Kidney community advocates applauded passage of the 2-year Congressional budget bill that passed late last week. The bill included several provisions that benefit patients and providers.
The budget bill, called H.R. 1892, was passed by the Senate and House on Feb. 9. It includes elements of two previously introduced bills related to kidney care: the Chronic Care Act (S. 870) and the Medicare Part B Improvement Act (H.R. 3178).
Specifically, the approved budget bill includes provisions that:
- allow nephrologists and dialysis providers to access the home setting to provide and bill for telemedicine services;
- give dialysis providers the option of choosing an outside, Medicare-approved organization to certify new dialysis clinics; and
- extend authority for chronic care special needs plans without interruption in care. Medicare SNPs are a type of Medicare Advantage Plan with chronic care membership to people with specific diseases or characteristics, including kidney disease.
“We commend the House and Senate for striking a deal that is good for Americans living with chronic diseases nationwide, especially those with kidney disease or kidney failure,” Allen Nissenson, MD, FACP, chairman of the kidney care advocacy group Kidney Care Partners, said in a press release. “The Congressional budget deal will not only improve patient choice and care coordination, but subsequently patient outcomes. This deal shows understanding and compassion for those Americans living with a chronic disease.”