Just as important as early detection is ensuring that people who are living with kidney failure have access to quality care. Dialysis providers require adequate reimbursement to continue providing quality care to patients, who depend on regular dialysis treatment to survive. Medicare payments to dialysis providers have sustained a series of cuts in recent years. Most recently, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services implemented a 12 percent cut to dialysis provider payments, to be phased in over the next several years. It is critical that there are no more cuts to this program, and that the payment reductions be implemented in a way that does not harm patient care.
With early detection and treatment, and access to quality care, millions of Americans can live healthier lives in the face of chronic kidney disease. Congress plays a critical role in this effort. Protecting federal funding for kidney programs and activities should be high on lawmakers’ agendas, because doing so will lead to a much healthier nation.
LaVarne A. Burton is president and CEO of the American Kidney Fund. Bruce Skyer is CEO of the National Kidney Foundation.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.