HHS working on new payment model for kidney care

HHS is considering a new payment model for kidney disease treatments aimed at moving patients to lower-cost sites like their home and increasing access to kidney transplants, according to Reuters.

Four things to know:

1. HHS is working on a payment model that would improve care during a patient's early stages of kidney disease. The model would also favor at-home dialysis treatment over clinic-based care, CMS Administrator Seema Verma told Reuters.

2. The model intends to cut back on the $114 billion CMS spends every year on chronic kidney disease and end-stage renal disease treatment.

3. The model would upend the dialysis industry, where big players like DaVita and Fresenius Medical Care operate 5,000-plus dialysis clinics in the U.S. and control about 70 percent of the market, according to Reuters.

4. In separate remarks to the National Kidney Foundation March 4, HHS Secretary Alex Azar said, "In 2016, Medicare spent $79 billion to cover people with kidney disease, and $34 billion on patients with ESRD, adding up to $113 billion in total spending. That represents more than one in five dollars we spend in Medicare." He added that HHS is eyeing three key changes to kidney care: putting more effort into prevention, creating new options for treatment, and delivering more organs for transplant, including developing wearable and implantable artificial kidneys.

To view Mr. Azar's full remarks, click here.

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