Washington — On February 27, Congress introduced the Kidney Care Quality and education act of 2007, which is a bill similar to ones introduced in past years that focuses on improving medicare services to kidney disease patients.
The bill, which builds on the Kidney Care Quality and improvement act from the 109th Congress, was introduced in the House of representatives by rep. John Lewis (d-Ga.) and rep. dave Camp (r-mich.). the bill was also introduced in the Senate by Sen. Kent Conrad, d-N.d.
Medicare covers dialysis treatments for Americans with kidney disease, regardless of their age.
“The ESRD Medicare program is singled out under medicare and does not receive the annual updates it needs and that other programs receive,” Camp said. “Hopefully, with this legislation we can provide a permanent fix and ensure americans who are suffering from kidney failure get the medical help they need.
In addition to establishing annual payment updates for 2008, 2009 and 2010, the legislation would create education programs to help patients learn more about kidney disease and how to control it before it develops. the bill would also create programs to help chronic kidney disease patients better manage the disease.
The legislation also looks to create the Continuous Quality improvement initiative, which is a three-year program that creates incentives to improve patient care. Under the initiative, facilities and providers would receive quality bonus payments that are tied to a portion of a newly established three-year annual update from the Centers for medicare & medicaid Services.
The bill would also provide $1 million for a five-year demonstration project to evaluate how blood flow monitoring affects the quality and cost of care for kidney disease patients.
In addition, the act would require, beginning Jan. 1, 2008, that patient care dialysis technicians complete training and become nationally certified. technicians would have to repeat training or become recertified if 24 months pass without performing any dialysis-related services. renal providers and facilities would be required to give performance reviews and education in the clinic for technicians.
Camp said the bill has strong support from kidney advocacy group Kidney Care Partners, the renal Leadership Council, the National Kidney Foundation, the american Kidney Fund, the american Nephrology Nurses association, the renal Physicians association, abbott Laboratories, amgen and Baxter Healthcare.
“The Kidney Care Quality and education act goes a long way to improve how we manage kidney disease,” Conrad said. “Educating patients to better manage their kidney disease makes good health sense and good financial sense.”