December 13, 2013 Mobile Version | Web Version | Text Only Version | Print-Friendly Version
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Message from the NRAA President
Wayne Evancoe, NRAA President

 

Dear Fellow NRAA Members,

It is my pleasure to host a message from NRAA Affiliate Member, LaVarne Burton, President and CEO of the American Kidney Foundation (AKF), this week as our featured guest author. NRAA was pleased to be a Sponsor of The AKF Hope Affair and send members of our Executive Committee, Marc Chow, our Executive Director, and principals of Prime Policy Group, to The Hope Affair Gala in Washington DC this year. LaVarne will relate more about the exceptional honorees recognized this year, but to describe this event as one of real class and strong positive advocacy is an understatement. Most of us smaller providers as well as the larger organizations utilize the important Health Insurance Premium Program (HIPP) to assist direct patient coverage. That program alone aids so many patients and providers to ensure they receive adequate coverage that I urge all providers to "review their books" and to ensure we give more than we take from this altruistic program. It is just one example of the AKF commitment to the ESRD community and patient education and advocacy — and no one can state that better than LaVarne!

Wayne

 

 

 

The Hope Affair: Shining a Spotlight on Kidney Disease
By LaVarne A. Burton, President and CEO, American Kidney Fund

Drawing attention to the issue of kidney disease is a vital part of our work at the American Kidney Fund. We are grateful for dialysis providers nationwide who support our mission, enabling us to provide the most comprehensive programs of treatment-related financial assistance to dialysis patients in the United States. We want the public, policymakers and the media to better understand what a serious issue kidney disease is for our nation.

One way we shine a spotlight on this issue is through our Annual National gala, The Hope Affair. We have been honored to have support for The Hope Affair from the NRAA, which this year served as a Crystal-level sponsor.

Held Oct. 29 in Washington, D.C., The Hope Affair was this year themed “Lighting the Way.” We honored patients and renal professionals who are setting an example for all of us in the fight against kidney disease.

Honorees included NeShell Monroe of Houston, a dialysis patient for more than 30 years and a longtime community advocate for kidney disease awareness, who received the Hero of Hope Award; Jonathan Rivera Gomez, 15, a dialysis patient from Puerto Rico who was honored for his winning entry in our annual nationwide art contest for children with kidney disease; and Joseph A. Chazan, M.D., and Lucille M. Pono, RN, of Providence, RI,  whom we honored with the Caregivers of the Year Award in recognition of their teamwork over more than four decades to provide outstanding care to people living with kidney disease.

We were delighted that each honoree’s Member of Congress attended and presented the awards. Representatives Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas, Jim Langevin of Rhode Island and Pedro Pierluisi of Puerto Rico each spoke movingly about the honorees, and about the importance of focusing our nation’s attention on the issue of kidney disease. Additionally, two Members of Congress who have been strong supporters of kidney patients — Representatives Jim McDermott and Michael Burgess — attended the event and spoke about the issues facing patients. By involving Members of Congress in this event, we are able to help policymakers better understand the work of the renal community in addressing the challenges posed by kidney disease.

Funds raised through The Hope Affair support the programs and services of the American Kidney Fund. Last year, we helped nearly 84,000 U.S. dialysis patients with treatment-related expenses, and through our national campaign, Pair Up: Join the Fight to Prevent Kidney Disease, provided more than 27,000 free kidney health screenings nationwide. For more information about the American Kidney Fund, visit www.kidneyfund.org.



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MedPAC Addresses Dialysis Payment Policy in December Meeting
Commissioners Discuss Draft Recommendations for Spring Report

On December 12, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) held a meeting to review various payment systems in the Medicare program. One of the sessions was entitled, “Assessing payment adequacy: outpatient dialysis services.” In the meeting, MedPAC staff member Nancy Ray gave a presentation with an overview of the End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) Prospective Payment System (PPS), analysis of payment adequacy factors, and discussion about other PPS measures, including rebasing of the PPS based on drug utilization, the low-volume adjustment, a possible anemia under-treatment quality measure, and provider cost reports.

MedPAC projects that the 2014 Medicare margin for all dialysis facilities to be 2.9 percent, down from 3.9 percent in 2012. MedPAC reported that the two large dialysis organizations (LDOs) had Medicare margins of 4.2 percent in 2012 and all other providers had Medicare margins of 3.5 percent.

