To the editor:
Dialysis is a lifeline for kidney failure patients — more than 80 percent of whom rely heavily on Medicare to help pay for their life-saving dialysis care.
Yet, Medicare cuts issued late last year and implemented as of Jan. 1 will dramatically cut funding for dialysis necessary for the survival of hundreds of thousands of kidney failure patients across the country and here in Franklin — reducing payments for dialysis treatment sessions, medications and additional services by 12 percent or $30 per dialysis treatment.
As an administrator at DaVita’s Franklin Dialysis Center, my caregiving team, patients and I shared our concerns about these cuts with Rep. Todd Young who visited our facility recently to learn more about quality kidney care and the lives of the 28 patients we care for every day.
Medicare already falls short of covering the full cost of patients’ treatments and the new government rule will further strip scarce resources out of the dialysis program, negatively impacting recent dialysis care improvements and limiting patient access and choice. Cutting dialysis payments — even with a planned phase-in of the full cuts — will force providers to make difficult decisions to reduce operating hours or reduce their staffs, making access to quality dialysis care increasingly difficult for kidney failure patients.
We appreciated the opportunity to share these concerns with Young and to convey our appreciation for his support in signing — along with more 200 of his fellow members of Congress — a recent letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recommending against these very cuts. It is critical that Congress intervene immediately to ensure that Medicare reimbursement for dialysis care adequately covers the cost of care for our patients who rely on this lifesaving care.
I hope readers will contact the congressman to ask for his continued support.