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The American Society of Nephrology (ASN) strongly condemns the rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans throughout the United States. During the past year, more than 3,500 accounts of such incidents were reported, and ASN is committed to doing everything possible to prevent these injustices.

The long push for payment models to cross the silos of kidney care – chronic kidney disease (CKD), kidney failure and dialysis, and kidney transplant – continues with newly announced modifications to the implementation timeline of the Kidney Care Choices (KCC) Model, often referred to as the voluntary model.  The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI), which creates models and created the ESCOs, has extended the implementation period from March 31, 2021, until December 31, 2021. The effective performance year that was scheduled to begin April 1, 2021 will now begin January 1, 2022.

Approximately 50 percent of dialysis patients in the United States are Black, Latinx, Native American, or Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islanders (NHPIs).  These individuals are underrepresented in COVID-19 vaccination rates. In Virginia, for instance, Black people represent 19% of residents while accounting for 21% of the state’s COVID-19 cases and 24% of its deaths; however, Black Virginians have received only 12% of vaccines administered in the state to date.2

Brian Hess, a lifelong kidney advocate, passed away on December 3, 2020.

Despite being diagnosed with kidney disease at a young age and undergoing dialysis for the majority of his life, Brian refused to let kidney disease slow him down. Brian graduated from the University of Central Oklahoma while maintaining his dialysis regime.

Dialysis patients incur a greater burden of illness compared to the general population, and those dependent on maintenance dialysis are extremely vulnerable to the effects of infection with Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2, observe the authors of a recent article, “Prioritizing COVID-19 Vaccination in Dialysis.”

To read the article, click here .    

Bipartisan bill has been ASN's top legislative priority since 2009

Congress is passing the Comprehensive Immunosuppressive Drug Coverage for Kidney Transplant Patients Act as part of priority year-end package.

This legislation extends Medicare coverage of live-saving immunosuppressive medications for kidney transplant patients for the life of the kidney transplant. Currently coverage is restricted to 36 months post transplant: patients who cannot obtain private coverage and are unable to afford the medications lose their transplanted kidney and return to dialysis. About 375 people annually are estimated to lose their kidney transplant because they cannot afford immunosuppressives.

David White

 

Participating clinicians should begin the application process now.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced that it is accepting the impact of COVID-19 as a condition for applying for an Extreme and Uncontrollable Circumstances exemption in the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS). 

For the 2020 performance year (PY), Medicare will be using its Extreme and Uncontrollable Circumstances policy to allow clinicians, groups, and virtual groups to submit an application requesting reweighting of one or more MIPS performance categories due to the current COVID-19 public health emergency. To provide additional support to clinicians, the agency is extending the extreme and uncontrollable circumstances application deadline for PY 2020 to Monday, February 1, 2021 at 8 p.m. ET.

David White

Final rule applies new standards to organ procurement in the U.S.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) today took action to increase donation rates and organ transplantation rates by applying new standards of accountability and transparency to the nation’s Organ Procurement Organizations (OPOs).  HHS finalized the Organ Procurement Organizations Conditions for Coverage: Revisions to the Outcome Measure Requirements for Organ Procurement Organization rule that was proposed earlier this year by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). 

Ryan Murray

The United States Renal Data System released its 2020 Annual Data Report, featuring the latest data accumulated through 2018. This report, funded by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive Kidney Diseases, provides an overview of the impact of kidney disease on the US population. The annual report developed by the USRDS serves as an invaluable resource for ASN and the kidney community in determining policy priorities and advocacy efforts. In addition to familiar findings health outcomes and health care spending related to kidney disease and kidney failure, the 2020 Annual Data Report reviews the impact of COVID-19 on kidney patients.

Ryan Murray

Nearly 50% of US nephrologists are graduates of international medical schools . These individuals provide critical care in our nation’s teaching hospitals and in areas facing critical physician shortages, fight the COVID-19 pandemic on the front lines, and conduct pioneering research in labs across the country.

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) published a proposed rule titled “Establishing a Fixed Time Period of Admission and an Extension of Stay Procedure for Nonimmigrant Academic Students, Exchange Visitors, and Representatives of Foreign Information Media” (proposed rule) on September 26, 2020 for public comment. The proposed rule would eliminate “duration of status” as an authorized period of stay for certain nonimmigrant visas (F, I, and J) and replace it with a specific end date and requirement to apply through the U.S. government each year to extend this date.