Thank you for your commitment to the American Kidney Fund’s Advocacy Network! Today, our nationwide Advocacy Network includes patients, friends and family members, caregivers, and health professionals in 47 states and the District of Columbia.
As Congress returns from its August recess, focus in Washington remains on the pending cuts to the federal budget - totaling over $1 trillion over the next decade - that are set to begin to take effect in January. This process, known as sequestration, is the result of last year’s deficit reduction agreement and the failed negotiations of the Congressional ‘Super Committee.’ Unless Congress acts to prevent or amend these upcoming cuts, most federal departments and programs, including Medicare and its ESRD Program, will face across-the-board reductions.
From all of us at the American Kidney Fund, thank you for your time and dedication!
Nikia Okoye Director of Government Relations
Looming Medicare Cuts Threaten Patient Access to Care
While certain programs, such as Medicaid and Social Security, are exempt from the upcoming sequestration, Medicare and its ESRD Program face a possible reduction of up to 2 percent. Over the past few years, Medicare’s ESRD program has already undergone significant changes to reduce overall payments to dialysis providers through a new bundled payment system. If allowed to take effect, these additional cuts could force the consolidation or closure of dialysis clinics, resulting in reduced access to care and services for kidney patients.
In recent weeks, AKF has been meeting with Congressional leaders on Capitol Hill to educate them about the harmful impact these cuts will have on kidney patients’ access to quality care. AKF will continue to monitor this issue and advocate for the protection of the Medicare ESRD Program and against any additional cuts. Click here to learn more and take action on this issue today!
AKF Comments On New ESRD PPS and QIP Regulations
On August 31, the American Kidney Fund submitted its comments to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on a Proposed Rule to update the ESRD Prospective Payment System (PPS) in 2013, as well as the ESRD Quality Incentive Program (QIP) in future payment years. The ESRD PPS bundles together items and services that providers used to bill separately to Medicare into one single payment per dialysis treatment. The ESRD QIP ties payments to dialysis providers based on the quality of care they provide to patients, determined by a set of clinical and patient-care performance measures. Both programs were created under the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008 (MIPPA).
The American Kidney Fund supports the PPS and QIP, but is constantly monitoring the implementation of these programs to ensure that patient care is protected. Click here to read AKF’s comment letter.
Each year, the American Kidney Fund hosts Kidney Action Days in cities where rates of kidney disease are higher than the national average. Earlier this month, AKF hosted a Kidney Action Day event in Landover, Md. to raise awareness of kidney disease in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan region. In October, AKF will host Kidney Action Days in San Antonio, Houston, and Atlanta.
Each event features our Kidney Action Day Walk to raise money for the American Kidney Fund’s programs and services to help kidney patients and raise awareness of kidney disease. Visit our Kidney Action Day website to learn more about our upcoming events and how to register for a Kidney Action Day Walk in your city.
If you are unable to attend any of our fall events you can still participate through the 2012 American Kidney Fund Virtual Walk. As a virtual walker you can walk anywhere—on a treadmill, in your neighborhood, at a local park—and set your own goals and your own pace while increasing awareness of kidney disease in your community and raising funds to support the work of the American Kidney Fund.
Visit AKF’s New Action Center
Keeping policymakers and regulators informed is an important aspect of the fight against kidney disease. Visit our new Action Center and use our quick and simple Action Alerts to communicate directly with your representatives in Congress on key issues impacting kidney patients and their families!
Do you have a question about one of the topics discussed in this newsletter? Are there other issues that are directly impacting you or a loved one that you would like more information on?
We want to hear from you! Feel free to contact Michael Platt at (800) 638-8299 extension 7047 or firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or comments.