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David White

Please see a statement on the below exchange from ASN President Mark Rosenberg. 


In a potentially game-changing exchange yesterday at a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex M. Azar, II, stated that a preliminary HHS Office of the Actuary analysis indicates that the savings generated by averting dialysis would be greater than the cost required to extend coverage for immunosuppressant drugs.  While noting that any potential savings would be “specific to the design of any actual policy,” the secretary underscored that HHS is “very focused on ways we can incentivize toward transplantation.”

David White

Today, June 22nd 2018, the US House of Representatives passed H.R. 6, the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment (SUPPORT) for Patients and Communities Act.  H.R. 6 combines more than 50 bills approved individually by the House.

The bipartisan bill is designed to help overall efforts to combat the opioid crisis by advancing treatment and recovery initiatives, bolstering prevention efforts, and trying to counter deadly illicit synthetic drugs like fentanyl.

David White

In a bold move up the ladder of electronic health record (EHR) interoperability, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Office of National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) released two proposed rules February 11 designed to allow patients access to their own records and data – particularly via apps – and provide strong deterrents to those who would block data.

David White


Nephrologists will receive boosts in payments – especially in the rate for reimbursement for home dialysis – starting on January 1, 2021, according a final rule recently issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The increases to nephrologists’ reimbursements were part of a multi-year push by ASN to increase the values incorporated in those reimbursement calculations. 

Organ Procurement Organizations Conditions for Coverage: Revisions to the Outcome Measure Requirements for Organ Procurement Organizations will take effect March 30, 2021

Last November, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) acted, as advocated for by ASN, to increase organ donation rates and transplantation rates, applying new standards of accountability and transparency to the nation’s Organ Procurement Organizations (OPOs).  HHS did this by finalizing  a rule that imposes new transparency requirements for the nation’s 58 OPOs to receive payment from Medicare and Medicaid. Approximately 113,000 Americans are on transplant waiting lists.

David White

After a concerted advocacy effort by the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) and a large coalition of medical societies, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced it is increasing payments for audio-only telephone visits to match payments for similar office and outpatient visits. This would increase payments for these services from a range of about $14-$41 to about $46-$110. CMS made the payments retroactive to March 1, 2020. CMS previously announced that Medicare would pay for certain services conducted by audio-only telephone between patients and clinicians when video capabilities were not available. ASN helped coordinate efforts to request this move through the Council of Medical Specialty Societies and joined the request of the Council of Subspecialty Societies.

David White

In a packed session of the National Quality Forum (NQF) in Washington, DC today, Adam Boehler, Deputy Administrator for CMS and Director and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI), spoke about an upcoming comprehensive kidney care model being developed by CMMI and written about previously in KNO – as well as his vision of the role of quality and quality measurement in healthcare overall. Boehler spoke about CMMI’s intention to test a kidney model that includes late-stage kidney diseases (stages IV and V), kidney failure, and transplantation. Speaking of the current kidney care delivery paradigm, he said kidney care “is an area that cannot stay static.” ASN leaders and staff have been meeting with Deputy Administrator Boehler and his staff to discuss ideas for the comprehensive kidney care model.

David White

A lively, but friendly, debate over RRT in the ICU took place late yesterday in a “Timely Debate” session before a standing-room only crowd. The format positioned Sean M. Bagshaw, MD, representing the role of the intensivist in the ICU, debating Paul M. Palevsky, MD, FASN, representing the role of the nephrologist. Dr. Bagshaw, who is an Associate Professor of Critical Care Medicine at the University of Alberta, took a decidedly humorous approach declaring himself “the most unpopular person at Kidney Week.” Not to be outdone, Dr. Palevsky, who is a renowned nephrologist and Chief of the Renal Section of the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System, humorously countered that the reason he believes nephrologist should oversee RRT in the ICU was because “Well…duh. We’re nephrologists, that’s what we do!”

Responding to requests from members and building on long-time policy priorities, ASN recently made significant progress in addressing concerns about federal policy related to graduates of international medical schools. These efforts, reported on April 10, are designed to allow international medical graduates (IMGs) more flexibility to work in health care settings with the greatest need during this public health emergency (PHE) and not solely on the site associated with their H-1B and J-1 visas, and provide expedited access to permanent residence status.  ASN Main Color.png

David White

Multiple deadlines are available in December to voice your opinion with the Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs) regarding their announced plans to limit reimbursement for dialysis that occurs more than three times per week exclusively to patients who meet specific acute condition requirements.

Seven MACs covering eight jurisdictions (WPS, Novitas Jurisdiction H, Novitas Jurisdiction J, NGS Jurisdiction K, NGS Jurisdiction 6, Noridian Jurisdiction E, Noridian Jurisdiction F, and First Coast, Palmetto, CGS), covering over half of the country, released nearly identical draft Local Coverage Decisions implementing restrictive guidance related to more frequent dialysis.

Within a very narrow timeframe, the MACs separately