Medicare will now provide additional coverage for certain home dialysis equipment for patients with chronic kidney failure.
The final rule published today encourages the development of new and innovative home dialysis machines. It follows a September announcement of a new model to shift Medicare payments from traditional fee-for-service payments to payments in which providers are incentivized for encouraging the receipt of home dialysis and kidney transplants.
Under the new rule, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is expanding eligibility for these add-on payments, which the agency introduced last year. More than 85% of Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries with chronic kidney failure travel to a facility to receive their dialysis at least three times per week, according to CMS. There, they spend, on average, 12 hours each week attached to a dialysis machine.
Chronic kidney failure patients also are among the most vulnerable to COVID-19 due to multiple chronic conditions and comorbidities and have had the highest pandemic-related hospitalization rates among Medicare beneficiaries, the agency said.
The final rule goes into effect Jan. 1, 2021.