New: Congressional Briefings on Preserving & Protecting the 6 Protected Classes Scheduled
Feb 12th — Noon: B340 Rayburn House Office Building
Feb 13th — Noon: Capitol Visitors Center Room SVC 200
The blog is cross-posted with permission from the National Kidney Foundation. Other comments are completely my own.
All those you have been transplanted, are waiting for a transplant, love someone who has had a transplant, donated a loved one’s organs to give the gift of life and want to make sure it is not endangered OR just folks who believe that CMS should not engage in the practice of medicine please read and make your opinion known.
Medicare beneficiaries who do not qualify for immunosuppressive drug coverage under Medicare Part B (the Medicare program that covers outpatient care) typically receive coverage of their immunosuppressive drugs under the Medicare prescription drug program known as Medicare Part D. Under current Medicare Part D protections, organ recipients have access to all approved immunosuppressive drugs. This protection allows physicians to tailor drug combinations to best meet the needs of the individual patients. However, a proposal released by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on January 6, 2014 would eliminate this protection and allow Medicare Part D health plans to restrict access to immunosuppressive drugs.
Without the current protections, Part D plans, not doctors, will decide which immunosuppressive drugs patients can access. This proposal reflects a misunderstanding by CMS that immunosuppression to avoid organ rejection is a one-size fits all therapy. Patients and transplant physicians know that there is no one drug combination that works for every patient. Some patients may experience harmful side-effects with a particular drug combination that might work wonderfully for someone else. It takes a delicate balance to properly suppress the immune system in order to preserve the organ, while minimizing side-effects for each patient.
Rest assured that NKF is engaged on this issue and is educating legislators and the media about flaws in CMS’s proposal. To date, our conversations with congressional offices are encouraging. We are also reaching out to CMS to help them better understand how immunosuppression works and why it is important to cover all immunosuppressive drugs. However, we still need your help. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org and share your story about how your physician was able to find the right combination of medications for you. Did the first combination of drugs work right away or did you need to try multiple combinations before the right one was found? Sharing your stories with policymakers helps us grow momentum in order to get CMS to reverse this proposal.
CMS fact sheet on changes. http://www.cms.gov/Newsroom/MediaReleaseDatabase/Fact-Sheets/2014-Fact-sheets-items/2014-01-06.html
CMS proposed rule http://op.bna.com/hl.nsf/id/bbrk-9f4szl/$File/MAJan62014.pdf
Submit comments on www.regulations.gov http://www.regulations.gov/#!submitComment;D=CMS-2014-0007-0002
Learn more about the Medicare Access for Patients Rx Coalition http://maprx.info/