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David White

Advocates from the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) and the American Association of Kidney Patients (AAKP) are meeting with representatives, senators, and their respective staffs today, March 20th, to urge Congress to support KidneyX, a public-private partnership to accelerate innovation in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of kidney diseases.

ASN Staff

On Monday March 4th, Secretary Alex M. Azar II delivered a speech at the 6th Annual Kidney Patient Summit outlining both KidneyX and the strategic pillars of establishing an HHS-wide approach to comprehensive kidney care. ASN released a statement from ASN President Mark E. Rosenberg, MD, FASN, congratulating Secretary Azar and HHS on implementing this bold plan to better serve kidney disease patients and confirming ASN’s commitment to work together to achieve this goal.

Ryan Murray

Several initiatives have been implemented by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) and the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) in order to foster kidney research and encourage research investigators as the NIH Division of Kidney, Urologic, & Hematologic Diseases (KUH) saw a 2% decrease in funding from the 2019 NIH budget.

Below is a list taken from an upcoming article in Kidney News March issue.

Zachary Kribs

The Living Donor Protection Act of 2019, a longstanding priority of the ASN Policy and Advocacy Committee and the larger kidney and transplant community, has been reintroduced in the House of Representatives and Senate by Representatives Jaime Herrera-Beulter (R-WA) and Jerry Nadler (D-NY), and Senators Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY) and Tom Cotton (R-AR).

On February 15th, 2019, American Society of Nephrology (ASN) President Dr. Mark Rosenberg sent a letter to the lead sponsors of the legislation to commend their efforts to provide hope to the more than 700,000 Americans with kidney failure, including the nearly 100,000 people on the waitlist to receive a kidney.

ASN Staff

CMS is proposing to give Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage plans the option to limit coverage of drugs in six categories — known as the “protected classes” — in a bid to lower pharmaceutical costs. The agency posted a proposed rule in the Federal Register on Nov. 30, available for public comment through Jan. 25, that would give health plans the ability to exclude protected class drugs from medication prescription lists in certain instances. The changes are estimated to save the government about $1.9 billion over 10 years and save Medicare enrollees $692 million in cost sharing.

David White

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a proposed rule yesterday, November 26, 2018, that includes changes to Medicare Advantage and Part D. Medicare says its proposal will give Part D drug plans more power to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies, but some patient and provider groups say that it will reduce access and shift costs onto beneficiaries.

CMS said in its proposed rule that it would start allowing Part D plans to exclude a drug from the "protected" classes on their formularies if the increase in the drug's price is greater than inflation or if CMS determines that the drug is not a significant innovation over the original product. Current policy requires Medicare Part D plans to cover drugs in the following six categories:

ASN Staff

Please see more information on telehealth in a recent Kidney News Online post by David White, the ASN Policy and Advocacy Specialist.

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David White

Today, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released finalized 2017 performance data for the Quality Payment Program (QPP) that will be used to determine clinician reimbursement adjustments for calendar year 2019 – the first year for adjusted payments under the new program. CMS announced the preliminary data earlier this year, and now it is claiming “significant success and participation in both the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and Advanced Alternative Payment Model (APM) tracks” with the release of the finalized data.

David White

Thursday afternoon, November 1, Medicare released the final Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) rule containing some revisions to evaluation and management (E&M) codes in terms of documentation requirements but no changes in reimbursement levels for the next two years – but year three is another matter. 

The desire to reduce the documentation burden in E&M coding led CMS in July to propose a system that collapsed levels 2-5 of E&M into one reimbursement payment.  This move had negative implications for nephrologists and pretty much any physician practicing cognitive care with complex patients.  So, where did we end up and what do you need to know?

David White

The American Society of Nephrology (ASN) organized the fourth Kidney Community Advocacy Day (KCAD) on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, bringing together 13 organizations in the kidney community to raise the profile of kidney diseases with lawmakers. A total of 75 advocates representing a broad intersection of patient and provider perspectives from the kidney and transplant community met with nearly 100 members of Congress and their staff, commending them for investing in kidney research and asking for their support of the Living Donor Protection Act and increased innovation in kidney care through programs like KidneyX.