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Bridget M. Kuehn

Physicians will have more flexibility to choose quality indicators and less restrictive electronic health record requirements under a streamlined value-based payment system proposed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in April.

The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) passed in spring 2015 repealed the Sustainable Growth Rate formula Congress had used to establish Medicare payments for physicians and accelerated CMS’s shift toward value-based payments. Now, a proposed rule published in the Federal Register on April 27, 2016, gives physicians a first look at how these value-based payments could be structured. The rule outlines the

Kidney transplantation is the optimal renal replacement therapy for the majority of people with kidney failure—yet the nearly 110,000 Americans on the kidney wait list face significant barriers to receiving a transplant. The Living Donor Protection Act aims to eliminate some of these barriers and increase transplantation by strengthening and protecting the rights of living organ donors.

A top priority for the ASN Public Policy Board, the Living Donor Protection Act was introduced in the US Senate as S. 2584 by Senators Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and in the US House of Representatives as H.R. 4616 by

Grant Olan

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) helps fund more than 3400 investigators around the country who conduct cutting-edge veteran-focused research in many areas, including kidney disease. More than 3000 veterans are diagnosed with kidney failure each year, and 30,000 veterans are on dialysis.

The list of VA investigator contributions to research during the agency’s 90-year history is lengthy and includes the first long-term successful kidney transplant. The VA research program was a big winner in the 2016 budget deal, which increased its funding by $42 million, a 7.1% increase. In his 2017 budget proposal, President Barack Obama is again asking

Grant Olan

The clock is running out for the US Congress to pass a federal budget for 2016 before the new fiscal year begins on October 1. Confidence is low that Congress will meet the deadline. Many in Washington predict Congress will keep funding the government at last year’s funding levels until it can pass a full-year budget. But if Congress fails to achieve either a new budget for 2016 or agreement to keep government operating at 2015 funding levels, essential government services will shut down.

The last shutdown in 2013 lasted 16 days. Non-mandatory federal programs funded by Congress through the

Mark Lukaszewski

It’s clear that patient–provider communications in the United States have not kept up with the rapid evolution in technology. Young kids are communicating with tablets and other devices that put current telehealth iterations to shame. But if we already have the technology, what is the holdup?

Current telehealth policy

One roadblock is that current rules governing telehealth in the United States state that it can only be administered in rural counties and health shortage areas in metropolitan fringes with the patient at a health facility (known as “originating sites”). Also, telehealth services may only be administered by a select group

Rachel Meyer and Mark Lukaszewski

A new proposed rule from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) lays out changes to how Medicare will reimburse providers for dialysis care, as well as how it will assess the quality of dialysis care. Released on Friday, June 26, and open for comment from stakeholders through Tuesday, August 25, the proposal includes several anticipated adjustments to the bundled payment and modest tweaks to the Quality Incentive Program (QIP).

Highlights of the proposed rule related to the Prospective Payment System (PPS) bundle included a reduction to the base rate, overhauls to the low-volume and case-mix adjustments to the

Grant Olan

On June 23, 2015, ASN co-sponsored a Friends of NIDDK congressional reception in Washington, DC, to formally launch the new advocacy coalition. Senate Diabetes Caucus Co-Chair Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Senate Minority Whip Richard Durbin (D-IL) spoke at the reception, which also featured National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) Director Griffin P. Rodgers, MD.

” I want to thank you for your work on this coalition, and I can assure you that it will pay off,” Dr. Rodgers said. “We combat some of the most common, consequential and costly diseases … and we are committed to

Rachel Meyer

The US Senate Finance Committee in June launched an ambitious new bipartisan working group that aims to improve the care of Medicare patients with chronic diseases. Concerned that treatment of chronic illnesses—such as kidney disease, heart disease, and diabetes—constitutes 93% of the total Medicare budget, Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) heard testimony in May from Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Chief Medical Officer Patrick Conway, MD, and MedPAC Commissioner Mark E. Miller, PhD, about opportunities to reverse this trend, and followed that hearing with the announcement of the “chronic care working group.”

Chaired

Grant Olan

On April 23, the ASN Public Policy Board and Board of Advisors joined patient advocates from the American Association of Kidney Patients (AAKP) for Kidney Health Advocacy Day 2015. Participants divided into teams of three or four and met with nearly 70 congressional offices to discuss two legislative priorities that would improve kidney care and patient health: 21st Century Cures and the Chronic Kidney Disease Improvement in Research and Treatment Act of 2015 (H.R.1130/S.598).

This marks the third consecutive year ASN and AAKP have partnered together for advocacy days. “When the world’s largest professional kidney organization partners with America’s oldest

In an historic, overwhelmingly bipartisan vote on April 14, 2015, the U.S. Senate passed legislation to permanently replace the flawed Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) system. President Obama signed the bill—H.R. 2, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015—into law shortly thereafter, ending years of uncertainty for physicians and patients participating in the Medicare system and finally putting this longstanding legislative goal to rest.

As Rep. Michael Burgess, MD, (R-TX) reflected “I’ve worked to resolve this issue my entire congressional career, and I extend my deepest thanks to everyone who played a part in making the burdensome SGR formula