DVAC Commends Bipartisan Lawmakers for Opposing Proposed Medicare Cuts to Vascular Access Services for Dialysis Patients

A group of bipartisan lawmakers warn HHS that unprecedented 62% reimbursement rate reduction to vascular access services would have serious impacts on patients with kidney disease.

Washington, DC, October 15, 2018 --(PR.com)-- The Dialysis Vascular Access Coalition (DVAC), a consortium of medical specialty societies, physicians, and non-hospital centers that provide vascular access services to patients with End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD), today praised a bipartisan group of lawmakers for expressing concern to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) about proposed payment cuts for dialysis vascular access services.

In a letter – led by Representatives Ryan Costello (R-PA), Debbie Dingell (D-MI) and Leonard Lance (R-NJ) – submitted to Secretary Alex Azar, 27 bipartisan members of Congress express apprehension about a provision of the 2019 Ambulatory Surgical Center (ASC) Proposed Rule for Patients with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD), which would set vascular access reimbursement rates at the rate set in the Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) - amounting to an unprecedented 62 percent cut on top of a staggering 37 percent reduction in the 2017 PFS. Since the 2017 reduction was implemented, more than 1 in 5 physician offices have closed down according to a recent survey by the American Society of Diagnostic and Interventional Nephrology.

“If HHS finalizes this policy shift, patients will be impacted with respect to accessing vascular access services in the setting of their choice, receiving the appropriate level of high quality care based on their needs and failing to maximize the most cost-effective care,” the lawmakers write.

DVAC commends the lawmakers who signed onto the letter for recognizing the dangerous impacts such a significant reimbursement rate reduction would have for patients who need vascular access services to begin dialysis treatment following kidney failure. Ultimately, the proposed cut would threaten patients’ access to high-quality, convenient, and affordable vascular access services in the community setting and lead to an inappropriate migration of services from a cost-effective physician office setting to a less efficient, costlier hospital setting. In the letter, lawmakers urge HHS and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to exempt vascular access services from the office-based designation in the forthcoming 2019 ASC Final Rule.

In addition to Representatives Costello, Dingell and Lance, bipartisan members of Congress signing the letter include Pete Aguilar (D-CA), Joyce Beatty (D-OH), Mike Bishop (R-MI), Joaquin Castro (D-TX), John Abney Culberson (R-TX), Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX), Paul A. Gosar (R-AZ), Gregg Harper (R-MS), Will Hurd (R-TX), Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), Mike Kelly (R-PA), Daniel T. Kildee (D-MI), Derek Kilmer (R-WA), Darin LaHood (R-IL), Doug Lamborn (R-CO), James R. Langevin (D-RI), James P. McGovern (D-MA), Grace Meng (D-NY), Terri A. Sewell (D-AL), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Marc A. Veasy (D-TX), Jackie Walorski (R-IN), Brad R. Wenstrup (R-OH) and Kevin Yoder (R-KS).

The Dialysis Vascular Access Coalition (DVAC) is a consortium of medical specialty societies, physicians, and non-hospital outpatient centers that provide vascular access services to individuals with advanced chronic kidney disease and End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD). To learn more, visit dialysisvascularaccess.org.
Dialysis Vascular Access Coalition
Sarah Rhoades