Participating clinicians should begin the application process now.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced that it is accepting the impact of COVID-19 as a condition for applying for an Extreme and Uncontrollable Circumstances exemption in the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS).
For the 2020 performance year (PY), Medicare will be using its Extreme and Uncontrollable Circumstances policy to allow clinicians, groups, and virtual groups to submit an application requesting reweighting of one or more MIPS performance categories due to the current COVID-19 public health emergency. To provide additional support to clinicians, the agency is extending the extreme and uncontrollable circumstances application deadline for PY 2020 to Monday, February 1, 2021 at 8 p.m. ET.
Final rule applies new standards to organ procurement in the U.S.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) today took action to increase donation rates and organ transplantation rates by applying new standards of accountability and transparency to the nation’s Organ Procurement Organizations (OPOs). HHS finalized the Organ Procurement Organizations Conditions for Coverage: Revisions to the Outcome Measure Requirements for Organ Procurement Organization rule that was proposed earlier this year by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
The Trump Administration on Tuesday, June 19, unveiled the final rule allowing potentially millions of small businesses and self-employed workers to buy health-insurance plans exempt from many Affordable Care Act (ACA) consumer protections. However, plans will still be barred from discriminating against or charging more for individuals with pre-existing conditions. The American Society of Nephrology (ASN) is reviewing the details of the rule now.
Approximately 50 percent of dialysis patients in the United States are Black, Latinx, Native American, or Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islanders (NHPIs). These individuals are underrepresented in COVID-19 vaccination rates.1 In Virginia, for instance, Black people represent 19% of residents while accounting for 21% of the state’s COVID-19 cases and 24% of its deaths; however, Black Virginians have received only 12% of vaccines administered in the state to date.2
In the wake of the Coronavirus Disease-2019 (COVID-19) Pandemic, the Medicare program is expanding telehealth coverage enabling clinicians to provide a wider range of health care services to their patients without those patients having to travel to a health care facility thereby reducing exposure. The American Society of Nephrology (ASN) strongly supports this bold move. Retroactive to March 6, 2020, Medicare, under waiver authority, will temporarily allow and pay clinicians to provide telehealth services for beneficiaries residing across the entire country.
People with kidney diseases experience higher risk during health crises like the COVID-19 pandemic. To address the essential needs of this high-risk population, advocates from the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) and the American Association of Kidney Patients (AAKP) met with representatives, senators, and their respective staffs April 1, 2020 as part of the annual Kidney Health Advocacy Day (KHAD).
The Executive Order on Advancing American Kidney Health (Section 8) directed the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to propose a regulation to remove financial barriers to living organ donation essentially:
ASN supported the proposed rule on Removing Financial Disincentives to Living Organ Donation issued by Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of HHS and recommended further changes in its comment letter to the agency February 18, 2020.
After much dialogue with the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) and other members of the kidney community, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) today clarified its guidance on deferring nonessential surgical procedures during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency. The clarification clearly identifies Arteriovenous Fistulas, Arteriovenous Grafts, Peritoneal Dialysis Catheters, and intravenous catheters as planned procedures that are essential for establishing the vascular access that “is crucial for End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) patients to receive their life-sustaining dialysis treatments.” Since the issuance of the original guidance, many ASN members have expressed their serious concerns that these procedures were being grouped with elective surgeries and, subsequently, being denied. Go to the ASN COVID-19 Response page for more information.
The long push for payment models to cross the silos of kidney care – chronic kidney disease (CKD), kidney failure and dialysis, and kidney transplant – continues with newly announced modifications to the implementation timeline of the Kidney Care Choices (KCC) Model, often referred to as the voluntary model. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI), which creates models and created the ESCOs, has extended the implementation period from March 31, 2021, until December 31, 2021. The effective performance year that was scheduled to begin April 1, 2021 will now begin January 1, 2022.
The American Society of Nephrology (ASN) provided comments and critique of the proposed rule on Medicare Advantage (MA) for 2021 and 2022 on April 6, 2020. In 2021, by law, MA plans will be open to patients with kidney failure as opposed to those who were already enrolled in MA plans before advancing to kidney failure and remain enrolled after kidney failure.