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Medicare Proposal Ties Stricter Quality Measures to ESRD Payments

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, July 10, 2012

"We believe that the policies and rate changes proposed today will continue to help ensure that beneficiaries diagnosed with ESRD continue to get the care they need," said Jonathan Blum, deputy administrator and director of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Center for Medicare.

In all, the proposed Quality Incentive Program (QIP) includes 11 measures, which Patrick Conway, MD, CMS' chief medical officer and director of the agency's Office of Clinical Standards and Quality, says are "essential for patient-centered care, including anemia management, preventing bloodstream infections, dialysis access and adequacy and patient experience."

Dialysis center care is high risk and intense, and more than one in five patients who undergo the treatments die each year, many of them while awaiting a transplant. Many more require expensive hospitalizations to deal with preventable infections and other problems the treatment causes.

The 176-page proposal also includes payment changes for centers receiving bundled payments, with certain exclusions and inclusions for various medication treatments these patients require.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services also expanded the requirement that each dialysis center post its quality of care score by saying the signs must be in both English as well as Spanish.

CMS says it will accept comments until August 31.


Cheryl Clark is senior quality editor and California correspondent for HealthLeaders Media. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists.
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