SOURCE: California Dialysis Council

California Dialysis Council

November 25, 2013 21:00 ET

California's Leading Renal Care Organization Disappointed by Cuts to Dialysis Treatment

Federal Agency Ignores Patients, Providers, and Members of Congress; Poised to Implement Cuts to Dialysis Funding

ANAHEIM, CA--(Marketwired - November 25, 2013) - The California Dialysis Council (CDC), the State's leading organization of patient advocates, dialysis providers, and renal physicians, expressed dissatisfaction and concern over the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' (CMS) plan to cut funding for patients with kidney failure, or end stage renal disease (ESRD). Late on November 22, CMS announced in a final rule its plans to apply a 12 percent cut to funding for dialysis treatments over the next three to four years, starting in 2014. Such action is particularly concerning given that over 80 percent of ESRD patients are Medicare recipients.

"This action could directly harm patients," stated Heather Dauler, President of the CDC. "Stable, adequate funding is necessary for dialysis facilities, particularly those with a large Medicare patient population. Without appropriate funding, providers may be forced to reduce staff, limit treatment hours, or stop opening clinics in new communities. None of those scenarios are good for patients."

The action means providers will lose almost $30 per treatment over the next three to four years. While CMS was directed to reduce dollars in the ESRD Medicare program, it was never told to make the deep reductions contemplated in the final rule. Indeed, in recognition of the unique needs of kidney patients, over 200 members of Congress, thousands of dialysis patients and many providers and physicians urged the agency to act cautiously. Instead, CMS stated it would implement the full cut noted in its proposed rule. The cuts are said to be a reaction to the reduced usage of certain Medicare-funded medications; however, the cost for those medications increased.

Of particular concern to CDC members is that the Medicare cuts and increased costs come at a time when providers have already absorbed reductions. California-based dialysis facilities are hampered by a recent 10 percent Medi-Cal reduction, a 2 percent sequestration cut taken this year and another 2 percent payment reduction in 2011. "Dialysis providers, particularly those that are non-profit, located in rural communities or in those with high Medicare concentrations, can't take any more reductions," Dauler noted. "Medicare barely covers treatment costs now."

About the California Dialysis Council

The CDC is a nonprofit organization striving to enhance networking, education, and communication within the membership, and to be a resource and clearinghouse of information. Members include California dialysis facilities, patient organizations, individual renal administrators, nurse managers, nurses, medical directors, and corporations which collectively provide life-sustaining dialysis care to the majority of kidney patients in California.

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  • Contact:
    Andrea Messina 
    (714) 632-8379