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Tom Marino

Rep. Tom Marino

Kidney failure was a death sentence in the 1960s. Since then, remarkable scientific advances and a landmark commitment to the millions of Americans affected by kidney disease have reversed that fact. Today, more than 600,000 Americans are living with kidney failure—and a large majority of those lives are sustained by life-saving dialysis treatments. I represent Pennsylvania’s 10th District in the U.S. House of Representatives, and in my home state, more than 17,000 people rely on dialysis therapy, and another 8000 have received the gift of life through a kidney transplant.

In 1972, Congress developed the Medicare End-Stage

Grant Olan and Michael Fischer

Not many people know about the US Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) research program outside the Washington beltway. The lack of recognition may in part be because the program is dwarfed by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) budget ($589 million vs. $29.4 billion in 2015). Yet the VA is a leader in a number of research fields, including vision and hearing loss, orthopedics and prosthetics, and mental health issues such as posttraumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. VA investigators—half of whom are clinician-scientists—have won three Nobel Prizes and seven Lasker Awards, the US equivalent of a Nobel Prize

Rachel Meyer

Building upon nearly a year of hearings, roundtables, and input from patient and other advocacy groups, the House Energy and Commerce Committee released a draft piece of legislation aimed at spurring the development of innovative new therapies and speeding their delivery to patients. Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Fred Upton (R-MI) and Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO) launched this bipartisan effort—the 21st Century Cures Initiative—during the last Congress, and the committee floated a preliminary draft bill in January 2015.

ASN has been in conversation with committee staff and the offices heading up components of the draft legislation of potential relevance or

Grant Olan

On February 2, 2015, President Barack Obama released his proposed federal budget for Fiscal Year 2016 (October 1, 2015, to September 30, 2016), the starting point of the congressional budget-making process.

In his State of the Union address, the president made the case that the US has turned the corner on the economy and is now in a stable position. As such, the president is now asking Congress to make investments in government services—including research—that have been underfunded since Congress instituted deficit reduction measures earlier in the decade.

The president is specifically calling on Congress to raise the 2016 spending

Mark Lukaszewski

These are the major policy issues affecting the kidney community in 2015.

National Institutes of Health (NIH) Funding

ASN requests that Congress allocate $32 billion for the NIH and $2.066 billion for the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) in fiscal year (FY) 2016. The society is also requesting additional NIDDK funding—$150 million per year over the next 10 years—beyond current funding levels for kidney research to spur innovation.

President’s Proposed Budget

On February 2, 2015, President Barack Obama released his proposed federal budget for FY 2016 (see budget story). The president specifically calls on Congress

Grant Olan

On September 19, 2014, ASN Secretary-Treasurer and Research Advocacy Committee Chair John R. Sedor, MD, FASN, joined other members of the committee and several of the society’s advisory groups to visit the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) for “Kidney Research Advocacy Day.”

ASN began annual visits to NIH in 2012 to raise the profile of kidney disease, promote more kidney-related research, and encourage more cross-institute collaboration. This year, Kidney Research Advocacy Day participants met with leaders of the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases

Mark Lukaszewski

On Friday, October 31, 2014, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released its 2015 End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) Prospective Payment System (PPS) and Quality Incentive Program (QIP) final rule for calendar years 2017 and 2018. This article provides a basic overview of the key takeaways of the rule.

After close inspection, ASN has concluded that the final rule did not contain any unexpected adjustments to the ESRD PPS or QIP and does not differ substantially from the proposed rule. The society determined it is likely that the 2015 rulemaking cycle will have a more pronounced effect on the

Rachel Meyer

In many ways, kidney disease is the poster child for health disparities in the United States. In 2012, African Americans were nearly four times as likely and Native Americans nearly twice as likely as whites to experience kidney failure (1). African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, and Alaska Natives are twice as likely as whites to have diabetes, the leading cause of kidney disease. The incidence of ESRD in people with diabetes is six times as high in Native Americans compared with the incidence in the general population of diabetes patients. Moreover, minority populations spend more time on the

Mark Lukaszewski

On Halloween Eve 2014, CMS released the 2015 Physician Fee Schedule final rule, finalizing several important victories for ASN and other advocates in the kidney community.

A top ASN priority, also supported by other stakeholders, was to modify the billing rules to allow nephrologists to bill the full month of care when a home dialysis patient has been hospitalized during that month. CMS finalized the proposal it laid out in the proposed rule that would allow nephrologists who complete monthly assessment of home dialysis patients and at least one face-to-face patient visit to bill for the full monthly MCP code

Mark Lukaszewski

Every year the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) releases its proposed rule for the End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) Prospective Payment System (PPS) and Quality Incentive Program (QIP). The American Society of Nephrology (ASN) Quality Metrics Task Force and Public Policy Board thoroughly assessed the proposed rule for potential effects on patient care and access to dialysis treatment before ASN submitted feedback to CMS.

Evaluating the quality of care patients receive, as well as their access to dialysis services and medications, are of the utmost importance in a bundled payment system. This article highlights ASN’s key recommendations to CMS