The Chairman’s draft recommendation calls for no payment update for calendar year (CY) 2015, which will result in no change in spending for the program and have no adverse patient care or access implications. The Chairman’s draft recommendation also says the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) should implement the following measures: redesign the low-volume adjustment to consider a facility’s distance to the nearest facility; include a measure in the ESRD Quality Incentive Program (QIP) that assesses anemia under-treatment; and audit dialysis facilities’ cost reports. According to the slide, dialysis quality may improve for beneficiaries if the measures are adopted, and, overall, there would be a minimal effect on providers’ willingness and ability to care for Medicare beneficiaries. All of the commissioners expressed support of the draft recommendations.

MedPAC will meet again in January to consider the recommendations. Click here to view slides from the MedPAC presentation.

 

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Senate Finance, Ways and Means Mark Up SGR Repeal Bills
Three-Month SGR Patch Likely to Be Approved with Budget Agreement

On December 12, the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee each passed versions of a bill that permanently replaces the Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula, the formula used to determine Medicare physician payments. There are no provisions in either bill affecting the End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) program.

The House Ways and Means Committee passed their bill out of committee by a 39-0 vote. The Committee made only a few changes, including a 0.5% update each year through 2017 and a medical malpractice measure, incorporated into a substitute amendment during the markup. The substitute amendment approved by the Ways and Means Committee can be viewed here and a summary of its provisions can be viewed here.

In the Senate Finance Committee, members filed 140 amendments, however most of those were not offered. The committee added seven amendments to their bill before it passed by voice vote. A description of the Chairman’s Mark for the hearing can be viewed here.

Neither bill reported by the two committees included budget offsets, but both Chairmen noted the need to identify those savings in order for their bills to advance in the House of Representatives and the Senate. Because there is still more work to be done on the long-term SGR legislation, a bridge bill was negotiated by the two committees to avoid any payment reductions for a three month period. The bridge bill was included in a two-year bipartisan, bicameral budget agreement that was reached earlier this week and passed by the House of Representatives on December 13. The Senate is expected to pass the budget agreement with the SGR bridge bill sometime early next week. The President has expressed support for the legislation and is expected to sign it. If Congress had not addressed the issue, Medicare physician payments would have decreased by 24 percent beginning on January 1.


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House and Senate Budget Chairmen Reach Two-Year Agreement
Proposal Would Extend Sequester Cuts by Two Years for Mandatory Spending Programs

On December 10, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-WA) announced that they had reached an agreement on a two-year budget plan. The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 sets the overall spending for the current fiscal year (FY) at $1.012 trillion, roughly splitting spending levels passed by the House and Senate in each chamber’s budget resolution. The agreement mitigates $63 billion in scheduled cuts to discretionary spending programs over the next two years from budget sequestration. The agreement contains $85 billion in budget savings to offset the $63 billion in increased discretionary spending for a net deficit reduction package of approximately $22 billion. The agreement also affirms that budget sequestration will continue to apply to mandatory spending programs, including Medicare, in FY 2014 and 2015. Additionally, it extends budget sequestration for mandatory spending programs for two additional fiscal years leaving the automatic spending cuts in place through FY 2022 and 2023.

The agreement also includes a short-term SGR “bridge” measure that lasts through March 31, 2014. Included as a budget offset for the Medicare SGR bridge, the bill also alters the 2 percent cut for Medicare in 2023 by increasing the cut to 2.9 percent for the first six months and decreasing the cut to 1.11 percent in the second six months.

The House of Representatives passed the budget measure 332 – 94 on December 13 before adjourning for the remainder of the year. The Senate is expected to pass the measure early next week before they adjourn. President Obama has expressed support for the deal and is expected to sign the bill into law. To view a summary of the budget agreement, click here.

 

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Last Chance to Take Part in Education Assessment Survey - Survey Closes Today!

 

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NRAA Committees Launch Their Meetings!

Committee work is the vehicle for NRAA to carry out its mission. It is also an excellent way to network and learn with fellow members, AND give back to the NRAA and ESRD communities! 

Most of the committees have finalized their schedules and are holding their first meetings. To see when your committee is meeting next, log in here and go to Members Only Home/Committee Activity.

You Can Still Sign Up!

If you are new to NRAA or committees, this is your chance to get involved! Committee participation is open to ALL members. Sign up for as many committees that interest you, keeping in mind that you will want to allow sufficient time to participate in each. You will be notified of meeting schedules and you can work with the committee to develop the plan for the year.

If you have participated in an NRAA committee in the past, and want to continue on the same committee, no need to sign up again! Rosters will carry over logically. For example, if you were a member of the CMS Survey Committee, you will be included in the Quality Council as the survey will fall under its agenda.

