The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has awarded a five-year contract to monitor and evaluate the effects of Medicare dialysis payment policy to Insight Policy Research and the Arbor Research Collaborative for Health.

The project will involve monitoring near-term indicators of access and quality of care to identify what, if any, changes in dialysis services Medicare beneficiaries experience following recent changes to dialysis payment policy. In particular, researchers will focus on the period following the implementation of the Medicare expanded bundled payment that went into effect Jan. 1, 2011, and following implementation of the Medicare End-Stage Renal Disease Quality Incentive Program that went into effect Jan. 1, 2012, as well as annual changes through federal rulemaking.

“This project represents a promising opportunity to help ensure policies are effective in treating patients, controlling costs, and promoting the health of the ESRD population,” said Dr. Marc Turenne, lead investigator of the Arbor Research Health Policy Program.

Insight Policy Research will serve as the prime contractor. Arbor Research will collaborate on all activities, leading efforts related to data management and monitoring activities while working closely with Insight Policy Research evaluation efforts.

The team said it will conduct in-depth statistical analysis to form data-driven conclusions about program impacts on Medicare beneficiary groups, facilities, and providers. In addition, this work will evaluate the effects of the ESRD QIP generally and on specific groups of patients and providers, and determine the program’s effectiveness in achieving the desired outcomes of the legislative mandates and rulemaking. Evaluation results will include recommendations that will inform Medicare policy changes to improve the quality of dialysis care, control costs, and improve the health of patients with ESRD.