Posted on Feb 16, 2014

Dialysis is a costly health program. The New York State Public Health and Planning Council has decided to try to save money on dialysis treatment, which is normally covered by Medicare. But what does this mean for patients?

The New York Times reports on the new dialysis policy.

Hundreds of thousands of people across the country require dialysis care. For most of these people not getting dialysis would be fatal as their kidneys are failing.

But in an effort to cut back on dialysis costs New York State wants to shift dialysis care from hospitals to Big Apple Dialysis despite the fact that hospitals prove to be more effective. 

“The New York State Public Health and Health Planning Council is set to vote Thursday on a deal to turn over dialysis at four of New York City’s public hospitals to a for-profit franchise called Big Apple Dialysis despite government data showing the company’s centers did not perform as well as the hospitals themselves. The deal was approved more than a year ago by the city’s Health and Hospital Corporation, the public hospital agency, which says the terms of the contract ensure that quality will remain high, and that shifting dialysis patients to Big Apple, part of a company called Atlantic Dialysis, will save the financially troubled hospital system $150 million over the next nine years,” according to The Times.

Big Apple Dialysis will pay the city a lump sum of $1.6 million in rent. However doctors and nurses are trying to prevent the shift stating that it is unfair to thrust patients into the dialysis market to save New York state money.

The Times reports, “But the contract, which hinges on the planning council approving the company for a ‘certificate of need,’ is now under new critical scrutiny. The New York State Nurses Association and patient advocates are pointing to government data on death rates, adjusted by Medicare for patient mix and severity of illness" showing a discrepancy between what the national norm was compared to Atlantic's operations.  

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Gerry Oginski
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