On December 7, 2016, the Senate passed the 21st Century Cures Act by a vote of 94-5, sending the measure to the White House where President Barack Obama is expected to sign the bill into law. The legislation includes a provision to allow dialysis patients to enroll in Medicare Advantage plans.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has contracted with The University of Michigan Kidney Epidemiology and Cost Center (UM-KECC) to convene a Technical Expert Panel (TEP) to obtain recommendations on potential quality measures to include in the Dialysis Facility Compare Star Ratings.
On October 28, 2016, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a final rule to update payment policies and rates under the End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) Prospective Payment System (PPS) for renal dialysis services furnished to beneficiaries on or after January 1, 2017. This rule also finalizes new quality measures for dialysis facilities treating patients with ESRD.
The final rule was published in the November 4, 2016, Federal Register.
Dialysis patients affected by Hurricane Matthew are eligible for financial assistance. As residents of the Southeast continue assessing and recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Matthew, the American Kidney Fund (AKF) has activated its Disaster Relief Program to provide emergency funds to help dialysis patients in Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas.
On September 29, 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) along with other public health and medical groups kicked off the 2016-2017 flu vaccine campaign at a telebriefing in Washington, DC. The CDC recommends everyone 6 months and older get a flu vaccine every year to reduce the risk of flu illness, hospitalization, and even death.