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David White

After strenuous objection from the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) and its fellow coalition members in the Partnership for Part D Access, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a final rule on May 16, 2019, on Medicare Part D prescription drugs that dropped an earlier CMS proposal that would have undermined current protections for the six protected classes of drugs. The final rule maintains protections for these classes: 1) antidepressants; 2) antipsychotics; 3) anticonvulsants; 4) immunosuppressants for treatment of transplant rejection; 5) antiretrovirals; and 6) antineoplastics. ASN Policy wrote about an administration proposal to alter the status of the six classes earlier this year in KNO when ASN submitted  comments  to Medicare on its Medicare Advantage and Part D Drug Pricing Proposed Rule on January 25.

David White

The American Society of Nephrology (ASN) submitted comments to Medicare on its Medicare Advantage and Part D Drug Pricing Proposed Rule on January 25.  ASN objected to segments of the proposed rule that remove protections from the “six protected classes of drugs” in Medicare Part D. Specifically, ASN objected to proposals to:

David White

On Thursday, December 17 from 5:00 - 6:30 pm EST the American Society of Nephrology will host a webinar reviewing key components of the ESRD Treatment Choices (ETC) Model (going into effect January 1, 2021).

This webinar will be an opportunity for ASN members to learn important details about the federal government’s mandatory model to use payment policy to increase kidney patient choice of home dialysis and kidney transplantation.  ETC will include 30% of Medicare ESRD beneficiaries, nephrologists, and dialysis facilities randomized from hospital referral regions (HRRs) across the country. 

David White

ASN is hearing from nephrologists in multiple COVID-19 hot spots that their patients are facing serious logistical transportation challenges, specifically with ensuring COVID-19 patients can access safe transportation to dialysis facilities. The ramifications are significant and include barriers to discharging kidney failure patients with COVID-19 from hospitals, risks of admitting patients to hospitals who cannot get to dialysis facilities, and risks of spreading COVID-19 during transportation. While nephrologists and dialysis facilities are coordinating with state and local authorities, there is also a role for the Department of Health and Human Services.

David White

Continuing in its 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) jointly finalized two rules on March 9, 2020 that were originally proposed February 11, 2019. The rules are designed both to allow patients access to their own records and data via smartphone apps and to provide strong deterrents to those who would block data.

David White

In today’s session on the “Future of Value-Based Care,” Tom Duvall, co-lead on the ESRD Seamless Care Organization (ESCO) models at the CMS Innovation Center, updated Kidney Week attendees on the status of the ongoing ESCO models that  qualify as Advanced Alternative Payment Models (APMs) under the Quality Payment Program.  Duvall asked for feedback on how the models are currently operating and for input on how to accomplish various goals as CMS considers the next iteration of ESCOs after the current ones are completed in 2020.  In particular, Duvall requested Kidney Week participants submit answers to four questions:

David White

In February, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) for Health Information Technology released a set of proposed rules to address interoperability, information blocking, and patient access to data and electronic health record (EHR) certification criteria.

ASN has expressed its support for this overall proposed rule set to promote electronic data exchange and stop data blocking to improve health care quality. These will ensure that patients have timely access to important health information and have the ability to share it confidentially with the physician of their choice.

David White

This week, the Baylor College of Medicine became the first academic center and care provider to publicly announce its support for the changes included in Medicare’s proposed rule on Organ Procurement Organizations (OPOs) Conditions for Coverage: Revisions to the Outcome Measure Requirements for Organ Procurement Organizations – joining the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) in its support of the proposed rule. ASN expressed its support in a separate comment letter and made recommendations for improvement. (ASN’s comments and recommendations will be covered in Kidney News’ March edition.)

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has asked ASN to share with its members that the ESRD Quality Reporting System (EQRS) has been suspended due to data submitting issues. 

Users are asked not to submit additional data at this time CMS writes “We are committed to ensuring the accuracy and reliability of our data, and are working to rapidly resolve these issues.”

David White

In a bold move to increase organ transplantation, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS or Medicare) has finalized a proposal “to remove the requirements at § 482.82 (conditions of participation for transplant centers) that require transplant centers to submit clinical experience, outcomes, and other data in order to obtain Medicare re-approval.” The American Society of Nephrology (ASN) and other members of the kidney community advocated for this change to reduce the unintended consequences associated with the re-approval process.