The rule also proposes some technical tweaks to quality measures that will apply to dialysis centers starting in 2019. The CMS requested comments on whether the dialysis centers should be evaluated under the same quality metrics for acute kidney injury patients as end-stage renal disease patients.
Dialysis centers only started receiving Medicare reimbursement for kidney injury patients in January. Previously, the patients were usually treated in acute-care settings. The CMS said at the time it wanted to give patients the option to be treated in their communities as well.
Few dialysis centers are expected to take advantage of the new reimbursements in 2018. The agency estimates it will only spend $2 million on acute kidney injury patients receiving care at dialysis centers next year.
Overall, Medicare expects to pay about $10 billion to some 6,000 dialysis providers in 2018 for the costs associated with furnishing chronic maintenance dialysis services.