The American Society of Nephrology (ASN) was honored to participate recently in the third annual Nephrology Business Leadership University 2018 in Dallas, TX, at the headquarters of U.S. Renal Care (USRC) and hosted by USRC, the Dallas Renal Group, and UC San Diego. The NBLU unique weeklong program for second year nephrology fellows allows them to drill down with a diverse faculty of practicing nephrologists from private practices and academia, hospital and dialysis executives, and other professionals who will share their insights on leadership, the business of nephrology, and the evolving healthcare landscape.
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.
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.
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.