OPINION: Save our dialysis centers!
For the last 11 years, I have cared for 210 kidney failure patients every day at Utica Avenue Dialysis Center in Brooklyn. My patients require four-hour dialysis sessions three times a week to rid their bodies of deadly toxins and to enable them to live full and active lives. As a dialysis facility administrator, my patients have always been like family to me and I want the best for them.
Recently, a proposal by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) that would cut Medicare reimbursement for dialysis care has me concerned. Even though dialysis providers and clinicians have skillfully learned to provide a host of important services for a modest “bundled” fee, additional cuts like the ones proposed July 1 – a reduction of an estimated $30 off of a bundled payment of approximately $246 representing a cut of 12 percent – will be devastating. Without adequate reimbursement, facilities may not have the staff or resources necessary to provide my patients with the care they need.
It’s important for lawmakers to understand that without ready access to dialysis care and ancillary services, patients with kidney failure will die. I urge your readers to contactCongresswoman Yvette Clarke and urge her to support the funding necessary to care for the more than 80 percent of Americans with kidney failure who rely on Medicare and depend on us, including 25,884 right here in New York.
Monica Mattis, RN, BSN
Utica Avenue Dialysis