Update 9/9/13: In DC and having a wonderful meeting with many Patient Ambassadors from Dialysis Patient Citizens. On Twitter, see #stopESRDcuts as that is why we are here. Join DPC free. Its a patient advocacy group based in DC.
Update 9/7/13: I’m om my way to Washington, D.C. again for the Dialysis Patient Citizens (DPC). I traveled there previously and wrote about my experience in “Dialysis and Our Voice in Congress”. It was an awesome trip and we accomplished a lot in a very short period of time.
As you probably know, it’s a bit complicated to make all the necessary preparations to travel when you’re on dialysis. But DPC makes this so very easy and relatively painless. I filled out a form about my dialysis center and they make all the arrangements, coordinating with the center in DC and mine. I’ve read and heard about some very bad experiences when patients travel and someone doesn’t do all the things that need to be done. But, as I said, DPC is very good at this. I really appreciate their diligence.
So, on September 7, 2013, I will travel to D.C. to meet with the Texas delegation (the Representative (Kenny Marchant) for my area and the two Senators that represent Texas; Ted Cruz and John Cornyn. The topic for our visit will be the Proposed CMS cuts. I wrote about them previously in “Dialysis and Medicare/CMS Cuts” and a couple times before that.
I know these cuts may seem harmless. After all, what’s a 10 percent cut? It’s not that big! But it has the potential of touching on all aspects of our care. The cost could mean about $60,ooo for a center for one year. That’s the cost of a couple techs or an RN. For the non-profit dialysis centers, this could be a real hit to the bottom-line. For the for-profit centers, it could be a reason to cut some services, like nocturnal dialysis.
FYI, nocturnal dialysis is a loss-leader. It requires staffing a center for eight hours from late evening to early morning versus the two or three four-hour shifts that most centers offer. Nocturnal dialysis is a great benefit for people who work full-time because they can dialyze at night and get up in time to go to work. Consider this: If your center has a shift that is not completely full, they may have to cut out that shift because of these cuts. Not good, eh?
These cuts can effect large centers and the very small. A small center serving a rural population (such as we have here in Texas) is especially vulnerable. If these cuts cause them to close, those patients will have to travel to the next center and that may mean several hours of driving (Texas is quite large!). But even if it’s a small state, having the center drop shifts of close centers can be a huge inconvenience to dialysis patients.
I’ll be going to Washington (again) to speak on behalf of dialysis patients and I want to thank DPC for this opportunity to do so. If you are not currently a member of Dialysis Patient Citizens, join. It’s Free! And your membership increases the effectiveness DPC has in Congress. You can contact DPC at:
Dialysis Patients Center
122 C Street N.W., Suite 510
Washington, DC 20001
Toll free: 1-866-877-4242
Or go to their website… www.DialysisPatients.org
DPC is also on Facebook