Innovative New Kidney Care Model in Development Highlighted at National Quality Forum

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.

In his remarks, and those of HHS Secretary Alex M. Azar, II, earlier this month, he addressed the need to increase the use of home dialysis and to increase kidney transplant. He noted that the rate of home dialysis in the United States is 11 percent while it is around 75 percent in Hong Kong. He also noted that the transplant rate for kidneys is approximately 20 percent while laying out ambitious goals for the very near future. Boehler said he would like to see 80 percent of patients with kidney failure either on home dialysis or receiving a kidney transplant by 2025. As did Secretary Azar, Boehler expressed confidence these goals are obtainable with a realignment of the incentives currently in place – especially in regard to payment/reimbursement policies.

In the discussion, he also remarked that HHS has partnered with ASN in the creation of The Kidney Innovation Accelerator (KidneyX). KidneyX is a public-private partnership between the US Department of Health and Human Services and the American Society of Nephrology to accelerate innovation in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of kidney diseases. KidneyX seeks to improve the lives of the 850 million people worldwide currently affected by kidney diseases by accelerating the development of drugs, devices, biologics and other therapies across the spectrum of kidney care.

Boehler, who is also a senior adviser to Secretary Azar, spoke in a panel conversation with NQF president and CEO Shantanu Agrawal, MD, MPhil, at NQF’s 20th anniversary annual conference “Answering the Call.” NQF sets standards in healthcare, recommends measures for use in payment and public reporting programs, identifies and accelerates quality improvement priorities, and provides information and tools to help healthcare decision-makers. Dr. Agrawal is also a former deputy administrator for CMS.