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David L. White

Members of Congress and regulators are keenly focused on kidney healthcare and the policies around it. With more than 40 million people in the United States living with kidney diseases and 700,000 Americans with kidney failure, Medicare costs topped more than $114 billion in managing kidney diseases in 2016, which accounts for 23% of all Medicare spending. With such a growing burden both on patients and their families and on taxpayers, the pressure is on policymakers to realign the incentives and priorities to achieve better outcomes.

A new vision for kidney care

Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary

David L. White

Every summer, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) propose rules that govern physician reimbursement, the Medicare End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) program, and the newer Quality Payment Program (QPP), which is entering its third year in calendar year 2019. This summer has been no exception, with some proposed changes that benignly refine programs around the edges, and others that mark significant changes in course.

In July 2018, CMS released the ESRD PPS and QIP proposed rules. In what is expected to be a permanent change, the proposed rule for the first time combines the QPP and the Physician Fee

David L. White

Nephrology faces challenges. Clinically, other internal medicine specialties increasingly are managing diseases traditionally considered in the domain of the nephrologist. Funding for kidney research is less per patient than every other major disease, such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. And the next generation is less interested in nephrology careers than any previous generation.

The American Society of Nephrology (ASN) is committed to working with every member of the kidney community—particularly the society’s more than 20,000 members—to overcome these challenges, assert the value of nephrology, and articulate a positive, bold vision for the specialty’s future. The question is no longer

David L. White

For decades, translational researchers have increased options for treating diseases by bringing together the scientific, medical, and engineering fields to advance the understanding of biology and disease pathogenesis. For example, there are now more than 100 identified genetic causes of cellular dysfunction in patients, work that is further supported by a greater focus on data sharing across academia and industry, opening the doors to new and more individualized treatments that target disease subtypes as a personalized approach. Private investment, through licensing or venture capital, plays an important role in pushing these advances closer to the clinician and patient, with investment

David L. White

“There are three phases of this plan,” HHS Secretary Price said. “One is the bill that was introduced [March 7, 2017] in the House of Representatives… Second are all the regulatory modifications and changes that can be put into place… [t]here were 192 specific rules that were put out as they relate to Obamacare, over 5,000 letters of guidance and the like.”

“And we are going to go through every single one of those and make certain that they—if they help patients, then we need to continue them. If they harm patients or—or increase costs, then obviously they need to

David L White

Some students prefer Chicago-style hot dogs to Maine lobster rolls. Building on the success of the Mt. Desert Island program, ASN is expanding the TREKS program (Tutored Research and Education for Kidney Students) to Chicago.

TREKS will leverage the University of Chicago’s uniquely designed renal physiology program so medical and graduate students can study renal physiology with experts, network with peers and subsequently benefit from a mentor relationship with a kidney expert at their home institution

David L White

A great deal of discussion and interest—and a healthy dose of concern—has taken place within the nephrology community concerning MACRA, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015. 

When Congress passed MACRA, it created a new pathway for payment reform within Medicare.  Under the new law, physicians can expect more predictable, positive payment schedules beginning in 2019. The new framework rewards health care providers for giving better care, not just more care, and combines three existing quality reporting programs (PQRS, Meaningful Use, and the Value-Based Modifier) into one system.

David L. White, Rachel Nell Meyer, and Zachary Kribs

The first four months of 2017 have been nothing short of tumultuous in the Washington world of health care policy. As a result, the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) Policy and Advocacy Committee (PAAC) members are engaged on numerous policy fronts from efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to the executive order on immigration and its travel ban to President Donald J. Trump’s budget proposal to cut funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) by nearly 20%.

It would be easy to view the current Washington environment as chaotic and feckless, but there has been a great