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RVM staff attend NRAA Spring Meeting, meet with federal legislators

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RVM staff attend NRAA Spring Meeting, meet with federal legislators

May 27, 2015

NRAA-banner.jpgThe view from "inside the beltway" can be pretty insular.  Legislators in Washington, DC try and have the interests of their constituents at heart, but without educated lobbyists and industry experts, their knowledge may be limited.  With education in mind (both being educated and passing along knowledge), Director of Quality and Patient Care Programs Naveena Reddy and Senior Divisional Director Tim Weaver attended the National Renal Administrators Association's (NRAA) 2015 Spring Meeting on May 20 and visited Senator's offices during "Day on the Hill" on May 21.

At the Spring Meeting, Group Director for CMS Quality Improvement Jean Moody-Williams gave a CMS update.  Moody-Williams covered that CMS already has three programs designed to ensure quality care and patient access to information.  Thus, when the new 5-star ratings program was implemented, it has been confusing to patients who were already familiar with CMS quality programs. 

NRAA-presentation.jpgMoody-Williams also pointed out that CMS used a bell curve to rank dialysis facilities, which is unfair and deceiving due to some facilities receiving fewer stars than they should even though they may be a high-quality facility.

Chair of the Board of Trustees for the American Kidney Fund Gail Wick gave a high level overview of the 5-star ratings program with Executive Director for Dialysis Patient Citizens Hrant Jamgochian. 

Jamgochian said that dialysis facilities in states West of the Mississippi River receive ratings of 4 or 5 while states East of Mississippi receiving ratings of 1 to 3.  Jamgochian emphasized that many factors should be included in the rating methodology, which isn't happening now.


For NRAA Day on the Hill, Reddy and Weaver listened a presentation from U.S. Rep. Tom Marino, a cancer survivor who may be going on dialysis soon.

"It was great to hear Marino's perspective and experience educating members of Congress about chronic kidney disease and the role of the federal government in providing care to Americans with kidney disease," said Weaver.

NRAA-Day-On-the-Hill-2015_02_story.jpgReddy and Weaver headed to the Capitol and met with staff from the Senatorial offices of West Virginia, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.  They presented information about RVM centers and employees and highlighted our patient quality programs.  They also discussed the adequacy of payment for patient access and choice of care, the approval of patients with acute kidney injuries at outpatient facilities, and possible revisions to CMS’ 5-star rating program.

"We were well received by all offices and they agreed with our proposals. They stated that they planned to discuss our issues and concerns with their respective Senator," said Reddy.

The NRAA continues to support the freestanding and hospital-based dialysis providers through ongoing educational opportunities and lobbying efforts in Congress and at Medicare. 

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