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David White

In March 2018, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma announced a series of planned reforms designed to reduce regulatory burden, increase electronic health record (EHR) interoperability, and advance access to medical records for patients.

Administrator Verma announced CMS is planning on overhauling its meaningful use requirements, in response to years of provider complaints that the program is too burdensome and difficult to implement. CMS’s stated goal is to reduce time and compliance costs associated with the program.

The agency’s moves come just weeks after President Donald Trump signed a funding bill that includes measures to ease

David White

Telehealth and telemedicine reimbursement received big boosts in the two-year budget deal signed into law by President Donald Trump on February 9, 2018, with one senator saying the law does more for Medicare coverage of telehealth than any past legislation.

The budget deal included parts of the Creating High-Quality Results and Outcomes Necessary to Improve Chronic (CHRONIC) Care Act advocated for by the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) and fellow members of the Telehealth/Remote Monitoring Coalition. Targeted at Medicare’s telehealth and telemedicine reimbursement rules, the new law:

■ adds the patient’s home, without geographic restriction, to the list of originating

David White

The year 2019 promises to be a busy one in healthcare. In the face of a great deal of volatility, Kidney News readers can expect the following.

Mergers and acquisitions: Expect more, and sooner rather than later

A recent Capital One survey found that three-quarters of 291 senior executives across the healthcare spectrum are planning for better business performance in 2019. To exceed 2018 performance levels, 44% support more mergers and acquisitions (M&A), and 25% also expect to revamp or update existing merger offerings already on the table. In the latest figures from 2018, the third quarter saw

David White

After years of advocacy from the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) and other members of the kidney community, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and members of Congress are expressing very similar viewpoints to those of ASN and the broader kidney community on some of the major issues confronting the 40 million men, women, and children facing kidney diseases in the United States.

In May 2019, both the administration and members of Congress demonstrated their commitment to change in two critical areas: immunosuppressive coverage and innovation in the kidney space. Building on a speech HHS Secretary Alex Azar

David White

On July 10, 2019, President Donald J. Trump and Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex M. Azar II unveiled a much-anticipated new HHS-wide kidney care initiative called Advancing American Kidney Health (AAKH). The initiative will bring sweeping changes to care for people with kidney diseases, including more focus on upstream treatment to slow the progression of kidney diseases, choices for dialysis modalities, greater access to transplantation, and concerted support for development of innovative therapies, including artificial kidneys.

Executive Order

The initiative was rolled out in a public signing of an Executive Order accompanied by a white paper

David White

With Kidney Week 2016 in review and the end of the year rapidly approaching, one New Year’s treat is already waiting for everyone. It arrived January 1, 2017, as scheduled. The New Year heralds the beginning of the new Quality Payment Program (QPP) that was created by the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA).

Congress passed MACRA in 2015 with large bipartisan vote margins in both the Senate and House of Representatives. There is widespread consensus that while parts of the program may have to be adjusted if the Affordable Care Act is repealed or modified, the new Medicare

David White

One of the more challenging decisions in nephrology is if and when to initiate dialysis and the timing of that initiation for patients with acute kidney injury (AKI). Because the initiation of renal replacement therapy (RRT) is a crucial decision for patients with life-threatening changes in fluids, electrolytes, and acid–base balance, expect this to remain a topic of discussion and debate in 2018.

Ashita Tolwani, MD, MSc, laid out the advantages and drawbacks when considering early initiation of dialysis in patients with AKI in her talk “Timing of AKI Dialysis: Why the Answer Is Not That Simple” at Kidney Week

David White

Shedding further light on disparities in, and the impact of discrimination on, kidney disease rates and care was the focus of a Kidney Week 2017 session titled “Context Is King: Neighborhood and Social Networks as a Risk Factor for Chronic Disease.”

Many studies about income and race disparities in the incidence of kidney diseases are well known, including higher incidence rates for lower income blacks and whites (1) and the heightened proportion of ESRD incidence across neighborhood poverty levels (2).

Deidra C. Crews, MD, ScM, FASN, outlined some of the more nuanced research on this subject

David White

The numbers speak for themselves. There are currently 121,678 people waiting for life-saving organ transplants in the US. Of these, 100,791 await kidney transplants. A patient is added to the kidney waitlist every 14 minutes and 13 people die every day waiting for a kidney transplant (1). These numbers and their implications led to the Kidney Week 2017 session, Political Correctness? Public Policy Influences on Transplantation, moderated by Roy D. Bloom, MD, and Michelle A. Josephson, MD.

In the segment Kidney Allocation Changes: Past, Present, and Future, Richard N. Formica, MD, of the Yale School of

David White

The American Society of Nephrology’s (ASN) Quality Committee has its hands full in 2018. First, the Quality Payment Program (QPP) created by the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) enters its second year after a very limited implementation as a transition year in 2017. Foremost, the QPP is beginning to calculate a “cost” section in physician scores and will need to be monitored closely by ASN and other medical societies for unintended consequences. Equally important are efforts to include acute kidney injury (AKI) in the End-Stage Renal Disease Prospective Payment System and Quality Incentive Program (PPS/QIP) and increase access