March 17, 2018
2 min read

Speaker: Be aware, prepared to protect practice of nephrology

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ORLANDO, Fla. — In advocacy, the end game is to be aware, prepared and take action when needed to protect and preserve the practice of nephrology, according to a presenter here the Renal Physicians Association Annual Meeting.

“It is a bit of an understatement to say that there has been a lot [that] has been going on in Washington DC. but as you follow, as I am sure you do, the rules and regulations governing nephrology practice, you know it is fair to say we are living in interesting times,” Michael D. Shapiro, MD, MBA, FACP, president of the Renal Physicians Association (RPA), said.

Michael D. Shapiro

Shapiro reviewed RPA’s advocacy accomplishments for the past year in its pursuit to deliver quality renal health care. Among the accomplishments were the creation of the guide to Quality Payment Program, the development and update to RPA podcasts, and the launch of an e-learning center and webinars. The RPA also released a position paper on increasing dialysis options for patients with end-stage renal disease.

Shapiro said the RPA’s board of directors also voted to support recently introduced, but not yet passed, legislation called the Dialysis PATIENTS Act. He said this demonstration act would create “physician dialysis facilities co-owned entities similar to what one might call a cross between an ESRD Medicare Advantage Special Needs Plan and an ESCO.”

“RPA’s board is supporting this to build on the association’s commitment to the use of [an] integrated care model in kidney disease as they realign and position payments to a value-based payment orientation and Medicare shifts the paradigm away from pure fee-for-service payment to value-based payment models,” he said.

He said RPA believes nephrologists should have access to participation in all possible alternative payment options.

“These models offer tremendous potential to improve patient care,” he said.

In the advocacy arena, he said RPA has met with CMS officials on serval issues, including local coverage determinations on frequency dialysis; payment for vascular access codes and review process for measures and QCDRs, among others. Another advocacy success was the passage of the bipartisan budget act, which included RPA legislative language designating home as an originating site for home dialysis services via telehealth and independent accreditation for dialysis. The provision was tacked on to the budget reconciliation legislation that President Trump recently signed into law, he said.

“It is an example of the power of keeping advocacy efforts up, as certain items end [up] getting passed by being tacked onto other bills as opposed to being stand-alone bills as they are,” he said. – by Kristine Houck, MA, ELS




Shapiro MD. RPA year in review. Presented at: Renal Physicians Association Annual Meeting; March 15-18, 2018; Orlando, Fla.


Disclosure: Shapiro reports he is president of the Renal Physicians Association.