Letters to the Editor

Medicare cuts will hurt dialysis patients


As group facility administrator at Bellevue Community Dialysis Center, I, the caregiving team and patients share our appreciation to U.S. Rep. Adam Smith, who visited our facility recently to learn more about quality kidney care and the lives of the 60 patients we care for every day.

Medicare cuts, issued earlier this month by the administration, will drastically cut funding for the dialysis necessary for the survival of hundreds of thousands of kidney failure patients across the country and here in the Bellevue area – reducing payments for this lifesaving care by 12 percent or $30 per dialysis treatment.

Dialysis is a lifeline for our kidney failure patients, more than 80 percent of whom rely heavily on Medicare which already falls short of covering the full cost of patients’ treatments. The cuts, scheduled to begin Jan. 1, will be phased in over four years. However they are still expected to seriously undermine the affordability, reliability, and quality of dialysis care – further stripping scarce resources out of the dialysis program and forcing providers to make difficult decisions to reduce operating hours or reduce their staffs.

It is critical that Congress intervene immediately to ensure that Medicare reimbursement for dialysis care adequately covers the cost of care for our patients who rely on this life-saving care. I hope readers feel compelled to contact Congressman Smith to ask for his support.

Will Penrose, group facility administrator, DaVita’s Bellevue Community Dialysis Center

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