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.