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CMS Plans Pay Hike for ESRD Facilities - MedPage Today
By Emily P. Walker, Washington Correspondent, MedPage Today

WASHINGTON -- The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued a proposed rule that would increase Medicare payment to end-stage renal disease (ESRD) facilities by 3.1% in 2013.

In total, Medicare payments to 5,633 ESRD facilities are predicted to be about $8.7 billion in 2013, according to a press release issued Monday by CMS.

The proposed rule also would strengthen incentives for improved quality of care and better outcomes for patients through improvements to the ESRD Quality Incentive Program. Under that program, dialysis facilities would need to:

  • Report how the facility is managing patients' anemia
  • Report dialysis infection rates to the CDC's National Healthcare Safety Network
  • Monitor patients for abnormalities in phosphorous and calcium levels
  • Survey patients to learn about their care experiences

Performance on those four measures in 2013 will be tied to the payment facilities receive in 2015.

"We believe that the policies and rate changes proposed today will continue to help ensure that beneficiaries diagnosed with ESRD continue to get the care they need," Jonathan Blum, MD, CMS deputy administrator and director of the agency's Center for Medicare, said in the press release.

The agency noted that since 2011, it has been paying ESRD facilities bundled payments which are meant to improve efficiency and reduce incentives to use more items and services than needed for appropriate care. The previous payments system consisted of things like lab tests, supplies, and drugs all being paid for separately.

The proposed rule will appear in the July 11, 2012, Federal Register. CMS will accept comments on the proposed rule until Aug. 31, 2012, and will then issue a final ESRD payment rule.

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Emily Walker

Washington Correspondant

Emily P. Walker, MedPage Today Washington Correspondent, covers Congress, FDA, other health agencies in Washington. She also covers an array of healthcare events in the nation’s capital, focusing on intersection of policy and medicine. After earning a BA in journalism and political science at Western Michigan University, she worked at the Kalamazoo Gazette, Congressional Quartely, and wrote for several medical newsletters.


Deborah, Penn, Jefferson hold trials for hypertension treatment - phillyBurbs.com

Nearly 6 million Americans have high blood pressure that resists treatment. They’ve tried pills, but their readings are still too high — making them prone to strokes and cardiovascular disease.

The Deborah Heart and Lung Center in Pemberton Township is one of 50 sites nationwide that has been selected for a clinical trial of a new procedure to help these hypertensive patients.

It’s called the Symplicity renal denervation system, developed by Medtronic, an international firm with U.S. headquarters in Minneapolis.

The procedure allows for a Symplicity catheter to be threaded through the femoral artery to the leading kidney arteries, where it ablates, or burns out, nerves that line the walls of the arteries.

“These nerves are part of the sympathetic nervous system, which is one of the pathways by which the body controls blood pressure. In people with resistant hypertension, the renal nerves could be hyperactive, raising blood pressure and contributing to heart, kidney and blood vessel damage,” Deborah researchers said in announcing the study.

By reducing the number of nerves, it reduces their ability to constrict blood vessels, raising blood pressure.

“The ablated nerves don’t send the signal to the brain to raise the pressure,” said Dr. Jon C. George, Deborah’s medical director of clinical research.

The Symplicity system has been used in Europe and is in clinical trials in the United States in hopes that it will be approved by the Federal Drug Administration, George said.

“In Europe, they have great results,” he said.

To qualify for the study, patients must be adults with a systolic blood pressure reading of 160 mmHG or higher, while using three or more antihypertensive medications. Deborah hopes to recruit about 10 people, who will be divided into those who receive the procedure and those who do not but think they did, so that researchers can see if the renal denervation works better than a placebo. One person already has participated in the study at Deborah.

The trial also is being conducted by the University of Pennsylvania Health System and Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, both in Philadelphia, and the Lankenau Medical Center in Wynnewood, Pa.

The procedure is performed during conscious sedation. Some of the study participants will undergo the actual procedure, while others will have the catheter inserted and feel as if it is being done.

“The study participants are blindfolded and get headphones,” George said. “It takes 20 minutes to do the procedure. They won’t be able to tell the difference whether they got the tube or not.”

The study will take two years to complete, as the patients’ blood pressure readings are followed after they had the actual ablation or placebo procedure.

Once the preliminary results are available, in about a year, those who do not get the actual procedure will be able to do so.

“Renal denervation and ongoing treatment with antihypertensive medications have the potential to help patients with this challenging form of hypertension achieve their target blood pressure levels,” said Dr. Richard Kovach, Deborah’s chairman of interventional cardiology and endovascular medicine and co-principal investigator of Symplicity.

Dr. David Hsi, Deborah’s chairman of cardiology and co-principal investigator, said the treatment “may represent a new and innovative approach to treating the growing number of treatment-resistant hypertension patients in the United States.”

For more information on the Deborah study, call 609-893-1200, ext. 5023.


5 QC centers to have dialysis, chemo rooms - Inquirer.net (blog)

10:26 pm | Friday, July 6th, 2012

Five health centers in Quezon City will soon have dialysis and chemotherapy facilities.

The city council on Friday said it had authorized the establishment of dialysis clinics with X-ray facilities and chemotherapy rooms in select health centers to address the medical needs of indigent residents.

“Dialysis treatment is very costly. Sometimes it’s a burden to families because of its price and [the cost of the machine’s] maintenance,” said Councilor Jessica Castelo Daza, author of the approved ordinance.

Dialysis and chemotherapy rooms will soon be opened at the health centers in Toro Hills, Doña Narcisa, Escopa, Arsenia J. Maximo and at the Kamuning Super Health Center.

The city government will shortly ask for a license to operate dialysis clinics from the Department of Health, Daza said.

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Cerulean begins phase I b/II a study of CRLX101 in combo with Avastin in renal ... - pharmabiz.com

Cerulean begins phase I b/II a study of CRLX101 in combo with Avastin in renal ...
Cerulean begins phase I b/II a study of CRLX101 in combo with Avastin in renal cancer.


Clinical Study: Dietary Supplement SagaPro Reduces Frequent Urination - Seattle Post Intelligencer
Seattle Post Intelligencer
Results will be published in the Scandinavian Journal of Urology and Nephrology. Reykjavik, Iceland (PRWEB) July 06, 2012. A recent clinical study on an Icelandic natural product has shown it to be effective against “nocturia” in those with low or


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