July 24, 2013 at 13:08 PM EDT
Proposed Medicare Cuts Have Broad Implications For Dialysis Services Offerings

Satellite Healthcare has joined with four leading dialysis patient advocacy organizations — the American Kidney Fund, Dialysis Patient Citizens, the National Kidney Foundation, and the Renal Support Network — in urging The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to avoid drastic Medicare reimbursement changes as part of proposed adjustments to the end-stage renal disease (ESRD) program.

As part of the American Taxpayer Relief Act (ATRA) enacted earlier this year, Congress required CMS—a federal agency that administers the Medicare program—to adjust the ESRD bundled payment system for services and medications. The resulting CMS proposal was issued July 1, and would cut dialysis providers’ reimbursement by 9.4 percent beginning in 2014. If approved, the rule would reduce payments by approximately $1 billion nationwide at a time when Medicare funding for dialysis is already hampered by unfunded mandates and previous cuts, including cuts tied to sequestration.

“CMS has the authority—and the obligation—to protect people with kidney failure,” said Mark Burke, President and CEO of Satellite Healthcare. “Simply put, cuts of the magnitude outlined in the proposed rule will be detrimental to people who depend on dialysis to live.”

With approximately 85 percent of U.S. dialysis patients relying on Medicare for their treatments, the proposal would impact more than 400,000 Americans. An additional 20 million are at increased risk of ESRD due to health and genetic factors and may require dialysis in the future.

“Communities rely on dialysis providers like Satellite Healthcare to provide high-quality care in easily accessible locations. While we will continue to strive to meet these needs, the extent of the proposed cuts may compromise our ability to do so,” said Heather Dauler, Director of Government Affairs at Satellite Healthcare. “For clinics in urban and rural areas with high Medicare populations, the impact of further cuts could be especially damaging.”

Satellite Healthcare is one of the nation's first and leading not-for-profit providers of kidney dialysis, serving more than 5,500 patients coast-to-coast.

Dauler further commented, “The proposal by the federal government to dramatically reduce Medicare funding for life-sustaining dialysis treatments comes at a time when current Medicare funding for dialysis barely covers costs.”

The CMS proposal is open to public comment until August 30.

About Satellite Healthcare:

Satellite Healthcare, Inc., founded in 1974, is one of the nation's first not-for-profit providers of dialysis services and kidney disease care. With its expanded offerings Satellite Healthcare provides early patient wellness education, personalized clinical services and a complete range of dialysis therapy choices. This comprehensive offering allows Satellite Healthcare to advance the standard of chronic kidney disease care so patients can achieve a better life.

Better care. Better life. Better choice.®

Satellite Healthcare Website

Contacts:

Satellite Healthcare
Kim Hernandez, 650-404-3623
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