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.)
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.
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.”
The White House announced Tuesday that the administration is taking action on two policy priorities for ASN: improving the data used to evaluate Organ Procurement Organizations (OPOs) and removing financial barriers to living donation.
The Unified Spring Agenda, released May 22, provides insight into which issues the administration will address through a proposed rule process in the coming months. ASN urged Secretary Azar and other senior administration officials to address these issues during a February meeting and applauds its bold leadership on both fronts.