In-home dialysis got a boost late last week from a new Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) rule to close health equity gaps.
The proposed rule would update End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) payment rates, make changes to the ESRD Quality Incentive Program and modify the ESRD Treatment Choice (ETC) Model. The proposed changes to the ETC Model would encourage providers to decrease disparities in rates for home dialysis and kidney transplants for low-income patients with ESRD.
“Health equity is at the center of our work here at CMS,” CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure said in a statement Thursday. “Today’s proposed rule is grounded in measures to ensure people with Medicare who suffer from chronic kidney disease have easy access to quality care and convenient treatment options.”
CMS Office of Minority Health said studies on racial, ethnic and socioeconomic factors found disadvantaged Medicare patients suffer from ESRD at higher rates. They are also more likely to experience higher hospital readmissions and costs, as well as receive in-center hemodialysis because their kidneys no longer function properly.
The new ETC model went into effect last January and rewards clinicians and facilities for moving dialysis into home settings and increasing kidney transplants.
An estimated 37 million Americans suffer from renal disease and just under 800,000 have ESRD. The National Kidney Foundation says African Americans are about 3 times more likely to develop ESRD than non-Hispanic Whites and Hispanics are 1.3 times more likely to receive a diagnosis of kidney failure.