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Federal government cuts imperils dialysis care

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POSTED August 19, 2013 1:47 a.m.

My colleagues and I recently hosted Congressman Jeff Denham at Yosemite Street Dialysis in Manteca. 

We had the opportunity to introduce the Congressman to some of the 90 patients Yosemite Street Dialysis cares for and show him first-hand the needs of patients in our community who rely on life-saving dialysis care to survive.

However, despite the critical care we provide, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed a 12 percent cut to reimbursements for dialysis on July 1.

The thought of such cuts are extremely alarming. A 12% reduction in reimbursement will undoubtedly have a severe and negative impact on our ability to provide quality care for patients in Manteca. Medicare funding for dialysis already falls short of covering the full cost of these treatments, and reducing payments by another $30 per treatment may be too costly for some facilities to withstand without substantial changes.

The dialysis community has faced cuts before and facilities such as ours have already absorbed repeated budget cuts over the past few years. Even so, dialysis centers across the country have continued to provide the best healthcare possible under added financial constraints.

If the proposed rule is passed, new cuts may force some facilities to reduce operating hours, consolidate services, or close their doors altogether – all of which will affect patients’ access to the high quality care they require.

My patients, caregivers and staff are deeply grateful to Congressman Denham for not only taking the time to visit our facility, but also for signing on to a recent letter to CMS expressing concern about these costs.

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