Kidney Care Partners Statement Regarding the Senate Finance Committee Chronic Care Working Group’s Draft Chronic Care Legislation

October 28, 2016

Kidney Care Partners (KCP) – the nation’s leading coalition of patient advocates, kidney disease professionals, dialysis care providers, and manufacturers — commends Chairman Hatch, Ranking Member Wyden, Senators Isakson and Warner and the Senate Finance Committee Chronic Care Working Group for working closely with the kidney care community to put forth thoughtful, patient-centric recommendations that address the myriad health care needs of the vulnerable patients who rely on Medicare’s end-stage renal disease (ESRD) benefit to manage their chronic disease condition.

Twenty-six million Americans are currently living with chronic kidney disease, or CKD, and 636,000 of those whose disease has progressed to kidney failure (called end-stage renal disease or ESRD).  This chronic disease condition involves kidney patients suffering from multiple comorbidities such as diabetes and hypertension, requiring more than eight different medications and at least two hospitalizations each year on average.  Further, for most patients with ESRD, thrice-weekly dialysis is required.

Given this chronic disease epidemic facing so many Americans, KCP applauds the Working Groups efforts to recommend policies that will measurably improve access to quality care and expand treatment choice.

Specifically, KCP supports the Working Group’s recommendations to do the following:

  • Allow Medicare ESRD beneficiaries the ability to choose Medicare Advantage (MA) plans, which ESRD patients currently are prohibited from accessing. MA plans can be benefit dialysis patients, by coordinating the care of individuals who are managing multiple medical conditions while reducing out-of-pocket expenses;
  • Expand use of home dialysis therapy through use of telehealth services; and
  • Extend authority for Special Needs Plans (C-SNP) without interruption.

There is a clear opportunity for Congress to act on the Working Group’s patient-centric recommendations, which are not only good for patients, but also for taxpayers and the integrity of the Medicare program.

KCP looks forward to continue working with Members of Congress and staff on these important programs for patients suffering from CKD and ESRD.