CMS expanding payments for new home dialysis equipment

The Trump administration finalized another rule aimed at boosting end-stage renal disease (ESRD) patients' access to home dialysis by allowing certain new equipment and supplies to qualify for an additional Medicare payment.

The final rule "encourages the development of new and innovative home dialysis machines that give Medicare beneficiaries with ESRD more dialysis treatment options in the home that can improve their quality of life," Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) officials said in a statement

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Specifically, CMS is expanding eligibility for the transitional add-on payment adjustment for new and innovative equipment and supplies introduced last year to cover qualifying new dialysis machines when used in the home.

It will provide an additional Medicare payment when qualifying equipment and supplies are used in order to expand access to new home dialysis machines and facilitate quicker availability to Medicare beneficiaries.

More than 85% of Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries with ESRD travel to a facility to receive their dialysis at least three times per week. They are also among the most vulnerable population covered by Medicare and have the highest hospitalization rates due to COVID-19 among Medicare beneficiaries, highlighting the importance of finding ways for that population to stay at home to reduce risk of exposure to the virus, officials said.

“Medicare beneficiaries with ESRD have long been ill-served by a system that too often fails to incentivize the types of care that yield the best health outcomes for their quality of life,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma in a statement.