WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.) today introduced legislation to streamline the accreditation process for dialysis facilities to improve access for Medicare patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD).
“Dialysis facilities provide life-saving treatments for ESRD patients,” said Roberts. “However, these facilities do not have the same accreditation process to serve Medicare patients as other care facilities, resulting in less access to care. Patients with ESRD typically visit these facilities several times a week to receive this critical treatment, but often have to travel extensive distances, particularly in rural areas. Our bill would make it easier for facilities to be approved under Medicare so patients have more convenient, accessible options for treatment.”
“This bipartisan legislation will streamline the Medicare accreditation process to allow dialysis clinics to more easily serve the patients that depend on them for life-saving care,” said Warner. “It will allow dialysis care facilities to utilize the same accreditation processes available to other Medicare providers to avoid unnecessary delays while still guaranteeing quality care.”
The bipartisan Dialysis Access Improvement Act, S. 1729, would allow dialysis providers to seek outside accreditation from organizations approved by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to participate in the Medicare program. Currently, other health care providers have the option of using an outside agency to survey and accredit their facility for Medicare participation. However, dialysis facilities do not have that option and have to wait months, or even years, to receive accreditation to bill Medicare for ESRD services. This bill will allow the accreditation process to keep pace with new facility openings.
The legislation is cosponsored by Sens. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), and Todd Young (R-Ind.).
Roberts and Warner are both members of the Senate Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction over Medicare.
Companion legislation was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Reps. Lynn Jenkins (R-Kan.) and John Lewis (D-Ga.) and passed the House unanimously as part of a broader Medicare package (H.R. 3178). It has the support of Kidney Care Council.
The full text of the legislation is available here.