is proposing changes to payment policies for the treatment of end-stage renal disease that the agency estimates would increase payments by about 0.3%, or $30 million, in 2015.
The payment policies were detailed in a proposed rule (PDF)
issued by the agency on Wednesday. Medicare
disburses roughly $8.5 billion per year to facilities that provide dialysis services to individuals with the chronic kidney disease.
But Cherilyn Cepriano, executive director of the industry’s trade group, the Kidney Care Council, worried that the meager increase won’t be enough to keep companies in strong financial shape. “We’re not keeping pace with inflation, never mind the rising cost of healthcare,” Cepriano said
The 2015 payment adjustment will vary slightly depending on the type of facility. Hospital-based treatment facilities can expect a boost of 0.5%, while stand-alone facilities would see an increase of 0.3%. In addition, urban facilities that treat patients with end-stage renal disease will see a 0.4% bump, while rural treatment centers can expect payments to decrease by 0.5%.
The CMS also outlined details for its quality incentive program for dialysis providers. That program is expected to result in reduced payments to facilities that fail to meet quality metrics of $11.9 million in 2017 and $7 million in 2018.
Cepriano noted that the industry group’s members are adjusting to several quality improvement programs that the CMS has implemented in recent years, often with conflicting targets. “We would very much like to see rationality injected into the sphere of quality,” she said.
The proposed rule will be posted in the Federal Register July 11. Comments are due Sept. 2. Follow Paul Demko on Twitter: @MHpdemko