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Statement On CMS' Proposed Rule for Medicare's ESRD Benefit

GLENDALE, Calif., July 9, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Renal Support Network is shocked and dismayed that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has proposed a drastic cut of 12% out of the Medicare ESRD system, which would essentially strip approximately $30 out of the $246 that Medicare currently pays for a 3-4 hour dialysis session.

Currently, approximately 85 percent of people rely on this critical Medicare benefit for their dialysis care. There is little doubt that if this draconian Medicare cut contained in CMS's proposed rule were to be finalized after the 60-day comment period, it would seriously hurt the stability of the Medicare ESRD program and jeopardize quality and patient access to dialysis care.  This is care that people depend on for their minimum of 3 times a week, and any destabilization of this program could have dire consequences.

Specifically, RSN is fearful that patients may experience unintended consequences by closure of facilities, reduction of staff or patient centered programs being eliminated.   

While Congress instructed CMS to reduce costs due to recent bundling of dialysis services and changes in utilization, they did not instruct them to cut so deep that reimbursement would be far less than cost of care, which it will be if the proposed rule is finalized in its current form.

As CEO of RSN and long-time advocate it is incomprehensible to propose such an ill-advised cut on a program for this vulnerable patient population.  These cuts will impact hundreds of thousands of people who require dialysis in order to survive, especially patients in rural and inner city facilities. 

We respectfully ask that CMS work closely with the kidney community, especially the patients, who are at the greatest risk of unintended consequences if cuts such as the ones in CMS' proposed rule were to be finalized as is.

SOURCE Renal Support Network
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