."

KCP recognizes that bundling of payment is inevitable for the Medicare dialysis benefit, though stresses caution over the importance of being especially attentive to the details so that the benefit is not disrupted in any way. "Resources taken out of a Medicare payment rate that many policy experts and third-party entities such as MedPAC regard as already underfunded would only have a negative impact on care," added Dr. Jones. "KCP urges the Administration to involve the community if a bundled payment system is developed in order to ensure that there are no unexpected or unanticipated consequences to patients. Rather, savings should be put back into the system in the form of disease prevention and education initiatives, quality payments and an inflationary update."

KCP looks forward to working with the Administration and Congress on these critical initiatives that are so important to Americans with kidney failure who rely on the ESRD benefit for quality of life and quality of care.

SOURCE Kidney Care Partners
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