If you wish to change or add committees from your previous involvement, sign up for a new committee using the committee sign up form and/or e-mail nraa@nraa.org if you no longer wish to continue on your past committee. If we don't hear from you, you will be kept on the committee roster.

For more information regarding NRAA Committees, click here

 

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Access Your NRAA Member Benefits!

Make sure that you know your confidential, safe and secure login information - username and password - for easy access to NRAA Members Only on www.nraa.org.

What can you do when you log in?

  • Register for spring and fall meetings with your member discount
  • Edit your personal and professional profile information
  • Pay your dues electronically during the spring renewal season  
  • Access and download information for members only:   
    • Hundreds of valuable resources and documents
    • Archived webinar presentations and recordings
    • Member directory
    • Committee calendar and minutes
    • Searchable archived issues of Renal Watch

If you have forgotten your username or password, the login page has links to instructions that are sent to the email address the membership database has on record for you.  Please see the illustration below.

 

If you continue to have login issues, please contact nraa@nraa.org.

 

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NRAA HIE for CROWNWeb


Click here to sign up for the NRAA HIE for CROWNWeb

CROWNWeb CMS-2744 Training Video Now Available

Click here for the most recent update - August 8

 

Benefits of the NRAA HIE:

With the NRAA HIE for CROWNWeb, you get:

  • Electronic submission, which means faster data entry
  • Less staff time spent on reporting to CROWNWeb
  • More accurate electronic data submission
  • Secure, encrypted transmission that meets HIPAA and privacy rules
  • Automated updates from CMS on data submission status

The NRAA is proud to provide the NRAA HIE for CROWNWeb as a benefit to members. Fees help cover the up-front costs involved in developing the service, and the costs involved in maintaining the service. For NRAA member organizations, the NRAA HIE costs only $28 per patient per year, invoiced annually.

Need more information about the NRAA HIE for CROWNWeb?

 


http://www.renalexchange.com/nraa-hie-for-crownweb/


http://www.onehealthport.com/nraaindex.php



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Dialysis, Nephrology and Healthcare News - December 6 - December 12, 2013

The following links are provided by NephrologyNews.com, the redesigned website of NRAA partner Nephrology News & Issues. The site offers important news stories, editorial blogs, and special reports for the renal care field. Visit each day at: http://www.nephrologynews.com.

Policy

CMS extends deadline for EHR Stage 2 meaningful use requirements

Nephrology Business

Berkshire Hathaway invests more in Davita

Clinical

FDA approves new hemodialysis indication for Gore's Viabahn Endoprosthesis

Nationwide Laboratory Services releases app


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RSN Kidney Talk
An Illness is too demanding when you don't have hope!


Kidney Talk

RSN’s KidneyTalk is an online bi-weekly, half-hour radio talk show than launched in June of 2006.

This novel undertaking features RSN Founder & President Lori Hartwell. Periodically Stephen Furst, an accomplished television and movie actor/producer/director and transplant recipient is her co-host.

With Lori Hartwell’s 44 years as a renal disease survivor and Stephen Furst’s entertainment credentials, KidneyTalk provides the audience with practical advice on how to live a full and productive life despite CKD.

Each show is available online 24 hours a day or can be downloaded free any time from the iTunes store using your iTunes App, and includes at least one guest interview with someone who is well-qualified to comment on the topic at hand and share their stories of health, happiness or hope.

Current Issue

Tell Me It's Not Shingles!

If you’ve had chickenpox, you’re at risk for developing shingles. Linda Oakford, who received a kidney transplant 12 years ago, shares her personal experience with shingles and the painful rash that can appear anywhere on the body. Learn about symptoms and treatment so that if you develop shingles, you can detect it early and expedite your recovery. Play Now.

 

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In This Issue
Message from the NRAA President
MedPAC Addresses Dialysis Payment Policy in December Meeting
Senate Finance, Ways and Means Mark Up SGR Repeal Bills
House and Senate Budget Chairmen Reach Two-Year Agreement
Last Chance to Take Part in Education Assessment Survey - Survey Closes Today!
NRAA Committees Launch Their Meetings!
Access Your NRAA Member Benefits!
NRAA HIE for CROWNWeb
Dialysis, Nephrology and Healthcare News - December 6 - December 12, 2013
RSN Kidney Talk
Thank You to Our Corporate Partners

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Poll
My patients have benefited from AKF’s Health Insurance Premium Program
Yes, and the need for HIPP has never been greater
Yes, and the need for HIPP will only grow
NRAA 2013 Annual Conference Photo Album

Click here to view the album

 

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PH: 215.320.4655 | Fax: 215.564.2175 | E-mail: nraa@nraa.org.