HUNTINGTON BEACH, California — The state of health care legislation in Washington and ongoing concerns about the inadequacies of the ESRD Treatment Choices payment model for dialysis care, set to launch in January, were part of a package of discussion points during a session on policy issues and political agendas held during the National Renal Administrators Association’s Annual Conference.
Lauren Aronson, a health policy expert with experience working on Capitol Hill and in the Obama administration, and Helen Tolar, an attorney and Republican strategist with almost 20 years of experience on Capitol Hill, are principals in the firm Mehlman Castagnetti Rosen & Thomas and represent the NRAA on Capitol Hill. They covered the ongoing investigations and the latest polling figures for President Donald J. Trump and the Democratic contenders for the presidential nomination.
For the 2019 to 2020 national health care agenda, prescription drugs and the supply chain are an important topic, along with the following:
- development of new ways to alleviate surprise medical billing;
- public health and Medicare and Medicaid program extensions; and
- additional opioid legislation.
The firm has made more than 60 Capitol Hill visits on behalf of the NRAA. Most recently, Aronson said the two have had “robust” conversations with CMS on policy development. “CMS is now looking at us as a resource,” Aronson said.
One important topic is the plan to offer more patients with ESKD the option of Medicare Advantage. Expansion of the program will take place in 2021.
Tolar and Aronson said the two have been “actively engaged” in meeting with CMS about the ESRD Treatment Choices model.
“We are greatly concerned,” Aronson said, particularly about the proposed reductions in payment if dialysis facilities do not reach the mean common thresholds for some facilities. “We agree there is a need to increase the number of transplants, but we feel we are being held accountable for something out of our control,” Aronson said. – by Mark E. Neumann
Aronson L and Tolar H. Straight from Washington D.C. Presented at: National Renal Administrators Association Annual Conference; Oct. 2-4, 2019; Huntington Beach, California.