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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

August 26, 2013 at 6:56 AM

Funding for dialysis treatments

Protect kidney-failure patients

As a regional director for a major local dialysis provider, I contribute to the care of hundreds of kidney-failure patients daily.

This is a complicated lifesaving treatment, which we deliver on a clinically effective and highly cost efficient basis.

I am very concerned over a recent proposal by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) that would cut Medicare reimbursement for dialysis care by as much as 12 percent.

Considering that Medicare reimbursement fails to cover the cost of dialysis currently, piling on more cuts would be devastating to the hundreds of thousands of patients on dialysis who depend on Medicare, and their caregivers.

The effects of these proposed cuts to dialysis care could force reductions in staffing levels, reduce access to additional services such as social workers, nurses or dietitians and, potentially, dramatically reduce access to dialysis care in Seattle altogether.

Clinics could be forced to close or consolidate, requiring patients who are often already very sick from a number of other comorbidities, to travel far distances for their life-sustaining care. Many may not attend on a regular basis and become much more sick over time, costing the health system far more in the long run.

It’s important for us all to recognize that, without ready access to dialysis care and ancillary services, patients with kidney failure will die. Contact our Congress member, Rep. Jim McDermott, and ask him to ensure that the CMS maintain appropriate funding to continue providing lifesaving care.

Robin Singh, regional operations manager of the Olympic View Dialysis Center, Davita HealthCare Partners Inc., Seattle

0 Comments | More in Economy, Health care, Politics | Topics: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, dialysis, health care

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