Number of U.S. ESRD patients exceeds 500,000

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In 2006, more than 500,000 patients received some form of end-stage renal disease therapy in the United States, and Medicare spent nearly $23 billion to care for them, according to the U.S. Renal Data System’s 2008 Annual Data Report.

Between 2005 and 2006, the number of new ESRD cases grew 3.4 percent, which is the first time the population has grown more than 2 percent in a year since 2000, according to the USRDS report. Of the new ESRD cases, the number of new dialysis patients grew nearly 4 percent.

In 2006, 110,854 new dialysis and transplant patients started ESRD therapy; 87,654 patients died. In all, more than 506,000 patients were receiving treatment by the end of 2006. Of that, nearly 355,000 were being treated by dialysis, a three-fold increase since 1988. Also in 2006, 151,502 patients had a functioning transplant.  

ESRD Costs

Medicare spending on ESRD reached $22.7 billion in 2006, and the total per person per year cost of ESRD was $61,164. When non-Medicare spending, such as employer-based health groups, are factored in, total ESRD costs reached $33.6 billion—or 1.6 percent of the $2.1 trillion the United States spent on healthcare in 2006.

The ESRD program accounted for 6.4 percent of all Medicare spending, which reached $355 billion in 2006, according to the report. However, between 2005 and 2006, overall Medicare growth outpaced ESRD growth, 7.1 percent and 5.9 percent, respectively.

Breaking that down, though, paints a clearer picture of how those costs are spent by modality. According to the USRDS report, in 2006, Medicare spent $71,889 per year on a hemodialysis patient, $53,327 per year on a peritoneal dialysis patient, and $24,952 per year on a transplant patient.

Peritoneal dialysis continued its decade-long decline. At one point, 11 percent of dialysis patients were using the modality. In 2006, 7.4 percent were on peritoneal dialysis. However, 2006 saw the highest number of kidney transplants at 18,052.

Drug Spending

The media spotlight’s glare on anemia drug spending has been bright in these past few years, but increased scrutiny and government warning may have stemmed spending.

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