CMS Should Monitor Access to and Quality of Dialysis Care Promptly after Implementation of New Bundled Payment System

Cosgrove, James C.
April 2010
GAO Reports;4/30/2010, preceding p1
Government Documents
Medicare covers dialysis for most individuals with end–stage renal disease (ESRD). Beginning in January 2011, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is required to use a single payment to pay for dialysis and related services, which include injectable ESRD drugs. Questions have been raised about this new payment system's effects on the access to and quality of dialysis care for certain groups of beneficiaries, such as those who receive above average doses of injectable ESRD drugs. GAO examined (1) Medicare expenditures for injectable ESRD drugs, by demographic characteristics; (2) factors likely to result in above average doses of these drugs; (3) CMS's approach for addressing beneficiary differences in the cost of dialysis care under the new payment system; and (4) CMS's plans to monitor the new payment system's effects. GAO analyzed 2007 data– the most recent available–on Medicare ESRD expenditures and input from 73 nephrology clinicians and researchers collected using a Web–based data collection instrument. GAO also reviewed reports and CMS's proposed rule on the payment system's design and interviewed CMS officials.


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