The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a new rule on hospital price transparency that went into effect January 1, 2021. Under a section of the Public Health Service Act (PHSA), hospitals are required to publish a list of standard charges each year. Originally, hospitals could fill this requirement just by publishing their chargemaster list (a comprehensive list of all products, procedures, and services provided by a hospital) online; now, however, hospitals are told exactly what they are required to publish, and how to publish it, in order to comply with the PHSA. Hospitals must publish the following five [...]
As more and more people in the United States receive the COVID-19 vaccine, researchers have been able to learn more about efficacy rates in different patient populations. Unfortunately, preliminary research suggests that efficacy rates may be lower in both dialysis and transplant patients. In a small study, published April 6, 2021 on CJASN ePress, researchers found that, although study participants on hemodialysis did develop a substantial antibody response following two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech mRNA vaccine, it was significantly lower than the response of the control group comprised of participants not on dialysis. It was also found that older patients, regardless [...]
First of all, congratulations! It has been a long and difficult year for everyone, and finally having some protection against COVID-19 feels good. We still have a ways to go though, and since we are still learning about how the vaccines will affect the spread of the virus, it is important that everyone one keeps taking precautions – such as wearing a mask, staying 6 feet apart from others, and avoiding crowds or poorly ventilated indoor spaces. The CDC has also provided some recommendations to help with decision making in daily activities for people who have been vaccinated. The first thing [...]
Dialysis Patients and COVID-19: Should I get the vaccine? If I get the virus, should I take the antibody treatment?
Written by: Alan S. Kliger, M.D., Clinical Professor of Medicine, Yale School of Medicine, and Co-Chair, American Society of Nephrology (ASN) COVID-19 Response Team. As 2021 unfolds, the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Dialysis patients continue to isolate at home, socially distance from family and friends, use face coverings and precautions traveling to dialysis and in the unit. How will this pandemic end? Many patients have important questions about the new vaccines and about new treatments for the infection. First, some facts about the vaccines: What is a vaccine? An injected vaccine is designed to stimulate your immune system to produce antibodies that [...]
By Harvey Mysel I’ve often been asked: “Where can I register to get a living donor?” Unlike deceased donation where there’s one national list, (although you can multi-list because some areas have a shorter wait time) there’s no such list for someone looking for a living donor. You must find your own living donor. When you do have someone that is able to be a living donor, many are not compatible with their recipient. Thirty to 50 percent of donor/recipient pairs are not compatible with each other. In such a situation the incompatible donor could still help the person in need [...]
By Elizabeth Anderson, LCSW, DSW and Dale Lupu, MPH, PhD When I was first told I had chronic kidney disease (CKD), I was grateful that there were lifesaving treatments, but I was also scared because I didn’t have a plan. I worried that I might be in pain or become a burden to my family. I felt better when I was able to discuss my desires and healthcare decisions with my family and healthcare team. What kind of medical care would you want if you were too ill to express your wishes? Like most people, you may not have thought about [...]
By Jewel Edwards-Ashman I started the year 2020 anticipating that I’d enter kidney failure and have to undergo my second kidney transplant. But I didn’t expect to start doing home dialysis and eventually have transplant surgery in the middle of a pandemic. Transplant surgery in ordinary circumstances comes with a high level of stress and anxiety. Having a kidney transplant during a public health crisis only exacerbated those feelings for me. To reduce my stress and manage my emotions, here are three things I did: I prioritized self-care. Most Americans, even those who aren’t living with chronic illness, have been experiencing [...]
By Arthur Allen, Kaiser Health News Pfizer’s announcement on Monday that its COVID-19 shot appears to keep nine in 10 people from getting the disease sent its stock price rocketing. Many news reports described the vaccine as if it were our deliverance from the pandemic, even though few details were released. There was certainly something to crow about: Pfizer’s vaccine consists of genetic material called mRNA encased in tiny particles that shuttle it into our cells. From there, it stimulates the immune system to make antibodies that protect against the virus. A similar strategy is employed in other leading COVID-19 vaccine [...]
Dialysis patients who are considering whether to pursue a kidney transplant can check out a new resource to help them make that decision. The resource—a guide that was written by patients with End-Stage Renal Disease—provides an overview of the decisions that need to be made when getting a transplant, the rewards and risks involved, and what to expect after the transplant. Patient stories, questions to ask transplant facilities and additional resources are also included in the guide. Download the guide.
Between now and December 7, dialysis patients are, for the first time, able to choose a Medicare Advantage plan for their coverage. Medicare Advantage is an alternative to traditional Medicare run by private insurance companies. To help kidney patients explore their options, Dialysis Patient Citizens has established Dialysis Plan Choice, an online tool designed in collaboration with Consumers’ Checkbook for dialysis patients to quickly and easily compare their current Medicare Fee-For-Service plan with the options available to them through Medicare Advantage. DialysisPlanChoice.org helps patients and caregivers more easily understand what plans are available to them, the costs are associated with those plans, and, most importantly, which plans [...]