Expanding access to coordinated care for dialysis patients

(BPT) – More than 660,000 people in the U.S. suffer from kidney failure, also known as end-stage renal disease (ESRD). These patients often cope with multiple chronic illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease and depression. They are also more likely to be socioeconomically disadvantaged, which limits their ability to access preventative health care services.

The Dialysis PATIENT Demonstration Act (PATIENT Act) (H.R. 5506/S. 3090), recently introduced by Congress, aims to expand the availability of better-coordinated care to Medicare patients on dialysis.  The program is designed to deliver the triple aim of better care, better health and lower costs for Medicare ESRD beneficiaries receiving dialysis. This means fewer trips to the hospital, fewer unnecessary office visits and an improved quality of life.  The Patient Act could be a model for delivering better care to all beneficiaries with ESRD.

As one of the most chronically ill patient populations in the U.S., those with ESRD receive 12 to 15 hours of dialysis therapy each week. Dialysis patients will benefit from access to high-quality, integrated care.

“If this bill passes, dialysis patients like me could have access to resources like an extra nurse dedicated to help me manage all my medications and medical care outside the dialysis clinic,” said DeWayne Cox, a DaVita dialysis patient from the San Fernando Valley. “Medicare patients on dialysis deserve access to coordinated care, it’s proven to improve the quality of care, and that’s good for all patients.”

While integrated care has existed for many years, we now have the chance to transform the health care for our loved ones. The Dialysis PATIENT Demonstration Act builds on proven health care precedents to create a voluntary program that assigns full clinical and financial accountability to participating nephrologists and dialysis clinics for the ESRD patients they treat. 

The PATIENT Act may offer access to additional benefits like:

* A nephrologist-led interdisciplinary care team

* Individualized care planning for patients and caregivers

* Preventative care and services to keep patients out of the hospital

* Care coordination for services received outside the dialysis clinic

* Support and counseling before receiving a kidney transplant

Patients and health care providers like DaVita have joined together to urge Congress to take action. The Patient Act has support from Republicans and Democrats and is under Congressional committee review right now. If you or a loved one needs better access to health care, visit www.DaVita.com/TakeAction to make your voice heard.

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